Colchester 1st XV 13 | 12 Chingford RFC
Colchester 1st XV hold their nerve to dominate their opposition in the 2nd half and claim victory over top table Chingford.
Against the odds Colchester beat league leaders Chingford at Mill Road to maintain their 100% record of home wins this season.
In wet and muddy conditions this turned out to be a game of two halves with the visitors ahead 3-12 at half time but Colchester turning the tables in the second half dominating possession and territory to claim the winning score.
Prop Jerone Awesu injured himself in the warm up and hooker Charlie Thorogood was drafted into the squad at the last minute. Undaunted he acquitted himself very well; so much so that he deservedly got the Milsoms’ Man-of-the-Match award.
Not long into the match Chingford gave away a penalty for not releasing in their own half and Colchester’s wing James Crozier coolly slotted the ball between the posts to give the hosts an early lead. Roused by this setback Chingford came back at Colchester and pressed towards the home try line. Colchester matched them in the tight and the loose keeping them at bay until they moved the ball to their backs and a clever loop pass put the left wing under the sticks. Their fly half converted and the visitors were now ahead 3-7.
Expecting this to be the start of many scores the league leaders threw everything at Colchester . Frustrated that they were prevented from adding to their score lead to the visitors picking up three yellow cards at different points in the game well controlled by referee Andrew Beckett. Chingford furthered their lead with a push over try in the corner, well controlled by the forwards, however the conversion flew wide of the uprights and the score remained 3-12.
Apart from failed attempts at penalty kicks by both sides, there were no further scores in the first half. Hostilities resumed after the break and Colchester upped their game camping in the visitors’ half for the next 40 minutes. Skipper Liam Pickett lead by example and the dynamic back row of Joe Beckett, Ollie Pickett and Danny Whiteman prevented many attempted breakouts by the Chingford forwards.
After quarter of an hour of sustained pressure Colchester won a penalty that Crozier converted bringing the score closer at 6-12. Coach Anthony O’Riordan decided to use his substitutes and on came Thorogood for Hartley, White for Higgins and Flexman for Liversidge bringing fresh legs to the hooker, fly half and centre positions. This ploy worked well and Colchester heaped more and more pressure on the tiring Chingford defence. To their credit the visitors defended well and, as the clock wound down, it seemed that there was no way through for the hosts.
Eventually the dam broke when scrum half Brett Cutbush released his backs who quickly moved to the right. Flexman kicked wide and wing Dave Brennan, realising his path was blocked, put through a brilliant grubber kick that quicksilver fullback Will Brown chased over the line to touch down for a fine try.
There was glee amongst the home spectators followed by an anxious quiet as with the score now at 11-12 everything depended on the conversion. To his great credit Crozier kept his nerve and successfully kicked it to win the match by 13-12. (Steve Whiteman)