Colchester Ravens 8 | 12 Canterbury IIs
Tantalisingly close game for Ravens whose tireless work kept them on the heels of top table Canterbury
The first fixture back after the Christmas break saw the Ravens entertain Canterbury’s 2nd XV at Mill Road at a 2pm kickoff. With Canterbury flying high in third on the table and the reverse fixture culminating in a 62-10 defeat in September, Colchester’s 2nd XV had a battle on their hands to stay with the National League 2 side.
From the outset though, Colchester took it to Canterbury with the visitors immediately on defence for the first few minutes. The Ravens battered away at the defensive line only to come up short on numerous occasions. And then when a penalty was conceded for blocking, Canterbury took the advantage and through numerous flailing tackles they scored a 90 metre try. 0-5 to the visitors after 6 minutes. However Colchester’s heads didn’t drop and for the next 15 minutes they had all the possession and territory without being able to break through Canterbury’s resolute defence. The front five were dominating at scrum time with Alex Mitchell on the tighthead giving his opposite man all sorts of problems with Canterbury either conceding a penalty or getting pushed off the ball completely. However, against the run of play the visitors managed to string some well worked phases together and score their second try of the game on 26 minutes. The converted try now making it 0-12. For the remainder of the half, the honours were fairly even but going into the half time break, Colchester had reason to feel like they should have had some points on the board.
The second spell started like the first, with Colchester’s making most of the play and with Julian Chamberlain-Carter at outside centre the Ravens had a midfield crash ball that was making metres off the set piece. On 48 minutes, some slick work between the forwards and the backs resulted in Chamberlain-Carter getting an outside break and after drawing the last man, popped a delicate pass to the straightening veteran winger Paul Summerson who slashed through to score. 5-12 was the score and with over half an hour to play. With Canterbury’s big pack reverting to route-one rugby mixed with a sprinkling of Hail-Mary passes, the injury toll started to mount for the home side against the onslaught. However as it was in the end of the first half Colchester’s defence stood firm and the visitors didn’t score again. It was Colchster who scored the next points, on 53 minutes, when Fullback Adam O’Leary stepped up to knock over a penalty. The score now stood at 8-12 with enough time for either side to take the advantage. Over the next 25 minutes both sides were locked in an arm wrestle at times it looked like either side could break away and put the game to bed. It was not to be though, and after some more stinging defence in the Colchester 22, the Canterbury Fly Half hoofed the ball into touch to end the game. The final score 8-12 to the visitors.