Colchester gain impressive win against Shelford

Colchester head coach Anthony O'Riordan

Colchester head coach Anthony O'Riordan - Credit: Nicholas Flexman

There was an avian feel to this mid-table clash with the peacocks of Shelford hosting the ravens from Colchester.

It couldn’t have started better for Colchester when their kick off was knocked on. The ensuing scrum saw quick hands and a slick inside pass from wing Owen Herbert to allow centre Callum Irvine to score in the second minute.

Shelford hadn’t touched the ball yet but started to get into their stride. Their game plan remained based on a strong scrummage and playing off a big No 8 and fly half but Colchester’s tackling was resolute. Line outs went well for Colchester against golden-plumed opponents but pressure eventually told when Shelford’s No 8 Richie McIver picked up from five metres to crash over and even the scores.

Somewhat against the run of play, Colchester broke down the right wing and a cunning chip and chase saw James Crozier score in the corner. Higgins missed the tough conversion.

The second half saw Colchester use the prevailing wind and mighty boot of Dave Higgins to good effect.

Meanwhile, having lost their playmaking fly half Dwayne Lese to injury, Shelford seemed to run out of both steam and ideas.

The pressure told and their by now predictable ‘pop pass out of tackle’ routine saw an interception and try from Matt Smith. Higgins converted.

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It got even better when fast ball to the left wing saw Crozier repeat his chip and chase skills to score wide left. Higgins missed the difficult conversion but scored a towering penalty 10 minutes later, to give the visitors a 20-point lead.

But Shelford didn’t give up and it was a surprise win against the head for Colchester that allowed them to get back in the game.

Immense work all game by the Mitchell boys and Alfie Walsh in the front row saw the ball pop out the Colchester side but Whiteman was unable to gather and James Kellard picked up to score a soft try. Higgins replied with another penalty to take the scores to 10-28

The inspirational Cutbush departed with concussion to be replaced by Jaid Wiltshire and as the Colchester pack started to tire, the home team drove over from close range for two quick tries to set up a nail-biting last few minutes.

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