Colchester edge out East Grinstead in National 3
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Colchester recorded a fine third victory on the spin with a nail-biting one-point win over East Grinstead.
It was a tentative first quarter with both teams testing each other to identify strengths and weaknesses. Colchester’s front row of Awesu, Brennan and Mitchell coped well with large opponents and forward pressure saw the home team open the scoring with a well-taken penalty by Higgins.
But Grinstead were patient and worked a converted try under the posts after 30 minutes. Both teams were evenly matched but another try at the very end of the first half gave the visitors a decent 14-3 advantage.
If home supporters were worried, they were in for a pleasant surprise in the second half. Grinstead were powerless as the home team were much quicker in thought and action and a poor visitor line-out allowed captain Liam Pickett to drive over near the right touchline.
Colchester were now playing with real conviction and the towering boot of Higgins frequently made them 40 or 50 metres down the right touch.
Another Higgins penalty into the howling wind brought the home team to within a point with 20 minutes to go.
Grinstead looked shell-shocked at this point and a quick break by scrum half Brett Cuttbush and quick hands from Smith and Brambley created space for Jaid Wiltshire to score wide on the left to give an 18-14 advantage.
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Grinstead were now desperate but had no way to unlock a tenacious Colchester defence of which Whiteman, White and Picketts were outstanding. They were eventually awarded a penalty which they converted but Colchester held on.