Colchester fight back to take the win
London 1 North - Colchester 29 Letchworth Garden City 26
GUTSY Colchester fought back from a 26-10 half-time deficit to clinch a dramatic three-point victory.
Danny Johnston’s team scored 19 unanswered points in the second period, playing some irresistible rugby, and leapfrogging their rivals in the league – moving up to third.
Watched by many, including RFU president, Paul Murphy, Letchworth led for most of the game and were indebted to scrum-half Alex Hughes who scored 16 points in the first half.
Marcus Shaw impressed with his rampaging carries, supported by flankers Steve Mahoney and Alex Lennon as Letchworth threatened to run away with the game.
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After a lacklustre opening quarter, prop James Mitchell led Colchester’s revival with a series of cannonball charges to raise the spirit of his team-mates with his man-of-the-match performance.
Wing Dave Philp showed astute finishing skills for both his tries, while centre Tom Green scored a try and assisted the winning effort.
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Skipper James Crozier added nine points from kicks. Prop Joe McMillan returned after two stitches in a finger wound, epitomising the never give up spirit shown by the men in black.
Letchworth took the game to Colchester from the kick-off and an early offside penalty was converted by Hughes.
Hooker Kyle Hughes then scored a converted try and a Simon Hirbeck try followed two Alex Hughes penalties.
Trailing 23-3, Tom Green crashed through to get the hosts back on track, but an another Letchworth penalty extended their lead.
Ollie Pickett reduced Letchworth’s advantage with the first try of the second half, before Philp juggled but managed to keep hold of Nick Flexman’s deft kick to score in the scorer. Crozier’s conversion attempt from a tight angle, however, hit the post.
Now just four points behind, 26-22, Crozier touched down but was adjudged to have carried out a double movement so the score was disallowed.
Letchworth kicked their way upfield desperate to hang on for the win – but knocked on. Colchester won the midfield scrum and Tom Green straightened his run to draw two defenders before passing to Philp who dived to score in the corner, much to the delight of the home supporters.
Crozier added the difficult touchline conversion as referee David Killick blew to end this remarkable exciting contest.