Colchester miss out to Woodbridge in friendly
Encouraging start for a new look Colchester
In the first game of the new Colts season, Colchester entertained neighbours Woodbridge in an early repeat of last season's Eastern Counties Cup final. With Colchester only fielding four of last season's Colts team, this was an opportunity for the younger members of the squad to show their worth, and they did just that, performing very well against bigger and more physical opposition. This friendly game was played over 4 x 20 minute periods to allow squad rotation and coaching opportunities throughout the match. Many thanks to friends from Woodbridge for the spirit in which the game was played; we hope that our paths cross again as the season progresses.
Colchester started the game positively, competing well in the opening period. With both sides trying to gel, initial mistakes were common as new combinations and new positions were tried. Sustained pressure close to the Colchester line led to a successful maul and forwards try for Woodbridge before Colchester's backs showed promise with some enterprising play. However, turnover ball allowed the Woodbridge backs the chance to show their talent; the ball moving through several sets of hands before it was touched down for a second score just as the period was coming to an end.
Quarter One Score: Colchester 0 Woodbridge 10
An even second period saw both sides enjoy plenty of ball but the game was largely confined to midfield. Woodbridge were just gaining the upper hand inside the Colchester 22 when centre Ollie Eaves intercepted a pass and sprinted the length of the filed for a fine individual score (the conversion unfortunately hitting the crossbar). Robust defence by the home side repulsed further Woodbridge pressure before half time.
Quarter Two Score: Colchester 5 Woodbridge 10
As the game progressed, Colchester's scrum started to get on top (with impressive work by prop Thomas Carver-Hardy), pushing back the opposition back on a number of occasions. With the home line-out also functioning well, the game became evenly poised for a period. Unfortunately for the home side, Woodbridge benefitted from two moments of good fortune which took the game away from Colchester. A wheeled scrum led to a kick ahead by the away side; the loose ball being misfielded by the Colchester defence allowing a converted score under the posts. Then an away penalty gave Woodbridge the opportunity of kicking into space; the bouncing ball deceiving the home side and sitting up kindly for the away winger who gratefully accepted the opportunity to score. To their credit, Colchester responded well to these quick fire setbacks and were unfortunate to have a try of their own chalked off for a forward pass.
Quarter Three Score: Colchester 5 Woodbridge 22
The fourth period was mainly played within Woodbridge territory with both Colchester forwards and backs contributing equally. Lively centre Jonah Varela impressed with some energetic bursts forward; the home pressure causing an error from a Woodbridge 5m scrum from which scrum half Ewan Waters pounced to score. It was Woodbridge however who had the last word; a jinking run through the tired home backline extending the lead with more-or-less the last play of the game.
Quarter Four Score: Colchester 10 Woodbridge 27
Coach Dean Tully was pleased by how the team performed, saying "the coaching team are very encouraged by the squad display today. There were many positives as new players stepped up and worked hard against talented opposition. All players and coaches must now work together to develop the key aspects of the game required for the team to progress forward in a positive way".