Colchester start with narrow defeat at home to Eton Manor in London 1 North
- Credit: Archant
Colchester’s season opener was a cracker that fizzed to the final whistle, the hosts losing with the final kick of the game.
Two Colchester yellow cards enabled Eton Manor to profit from their temporary player advantage to score two tries, while four narrowly missed penalty kicks could have given the hosts a comfortable win.
After a slow start, Colchester’s forwards played their way back into the game to win ball and link with their dangerous backs.
After a well balanced first quarter, referee Simon Goatcher sin-binned Colchester lock Elliot Castle after spotting him retaliating. Eton Manor’s scrum used their man advantage for a pushover try for Barnaby Newbury.
Retaking their restart kick, Colchester forwards pressured Eton Manor into conceding an offside penalty, David Higgins’ attempt whistling just wide.
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Eton Manor then laid siege to the Colchester line until restored to 15, before the hosts broke up field, missing another penalty.
In the second half, from a scrum on their own twenty-two, Higgins launched a long, high kick that fell inside the visitors’ half, centre Ben Murphy capturing the ball to offload to David Brennan for his first club try. Higgins added the conversion.
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Eton Manor then got close to the Colchester line with a series of phases, and energetic scrum-half Reece Reed’s try attempt was held up on the line by Colchester hooker Dan Brennan. The latter’s elation was short-lived as a clumsy tackle earned him a yellow card.
Reed’s adventure saw him run quick-tap penalties, setting up full-back Jack Knowles for a try, converted by Callum McKie, to restore Eton Manor’s lead, 12-7.
Colchester responded when James Crozier closed to the line and recycled ball spun right for Brennan’s second try.
Higgins again added the right touchline conversion.
Continued pressure won another penalty which Higgins unluckily edged wide before Eton Manor converted their own, through McKie, for a 15-14 lead.
With time running out, Colchester’s Higgins missed a penalty after a try-scoring overlap was foiled by a deliberate knock on.