Match Report: 1stXV v Colchester
By Tony Coyle
CHILTERN COME UP JUST SHORT AGAINST SECOND IN THE TABLE COLCHESTER
After last week’s disappointing performance at Ruislip, much pride was restored against high flying Colchester. With a makeshift front row in place after yet more injuries it took some time for Chiltern to settle and although their opponents took first use of a strong wind they found the home defence frustratingly efficient. With the wind in their faces Chiltern had no option but to keep the ball in hand and they managed this pretty well before a couple of penalties allowed Colchester to camp in the home 22 and after several abortive drives by Colchester from their excellent lineout, Chiltern turned the ball over for a home scrum. However the compliment was returned when Chiltern knocked the ball on and from the resultant scrum the weight and technique of the Colchester scrum was too good to hold and after Chiltern collapsed the scrum the referee rightly awarded a penalty try, 0-7.
Try as Colchester might Chilterns defence was excellent and time and again strong tackling forced mistakes and gave Chiltern more of a foothold. Now winning some useful possession a solid scrum gave the backs some space and a splendid break by Ben Pothecary who had another outstanding game made room for David John to run in from 40m for Chiltern’s first try which was unconverted, 5-7.
Both sides were trying as hard as the could to break the deadlock but there was no further score before half time.
With the wind now against them Colchester played a much more conservative game, picking and driving again and again. Chiltern however now were able to secure better field position with the wind in their favour and after some good interplay by backs and forwards Colchester conceded a penalty wide out but the resultant kick slid agonisingly past the posts.
Colchester then enjoyed their best spell of the match and after an excellent break by their 10 scored their second try which was converted to make it 5-14. Chiltern refused to buckle and were winning greater parity at the scrum and after yet another Poth break Dave John was on hand to score his second try converted by Monty Weatherall 12-14.
Five minutes later however a beautifully worked move from a lineout allowed Colchester to edge ahead again but the try was not converted so 12-19.
Chiltern were pressing hard and it was clear that Colchester were getting frustrated that they couldn’t find a way to a 4th try and a bonus point. Chiltern continued to hammer away and for a moment it looked like Poth had sliced through the defence to score only to be called back correctly for crossing in midfield.
It seemed to galvanise Colchester who pressed and pressed but the defence held firm. It was therefore more than a little disappointing that the referee missed a knock on by Colchester. Chiltern hesitated and with no whistle a grateful 12 ran through to score Colchester’s last and bonus point try,12-26.
Of course Colchester were the better side and deserved the victory but Chiltern restored a lot of pride in the jersey and deserved at least a losing bonus point but it was not to be.
There is no game this Saturday as the 6 Nations reaches its climax but then the boys are away at 3rd placed North Walsham who we should have beaten at home earlier in the season. It will be a long journey and a very tough assignment but if they can display more of the spirit that they showed today we will be proud of them whatever the result.