Old Priorians 53 | 42 Colchester 1st XV
In a game of two halves, Colchester come off 2nd best after letting their lead slip
In a close fought match of great intensity OPs were the winners scoring 7 tries to Colchester’s 6 giving the visitors the small consolation of one league point to their five. Both wing James Crozier and the OP’s fly half gave an excellent kicking display missing only one conversion of the 13 on offer.
Colchester fielded a much changed team with a new half back combination of Matt Wadling and David Higgins and the inclusion of prop Alex Mitchell and wing Damien Brambley both playing for the first time in this team this season.
OPs opened the scoring after only 5 minutes when swift handling by their backs put their left wing over in the corner. Ten minutes later the Blacks replied when Higgins kicked to the corner from where they attacked the line for Wadling to claim a good try to even the score 7-7. Colchester’s pack were dominating the scrums with the front five working tirelessly under the leadership of skipper Liam Pickett. Indeed later on it was from a turnover scrum that Wadling fed Higgins who chipped over the defence to Brambley who ran in an excellent try. Colchester kept up the pressure and soon were back near OP’s line. Over-eagerness by the defending No 8 saw him yellow carded and, taking advantage of their numerical superiority, the Blacks moved the ball to fullback Will Brown who cut through to score. Colchester were now 7-21 ahead but, before long OP’s outside centre who was having an excellent game, intercepted their back’s move and ran through to score the first of his three tries.
Back came Colchester from the restart and, following a succession of driving scrums, were awarded a penalty try to make the score 14-28. Before long OP’s centre got his second try bringing the score closer at 21-28. Prop Simon Gray came on for Reid and newcomer Kiwi Chris Brown replaced Joe Beckett on the flank. Soon another pushover scrum by Blacks rewarded No 8 Harrison Pickett with a good forwards’ try just before half time.
Jack White replaced Higgins at fly half and this fast-paced game ensued. This time OPs worked their way upfield and, winning their lineout, put their flanker over for a try making it 28-35. This score seemed to inspire the hosts and over the next 20 minutes they scored three times, two by their centres and once from a forwards’ move plus getting a successful penalty kick. Colchester’s Man-of-the-Match Dan Whiteman lead a late revival despite having a head injury and losing the backing of fellow flanker Brown who had to leave the field with a dislocated shoulder. The Blacks tore up the field and, from another successful scrum, lock Joe Colcomb crashed over for the final try.
With time running out and behind 50-42, Colchester tried to bridge the gap but instead gave away a penalty which was converted to seal the win 53-42 to Old Priorians.