Colchester 1st XV 107 | 7 Saffron Walden
In the highest scoring game the league has seen this season, Colchester score a record 107 points against visitors Saffron Walden
If people still had history books then they’d be reaching for them after Colchester 1st XV put over a century of points past Saffron Waldon on Saturday; the highest score by any team in the league so far this season. Colchester fielded probably their strongest team of the season and expected to win but no-one expected the two-digit electronic scoreboard to be rendered useless well before full-time.
A strong pack with ‘The Pickett Line’ of Liam, Ollie and Harrison gave Waldon all sorts of problems in both tight and loose. With Brett Cutbush back at No 9 and the welcome return of David Higgins to fly half, new running and kicking options quickly unpicked a resolute but ultimately overwhelmed Walden defence.
No 8 Harrison Pickett was first over the line with a good pick and drive from a push-over scrum. Credit where due however and much goes to the front five of Joe McMillan, Rhys Hartley, Jerone Awesu, Joe Colcomb and skipper Liam Pickett who not only dominated scrum and lineout but made a massive impact at the breakdown too.
Left wing Dave Brennan was next with a strong run and touch down which James Crozier converted well. David Higgins set up the third with a perfect inside pass to Ollie Pickett to score under the posts. Another switch move saw No 7 Dan Whiteman score his first and Colchester’s fourth.
Saffron put their only points on the board when Colchester’s defence bought an outrageous dummy which enabled their fly half to score under the posts. The conversion brought the score to 26-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The remainder of the half saw Colchester re-establish dominance and a rejuvenated Dan Whiteman use exquisite lines of running to bring up his hat-trick. Crozier converted to bring the score to 40-7 at the interval.
Spectators braving an icy wind weren’t sure if Colchester could maintain pace and momentum in the second half but when Cutbush went over in the first move of the half things looked very ominous indeed for Saffron Walden. Higgins used neat footwork to score next to take the home team past 50 points.
Tiring opposition and fresh replacements enabled Colchester to play the fast, open rugby the now deep-frozen Mill Road faithful know and love. No 6 Ollie Pickett scored two more for his hat-trick, Higgins another for two. Centre George Liversidge intercepted to score again then quick hands from centre Jona Crisp and fast feet from wing Joe Flexman saw a touchdown in the right corner.
Hooker Rhys Hartley drove over to provide one for the forwards before backs Matt Wadling and Dave Brennan moved the score past the 100 points. Man-of-the-match Dan Whiteman fittingly ended the rout with his fourth try and the dropkick conversion which ended matters at 107-7.
A great way to start the 2018 campaign and a very useful boost to points difference. Colchester know though that their next two games will be very different affairs and away at second-place Brentwood next week will probably be tougher than top-placed Chingford at home the following week. After yesterday though, this re-invigorated team know that they can win both and give themselves a fighting chance of a top-two place at the end of the season. Bring it on