Colchester 1st XV 29 | 22 Old Priorians
A close encounter but the 1st XV still come away with another bonus point win which sees them rise to 3rd in the league
Colchester notched up their third bonus point victory in a row in a thrilling clash against visitors Old Priorians. Winning by four tries to three shows that this was not an easy win as the opposition came good in the second half and only stout defending by the Blacks kept them out.
Conditions were good for rugby as it stayed dry for the whole game whilst being soft underfoot from the morning’s rain. Fullback Will Brown returned to the squad as did Joe Reid and Liam Pickett having both been injured plus Jack White making his second appearance for the first team.
Old Priorians kicked off and soon gained a penalty but their fullback hit the post and the conversion was unsuccessful. The next ten minutes saw both sides testing out the opposition until the home scrum half, Matt Wadling, was yellow carded and the subsequent penalty missed.
Colchester seemed to wake up after this poor start and on the 17th minute put Brown away to score an unconverted try in the corner. Five points ahead and the Blacks made good use of their superior pack in no less than three scrums in Old Priorians' half after which the referee awarded them a penalty try to increase the lead to 12 points.
Colchester stayed on the front foot for the rest of the first half with good work by centres Joe Flexman and George Liversidge and hard graft by all the forwards especially prop James Mitchell. Following a successful lineout Brown went on the attack and fed lock Elliott Castle who burst over the line to score the first of his two tries.
The Blacks turned around 19-0 ahead and brought on lock Liam Pickett for Joe Colcomb after half time. Fly half Brett Cutbush got proceedings under way but Old Priorians weren’t going to lie down and over the next 15 minutes there were two good scores in the corner by their fleet-footed left winger. In between these scores Colchester’s right wing Shelford Meads attacked and won a penalty which James Crozier converted so that the score half way through the second half was closer at 22-14.
In this very competitive league it was crucial that Colchester got a fourth try to claim a bonus point and this they did in the 35th minute when, following a lineout, the forwards drove over the visitors' try line for Castle to claim his second try. Crozier converted and the Blacks were now 29-17 ahead.
Old Priorians had the last word however when one of their centres ran through and scored to end the match with a victory to Colchester by 29 points to 22 moving them up from 4th to 3rd place.