Colchester seal return to London 1 North with fine win at North Walsham Vikings
- Credit: Archant
Relegated Colchester started their brand-new London 1 North campaign in ideal fashion, with a 37-24 victory at North Walsham Vikings.
The team, led once again by lock Liam Pickett, was a combination of 13 of last season’s regular players, plus five new ones recruited from the Colts and local schools.
The newcomers included three Joes – messrs Reid, Colcomb and Cook – in the forwards, the exciting Will Brown at full back, and front row replacement Simon Gray.
The first 10 minutes saw both sides testing each other’s strengths and weaknesses until the visitors were awarded a free kick. Fly half David Higgins missed a speculative drop goal but then the ball was moved to left wing James Crozier to score Colchester’s first try.
Not to be outdone Vikings’ fly half Jake Duffield soon scored a try at the other end, making the scores even at 7-7.
After the restart, Blacks’ centre George Liveridge earned a penalty which Higgins duly converted, putting Colchester back in the lead at 7-10.
The visitors continued to exert pressure, earning yet another penalty, extending their lead.
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Reid was replaced by Gray and, at this point, Vikings edged into the lead when lock Roydon Miller touched down.
Just before half-time Vikings extended their lead by three points when a Colchester player was caught boring in a scrum, bringing the half time score to 17-13.
Invigorated after the break, the Blacks attacked immediately and were jubilant when flanker Danny Whiteman intercepted a pass and ran 50 metres to score under the posts.
The Vikings responded well, moving the ball to left wing James Riley whose well-timed pass put Duffield in for his second try.
Colchester’s set pieces were improving as the game progressed and from a scrum near the Vikings’ line skipper Pickett piled over to bring the score to 24-27.
In the final quarter of the game, the visitors’ superior fitness began to tell and scrum half Brett Cutbush skipped through to score a fine try, supplemented by a successful penalty from Higgins, the men in black claiming a bonus point victory.