Colchester Ravens 31 | 12 Westcombe Park IIs
After weeks of hard work and determination our Ravens are rewarded with a fantastic win over Westcombe Park
Saturday saw the Ravens again have a home game, hosting South London’s Westcombe Park at Mill Road. With the Zoo Leagues two bottom teams squaring off for the first time this season, it was an opportunity for Colchester to pull away from the wooden spoon. And from the off the Ravens were full of intent and after a few handy phases of play, the ball swept left for wing James Parry to score the opener after only 2 minutes; the unconverted try giving Colchester a 5-0 lead. With dry conditions giving both teams the opportunity to shift the ball, handling was good throughout the game; however with a strong wind angling across the pitch it was always going to be difficult at the line out. Colchester had focused heavily on the tackle leading up to the match and it showed with better communication and defensive structure, although in the first half Colchester gave Westcombe Park too much ball with repeated infringements for hands in the ruck. This did not stop the Ravens from doubling their tally when on 17 minutes the ball went through some decisive phases and when shifted to the right Colchester’s other wing Will Allen dotted down to make the score 10-0. With The returning Alex Mitchell and Dan Hexley partnering Jake Crowther, Eli Castle and Pat Murphy in the tight five, Colchester’s scrum dominated the Wescombe Park pack, winning a series of penalties during what was an excellent display of power. The visitors did however get their first point on the half hour when, after the Ravens were inches short of scoring, they managed to snaffle the ball and send play all the way back the other end of the pitch – the score now 10-5 to the home team, which is how it stayed until the break.
The message at half time was to keep playing to the structures and attack the central channels more with pods off the fly half. Half time also saw Jordan Kerr join enter the fray, accompanying starting openside Zac Puckey as senior debutants. The first 20 minutes of the second half was all Colchester’s, with some impressive runs through midfield from Castle and Captain Andy Goodbourn; the latter scoring the Ravens third to the left of the post. Fly Half Jack White converted to push the score to 17-5. Jon Perry and Kieran Payne entered the game and within a minute Perry was on hand to give the delicate draw and pass to now left winger Charlie Champs who scampered past the last man to round in and score the bonus point try for the home side. White again slotted the conversion and the score was now 24-5. With full credit to Westcombe Park the remaining 20 minutes was highly contested and this was their best patch of the game. They competed heavily at the breakdown and strung good phases together to put Colchester under a lot of pressure. Payne however was up for the challenge and put in two extraordinarily massive hits on the Westcombe Park runners which epitomised the attitude that the whole team had given all day. Colchester was undone though through a lovely chip and chase by the visitors Fly Half who regathered and swerved his way to the try line to make it 24-12 with 15 minutes to go. Not to be outdone, Colchester had the last say when Payne was on hand to take the last pass from White, stampeding over the top of the helpless Westcombe Park full back to score under the posts, White Again converting to take the score to 31-12. The last 4 minutes played out and the Ravens took their first win of the season in what was a very complete performance.