Colchester win promotion battle

COLCHESTER took the honours in this top of the table clash with the win leapfrogging them above opponents Sudbury into the promotion play-off second place.

London Two North East

Colchester 30 Sudbury 10

COLCHESTER took the honours in this top of the table clash with the win leapfrogging them above opponents Sudbury into the promotion play-off second place.

End of season injuries and player unavailability forced team changes on both sides but, instead of a safety-first game, both Colchester and Sudbury played to win, moving the ball freely.

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The game started at a cracking pace, Colchester driving into the Sudbury 22 where the visitors’ determined defence held out for the first 10 minutes before turning into attack.

Sudbury mixed their game with forwards and backs keeping the ball in hand and slowly making progress against Colchester’s well organised defence until, in one moment, the game changed.

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Anticipating a Sudbury pass, Colchester centre Adam Cook’s interception turned defence into stunning counter-attack, leading a chase over 65 metres to score the opening try wide right.

Sudbury attacked again, Colchester defending with composure until flanker Dan Whiteman and prop James Mitchell combined to win turnover ball and set their backs on a fast counter attack that caught Sudbury on the back foot, culminating with right wing Jack Wiggins’ touchdown wide right.

The visitors kept up their attacking policy, momentum taking them into their opponents’ half where hardworking captain and scrum-half Matt Wooderson marshalled the attacks, dynamo No. 8 Sam Lockwood crashing over for Sudbury to take the half-time score to 10-5.

Colchester extended their lead early in the second half. After retaking their restart kick, No. 8 Mark Braidwood charged forward and Sudbury were penalised for handling in a ruck. Outside-half David Higgins mastered the cross-field gusts to convert the first kick of the day.

The game ebbed and flowed, Sudbury getting within five metres of the Colchester line before prop-turned scrum-half Joe McMillan dived onto a loose ball to set up the clearance.

Sudbury came back until another dropped ball was seized by the alert Cook who broke upfield, linking with wing Damien Brambley who outpaced his chasers over 60 metres to touch down under the posts and Higgins converted.

Colchester’s counter-attacking flair saw a turnover just inside the Sudbury half leading to McMillan darting around a ruck, linking with the outstanding Mitchell who drew defenders before releasing the fleet-footed Brambley for his second try.

Sudbury’s never-say-die attitude was rewarded. A series of forward drives, prop Josh Rix and Lockwood prominent, took play up to the hosts’ line, several phases culminating in a try wide right for attacking full-back Richard Lorking.

One final flourish remained as Colchester again regained the restart kick. Cook and Braidwood set up midfield attacking positions from where McMillan found Mitchell who again drew defenders before Dan Whiteman sped over for the final score of the game.

Colchester’s one point lead over Sudbury with one game remaining sets up an exciting last game of the season finale for the chance to play the second-placed team in London League Division Two North West for promotion to London One North.

Colchester play away at proud local rivals Mersea Island for what could be a humdinger last game of the season.

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