Colchester prove pushovers for Essex rivals Westcliff
- Credit: Archant
National League 3 London & SE Colchester 5 Westcliff 48 Colchester proved to be pushovers quite literally in a one-sided local derby against Westcliff, whose pack scored five pushover tries.
The seven try loss leaves Colchester needing a winning streak and relying upon other teams failing to avoid relegation this season. Hoping for revenge for the close 19-17 Westcliff win in the October away fixture, Colchester discovered to their cost that the larger Westcliff pack had improved considerably, pushing Colchester off the ball and denying Colchester backs possession.
Injuries denied Colchester front row players yet the replacements gave their all against larger and more experienced opponents. Despite being outmuscled, commitment was not in doubt as players put their bodies on the line, injuries to skipper Liam Pickett and hooker Charlie Thorogood forcing them to leave the field.
Colchester started the game strongly, pressure pinning the visitors into their half for most of the first quarter, until a Westcliff scrum drive caught the hosts offside. Fly-half Jack Jones converted to start the scoring.
Westcliff took the game to Colchester, a series of attacks ending with hooker Jack Hopkins diving over from a catch and drive lineout. A series of scrums wore down Colchester resistance until the first scrum pushover try for No. 8 Joe Vandermolen, Jones adding his second conversion for the 0:17 halftime lead.
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The visitors pack adapted the scrum as a blunt but effective attacking weapon for the second half, a series of scrum fails ending with Vandermolen’s second pushover try.
Westcliff overconfidence led to a loose pass seized by Colchester wing Harry Barton, who raced in an opportunist try from 40 metres to put the home side on the scoreboard. But hopes of a Colchester revival were quickly dashed by another scrum pushover try for flanker George Maloney. A lineout catch and drive pushover try for lock Rupert Edwards following.
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Colchester rallied before a poor pass enabled a Westcliff counter-attack, fullback Chris Dudman racing the length of the field for a try. The Westcliff scrum had the final say, forcing repeated Colchester scrum fails punished by a penalty try.