U14 Eastern Counties Cup Final
Colchester beat North Walsham and Saffron Walden to defend their title.
Colchester u14s retain EC title.
Colchester 10 Saffron Walden 7
Colchester 18 North Walsham 0
This three way fixture saw us play Saffron Walden (Cambridgeshire Cup winners) in the opening game. With Walden being unbeaten this season they were going to be strong opoosition with several Saints players on display for both sides. The opening exchanges were physical as both teams looked to gain the ascendency. Both teams were quick to the breakdown but we conceded penalties as we were to eager to steal the ball - this stalled our attack and defence. However great play saw us open the scoring after 3 minutes. Continued line speed meant that Walden were limited to a handful of chances in the first half. We thought we had scored again but the ball was adjudged to have been knocked on in the act of grounding and we were unlucky to knock on as we went for the interception try. The second half started brightly but then a couple of missed tackles allowed Walden to have periods of dominance - as the penalty count started to give them momentum (second half penalty count was 7:2 against us!!!). A couple of missed tackles saw Walden break through and a good offload saw them cross the line to score. With the score 10-7 it was nail biting for coaches and crowd alike but vital turnovers saw us blunt the opposition attack. The final lineout marred what was a fairly fought contest as our lineout jumper was taken out before his feet hit the ground causing with him landing in his shoulders - fortunately he recovered for the next game.
The break allowed us to watch the Walden v Walsham game which too was a ferocious encounter with Walsham taking the early lead but Walden coming back at the end.
Again the pre-match routine ensured we hit the ground running and the six players who did not start the first game played a full game in this one. We seemed to find our fluency as forwards and backs showed real accuracy in continuity. An early injury to a Walsham player in a valiant attempt to stop the the opening try meant that we moved to pitch three. We hope that Will makes a speedy recovery after he eventually made it to hospital. Our line speed put their backs under pressure and the chop tackles allowed us to compete at the breakdown. The ball seemed to have a mind of its own near the try line as it made every effort to avoid us taking it over - at times it squirmed free from our winger even unopposed and refused to be caught when making try scoring passes. This was by no means an easy game as Walsham were determined in both defence and attack as our centres will testify to. Again our speed at the breakdown was crucial in the forward battle and the backs regulalrly found gaps in the oposition line. Experience in the shortend games meant that when penalty chances presented themselves in front of the posts we took them to extend the lead.
This was great display of rugby with high skills evident across all three teams. Both sets of opposition coaches commented on how their boys really stepped up their game against us. We look forward to hopefully adding both teams to our fixture list next year as these were two of the toughest games we have faced since last year's finals.