Colchester earn derby bragging rights with win against Southend in National 3

James Crozier impressed in Colchester's victory over Southend

James Crozier impressed in Colchester's victory over Southend - Credit: Martin Gray

Colchester took the bragging rights in this derby win over Southend, scoring five tries to earn an extra bonus point, but gained a huge confidence boost too, after their second win of the season, 31-18

Colchester’s players and a vocal crowd of 500-plus were keen to see their amateurs defeat the semi-professionals of Southend, who were playing rugby in National League Two just last season.

Colchester exorcised memories of their 18-16 defeat in the away fixture earlier in the season, where ill-discipline from some Southend players and supporters cost suspensions and a probable points reduction.

Referee Ben Wilde and his assistant referees kept a tight rein on the fierce competitive spirit shown by both teams, with yellow cards playing a significant part.

Playing with pride and team spirit, Colchester’s forwards and backs combined to pressure the visitors with fast-paced running rugby, skipper Liam Pickett inspiring with a man of the match display of running and tackling.

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Southend started strongly, pinning Colchester into defence, and two offside penalties were converted by fly-half Brad Burr.

Stung into action, Colchester upped their game to press Southend into retreating to their own line, and prop Joe McMillan crossed for a try.

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Continued pressure saw Southend concede penalties culminating in skipper Marcus Bloomberg’s yellow card. Colchester scored 14 points before his return.

Wing James Crozier’s break set-up flanker Rob Pickard for a try. Then, prop Jerone Awesu bulldozed close to the line where No. 8 Danny Whiteman dived over for a try. Crozier kicked both conversions for the 19-6 halftime lead.

Sin binnings followed for Southend flanker and former Colchester player Ben Murphy and Colchester veteran lock Eliott Castle. Scrum failures then earned the visitors a penalty-try and easy kick for Burr.

The score shocked Colchester into revival. Fly-half Matt Barnes cut through a gap, releasing centre Te Albert to race in the fourth, bonus point try.

Then, fast angled running by wing Damien Brambley earned another try, Crozier adding both conversions.

Repeated offside earned Whiteman a yellow card before Southend wing George Griffiths’ last-minute consolation try ended the game.

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