Colchester maintain play-off push
London 1 North - Colchester 20 Eton Manor 17
COLCHESTER ground out a win against a determined Eton Manor to maintain their play-off place.
A quick tapped penalty by Eton Manor resulted in scrum-half Nick Horton forcing his way over for a try that wing Reece Reed converted.
Conceding rocked Colchester into action, a fast-paced attack leading to an overlap and an almost certain try but for an interception by Eton Manor full-back Huw Lewis.
Colchester won the resulting lineout and moved the ball wide, skipper James Mitchell breaking the defensive line and setting wing Dave Philp for a 40-metre race for an unconverted try.
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Fired up, Colchester quickly doubled their score.
Eton Manor’s restart kick was well taken by dynamo flanker Dan Whiteman.
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The ball sped wide where fullback James Crozier cut through the visitors’ defence, drawing a defender before passing to the evergreen Soper whose height helped him to place the ball over the line.
Colchester attacked again, but crossing cost them a penalty that Eton Manor kicked to touch. Reed converted to level the scores.
Eager to retake the lead, Colchester ran a penalty but the ball carrier was isolated, turnover ball enabling Reed’s speedy counter to create the space for Horton’s second try, Reed converted.
A more resolute Colchester emerged to pin Eton Manor in their half of the field for the second half.
Soper’s line-out steal set up another impressive charge by No. 8 Gareth Jones that dragged in defenders, and quick ball from replacement scrumhalf Louis Groves sped wide for a debut try by wing Joe Flexman. Chris Withers kicked the conversion to level the scores.
Eton Manor conceded more penalties and from one, Brambley kicked over the posts to give Colchester the lead