Colchester fall just short of promotion in dramatic play-off
In our final rugby round-up of the season, Bury St Edmunds end their campaign with a defeat, Colchester fall short in a promotion play-off and Southwold claim the Pony Moore Trophy.
National League Two South
BURY ST EDMUNDS finished their season with a 33-12 defeat at Henley, leaving them in ninth spot in the table.
The first quarter of the game was a real arm wrestle with both sides defending well, however after several concerted attacks, former Bury front rower Brad Cook broke through the centre to score for the hosts, with the conversion being good.
But after 28 minutes Bury got back in the game through a penalty try after a dominant scrum.
Henley managed to score again through Sam Lunnon just before the break, so it was 12-7 at half-time.
After the break, Henley roared ahead. Full-back O'Neill scored after several phases and converted his own try.
The same player scored again after 51 minutes with some sublime interplay and the conversion was good, making it 26-7 to Henley.
Soon after, the home side crossed again with captain Albon offloading to scrum half Webb who touched down. The conversion was successful, and Henley were 33-7 up.
To their credit, Bury kept playing, and were rewarded with the last score of the match, wing Mike Stanway racing down the right wing, chipping over the defence and scooping the ball up to score in the corner, Aaron Forest's conversion attempt just missing.
So Bury's season ends with defeat, but with several players renewing their contracts and some exciting new signings too, the future looks bright.
London One promotion play-off
COLCHESTER fell agonisingly short of their promotion goal, losing 33-26 to the Brighton Blues in front of the biggest crowd of the season at Mill Road.
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In an evenly-matched encounter, it all came down to the last play of the match as Brighton defended their line with Colchester needing a converted try to take the game into extra-time.
Colchester were awarded a five metre scrum and rumbled over, but Ollie Pickett was held-up by some outstanding Brighton defence, the referee blowing the final whistle to spark a mass pitch invasion by the delighted supporters of the men from Sussex.
Brighton took the lead with an early converted try from Frank Taggart, before three penalties from James Crozier put the home side in front.
Crozier then scored the try of the match, latching on to a Brighton mistake to run in from 40 metres.
Brighton struck back within a couple of minutes, Jordan Whythe crossing after sustained pressure. Colchester ended a see-saw half on the up – Damien Bramley touching down after a fine handling move involving the backs and created by fly-half Brett Cutbush, to give them a 21-14 edge.
But ill discipline after the break saw Brighton bring it back to 21-20 with penalties, only for the Essex side to surge back ahead through a James Mitchell try.
Back came Brighton with a try for centre Dylan Winsloe under the post, converted by O'Hagan, who added two further penalties, to put the Blues ahead and set up the grandstand finish.
No promotion in the end for Colchester, but they can look back in pride at a season which saw them lose just three of their 27 matches.
Pony Moore Trophy
SOUTHWOLD enjoyed bragging rights over locals rivals Beccles, defeating them in both matches of the annual Pony Moore clash.
Their first XV got their just revenge for last year's narrow defeat at Beccles with a 36-0 thumping.
Beccles battled and tackled their hearts out but were starved of possession and found it hard to keep up with the pace of the constant attacks that Wold made through the game
Wold went into the break at 17-0 up with tries from Jonah Cunningham, Jamie Jenner and Ollie Carlstroem and one conversion from Luke Wade.
James Hall went over for Wold's fourth only four minutes in to the second half and Cunningham and Callum Anthony added further tries as they added gloss to the final score.
In the second game, Southwold's development squad also cruised to a victory, this time 35-5, preserving their 100% record for the season.