Tring IIs 38 | 17 Colchester Ravens
A brutal contest with the powerhouse of the Raven's engine room making Tring suffer, however the home side had the edge at full time
The Ravens travelled to Tring this Saturday with confidence following their hearty display against Canterbury the previous weekend. With a rejigged forward pack from the subsequent list of injuries sustained against last weeks visitors, it was going to be tough competing up front; but the men who deputised for these absentees left Tring with their heads held high.
The game started with near perfect conditions for a winters day; slightly cloudy but dry, although the severely angled pitch was firm but heavy going and tough on the legs. The first 10 minutes was a full blooded contest with neither side gaining the upper hand in general play, however from the first scrum it was Colchester who looked the most promising. For a successive weekend Alex Mitchell (aka Salad) turned his opposite inside-out, helped by the ever improving Troy Palmer on the loose head and Colchester A XV regular James Fisher at rake. Tring had no answer to the power of the Ravens tight five and were strangely lucky not to concede a string of penalties or have a man sent off for consistent scrum infringements. However it was Tring who emerged from the barrage with the first score, a rolling maul from a few metres out getting the score board ticking over. Their Fly Half converted from the touchline for a 7-0 lead. From the restart the Ravens had not switched on, and from the second phase Tring broke through to score again giving them a handy 14 point buffer after only 12 minutes. The next 20 minutes belonged to the visitors, with the Ravens clicking into gear on attack and benefiting from more scrum dominance. On 19 minutes, Scrum Half Matt Wadling went quickly to dot down near the posts, which was unfortunately not converted. And only a few minutes later, with the tactical game working in Colchester’s favour following good work by the backline, the Ravens scored their second. From a tighthead scrum turnover, the ball was whisked out to Fly Half Jack White who chipped across field to the onrushing Julian Chamberlain-Carter to cross for the second. Again it was unconverted but the Ravens were back in the game at 14-10. The remainder of the half was fairly even although Tring did score two more; another from a rolling maul on 33 minutes, and a 50 metre effort from their pacey winger evading multiple tackles down the touchline to score. Colchester had the last say of the half though, with Wadling getting his second after a fine drive from a lineout by the forward pack. 24-17 at the break, with the game anyone’s.
The second half contest was as brutal as the first with neither side giving up a metre in defence. Having started at number 8, the Ravens 18 year old Colts product Tom Gallecher had moved into the middle row, before eventually slotting into the loose head, with Palmer in between the two props. This shift didn’t cause any change in scrum dominance, and with Rory Miller and Kieran Payne providing shove from the engine room, Tring conceded a slew of penalties again; and again were lucky to keep fifteen men on the pitch. Tring however managed to get the first score on the board, another well worked move breaking the second half deadlock on 58 minutes; the converted try pushing the score to 31-17. And only six minutes later, Tring score their six and final try with the score now 38-17. Although the home side were ahead and with the win in sight, the remaining 15 minutes belonged mostly to the Ravens, who had been battling uphill and into the wind during the second period. Good pressure and scrummaging kept pegging the home side back but with the lineout not functioning as they would have liked, Colchester let Tring ease the pressure and exit with the booming boot of their Fly Half. A few more handling errors stunted the attack from Colchester and the home side were grateful to end the game after what was 80 minutes of graft and endeavour from a united Colchester team. The final score 38-17.