The 1st XV faces their toughest challenge of the season so far, a 1st vs 3rd, top of the table collision at the Lea Valley Fields. It could be a classic because we share identical ambitions - promotion to the National Leagues. The only thing that separates the two sides in the league is one bonus point.
Chingford narrowly missed out on promotion to National Three last season following a nail-biting extra-time, play-off defeat to Tunbridge Wells. After this disappointment Chingford have clearly started the season with purpose and four consecutive bonus point wins. This season they are building a side around Cameron Meakin - the former East Grinstead scrum half who has been a consistent performer in the National Leagues for a number of sides. Alongside Cameron will be fly half Scott Meakin, also a former member of the team formerly branded as 'G-Force' (aka East Grinstead RFC) by former sponsor Gavin Gleave when he led East Grinstead into the National Leagues.
There are a coupe of changes to the Colchester side that defeated Brentwood last weekend. Firstly, we are delighted to see the return of Shelford Meads at centre alongside last weeks Man of the Match, George Liversidge. Shelford has been a revelation and alongside Liversidge they have started to emerge as a very dangerous and powerful centre pairing. Against Brentwood Liversidge made some fabulous runs and carried the ball with power and pace. As I said in the review of the Brentwood victory, George has made stunning progress and having watched the match video several times it is clear to see that sides are really going to struggle to contain a centre who possesses such power and pace, especially when he's 6'4" and 110kgs! Elsewhere, David Brennan returns to the side and moves from centre to the wing alongside the ever-present Will Brown and James Crozier. The backs will be once again led by the experienced half back pairing of Brett Cutbush and David Higgins.
Moving to the forwards, we are at full strength in the back row with Ollie Pickett at No.8, Dan Whiteman at openside and our tackling 'machine' Joe Beckett at blindside. The balance of pace, energy and dynamism in our back row has been critical so far this season and I anticipate that this will be a crucial element to the game again this weekend.
Lining up on the bench for his competitive senior debut is exciting utility back Lewis Williams. Lewis has been starring for the Ravens in testing games against National League opposition such as Bury, Tring and Canterbury. Everyone who has played with Lewis has praised his courage, guile and ability to cover virtually any position from scrum half to full back. Again, our policy of developing homegrown players and 'one club philosophy' is proving successful in a world where so many other clubs rely on aggressive recruitment and payment.
There is some rugby at Mill Road this Saturday - the Ravens kick off at 2.30pm against Henley RFC. Henley RFC was once coached by none other than Sir Clive Woodward - he led them to the National Leagues before he went onto London Irish, Bath as Assistant Coach and then, of course, England. At the request of Henley RFC (who cannot field a complete front row) the game will be played with 'uncontested' scrums. Rather than cancel the game Colchester have agreed to this request so it should result in a very fluid and interesting game of rugby.
This season the Colts have come under the leadership of the Senior Section so we will be keeping an eye on their progress and results. So many of our Colts are making the transition into the Senior sides and it is a really exciting time at Colchester RFC. This week the Colts will be heading off to play Cambridge Colts (in their fabulous new kit, kindly sponsored by Whitehall Resources!) on Sunday morning. The squad is:
Updated 13:13 - 29 Sep 2017 by Laura Parker
Sam Lines (Captain)