Saffron Walden 3 Colchester 1st XV 24
An ugly win in dire conditions but our 1st XV bring home the third winning bonus point in a row!
Consistent Colchester picked up their third bonus point win in three weeks playing away at Essex rivals Saffron Walden in a rain-drenched game. Man-of-the-match Joe McMillan kept the front row steady in the scrums and was prominent with his good ball retention in the loose.
Scrum half Matt Wadling in his first full game also played well in defence and attack keeping his opponents guessing as to his next move. Considering the dire weather conditions and the fact that the coaches had had to bring in several replacements in the absence of Brett Cutbush, Danny Whiteman and injured Joe Reid, the team did well to get four tries and only concede one penalty.
The hosts wearing green kicked off and before long Colchester earned a scrum on the halfway line. Following a good shove, Wadling whipped the ball out to fly half David Higgins who found centre Dave Brennan in space to score out left. Higgins converted and the visitors were ahead 0-7.
The Greens soon replied by putting pressure on Colchester down the middle of the pitch and converting a penalty. Unfortunately after this flying start the game deteriorated with a large error count on both sides. Higgins and the home fullback exchanged many long kicks but the rest of the play was a bit fractured.
Centre Brennan was replaced by George Liversidge to vary the back play but still penalties were being given away. Indeed the Greens were unlucky when a penalty rebounded off the post and nearly led to them scoring but for lock Joe Colcomb and No 8 Ollie Pickett holding up the ball and stopping a possible try.
Colchester also had their chances, once in the corner and later under the posts but they were disallowed by the referee. The sodden spectators were getting impatient for a score when the impasse was broken as the visitors’ half backs put centre Shelford Meads over for an unconverted try. 3-12 with half time beckoning. Before long Colchester were back in the hosts’ half and after hooker Simon Gray linked well in the lineout with skipper Liam Pickett, Wadling scored a converted try to bring the interval score to 3-19.
All credit to Saffron Waldon, they competed well in the second half until the final quarter when Colchester’s superior fitness began to tell. With the addition of prop Jerone Awesu and debutant Jamie Murray, gradually the Blacks unlocked a long second half stalemate. Colchester passing the ball through many hands before prop James Mitchell using his considerable strength to force his way over for the final score of the game.