Kicking off in what felt like the bowels of Mordor last Saturday, Manorbier knew they had a good old-fashioned scrap on their hands against a Lawrenny side bolstered by a few first team players.
Mark Lester has had to contend with more lineup changes than the Harlem Globetrotters coach during Covid. However, such is the depth of the Manorbier talent pool, he could still field a quality side.
Into nets came Richard Atwell, channelling the mercurial Rene Higuita, intercepting through balls and calmly distributing to his full backs Gavin Evans and Max Morgan.
In the centre of defence, Ross Fortune and Joel Braithwaite impersonated peak Jaap Stam and Rio Ferdinand, combining pace, skill, authority and grit.
The midfield celebrated the return of Ben Hall, his skill and vision proving the perfect foil for the twinkle-toed menace of Sam Atwell, and the ageing engine of David Blackwell.
Out wide, Shaun Lewis was in dynamo mode, as was Leo Phillips, whose left foot has so much culture, it is like going to the Royal Opera House and eating caviar when watching him play. Leading the attack like Didier Drogba, was Mike Ryder.
Manorbier started well – taking the lead after Blackwell converted a corner from Phillips.
Lawrenny struck back to equalise, before Blackwell regained the lead for Manorbier, drilling the ball into the roof of the net from the inside left channel.
Another goal for Lawrenny so the score levelled at hal-time.
After the break, when Ryder dinked the ball past the Lawrenny keeper, it seemed the 3-2 lead would stick, but Lawrenny struck back once more, having a strong 10 minute spell as Manorbier's interplay was compromised by the heavy pitch.
On came Josh Lewis, who terrorised the Lawrenny defence with his pace and muscle. Ryder then had a period of unprecedented generosity, squaring the ball when he should have shot, hitting the bar when he should have slotted along the ground, keeping Lawrenny in the game, but he soon returned to his clinical self, putting Manorbier 4-3 up with the decisive strike of the game.
Manorbier's fitness kicked in, a 5th goal slotted by Lewis in the six yard box, before Paul Maytum came on and scored from the edge of the box to make it 5-3.
A fleet of foot Sarnie arrived on the left, before another goal apiece from Lewis and Ryder made it 7-3, and a great win for Manorbier.