Colchester head for National 3 rugby without skipper Calum Irvine

Calum Irvine, centre.

Calum Irvine, centre. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

One of Colchester’s heroes from the club’s London 1 North title-winning campaign has quit the club due to work commitments.

Skipper Calum Irvine is moving out of the area to take up a teaching role and will be a notable absentee when National 3 new-boys Colchester host Gravesend at Mill Road, on the opening day (September 5).

Irvine was Colchester’s top try scorer (24) as Anthony O’Riordan’s men beat Eton Manor to the title and was also third in the club’s points scorers list.

“We have lost Calum whose services to the club have been phenomenal,” said O’Riordan.

“We will miss him, not just for his playing ability, but he is Colchester through and through.

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“It’s been a pleasure to work with him and in my first year as coach, made my job a lot easier. I am gutted he has gone but I wish him all the best and I am sure he will be very well received at any club that takes him.”

While Irvine’s departure is a blow as Colchester prepare for the level up, O’Riordan is confident has a squad capable of holding their own in National 3.

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“Calum is one man and we have managed to keep the squad we had from last year together and we have the ability to be able to fill his shoes,” added O’Riordan, whose side also face London Irish Wild Geese, Chichester and Eton Manor in September.

“We are not arrogant or complacent but we don’t pay much attention to the fixtures,” he added.

“The rugby will be quicker, faster and better but we can only control the controllables and, like last season, we will take the season two weeks at a time.”

Before the season start, Colchester face the small matter of a friendly game in Guernsey, one of their opponents in the upcoming season.

“It will be more than just a game of rugby, it will be an opportunity just before the start of the season where we can share a moment,” explained O’Riordan.

“When we were promoted at Eton Manor (on the final day) we did not have the chance reflect on what we had done. It was just a whirlwind.

“It will be nice to sit down with the boys and have a catch up.”

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