Colchester return to first team action on Saturday after a three-week break, last week’s match at Tring having fallen victim to the freezing weather.
In the always-popular pre-Christmas fixture, The Blacks play Shelford in their last home match of the year (kick-off 3pm) and will be desperate to pick up from where they left off before the enforced hiatus.
While last week’s postponement was frustrating (the match at Tring will now be played on January 20th), results elsewhere – and particularly Harpenden’s 18-18 draw at Hertford – mean Colchester go into Saturday’s match a substantial 11 points clear at the top of Regional 1 South East having played a game fewer than their nearest rivals.
Shelford have always provided stiff opposition, and while Colchester won a tight encounter at The Davey Field in October the Cambridgeshire side won on their last visit to Raven Park last season. Shelford are third in the league following their home win against Bedford Athletic last week.
One advantage of the long lay-off has been to give more recovery time to some of Colchester’s injured players. Watch out for a few comebacks in the next couple of weeks.
It’s a week off for the promotion-chasing Ravens, but with all the other teams playing this weekend it will be a chance for their rivals to close the 2’s 12-point lead at the top of the Counties 2 League.
The 3s are at home to Ipswich 2s (kick-off 2pm) while the 4s travel to Ipswich to take on their third team (kick-off 2pm).
On a busy day at Raven Park, the Colchester Kings are also in action on Saturday as they take on Brighton (kick-off 2pm).
As well as three home matches, Saturday’s festivities will start well ahead of kick-off with the sold-out pre-match Christmas lunch. A sartorial warning that yuletide jumpers will inevitably be much in evidence!