LONDON 1 NORTH: Colchester 50 Old Haberdashers 5

Scrum action from Colchester's game

Scrum action from Colchester's game - Credit: Archant

Colchester enjoyed an emphatic seven-try, bonus-point win to restore team confidence following two recent losses.

Improved control saw fewer errors and penalties conceded and Colchester’s pack foraged and hunted effectively throughout, with flankers Dan Brennan, Dan Whiteman and Ollie Pickett combining with quick-silver backs who ran and kicked the ball productively.

Skipper James Crozier led by example, scoring two tries and converting seven out of eight kicks at goal to contribute a 25-point personal tally. Centre Matt Smith scored a brace of tries. Wing Dave Philp scored one with two assists.

Haberdashers missed a penalty kick in the first 10 minutes before Colchester mounted their first attack.

Following Dan Whiteman’s crunch tackle in midfield, Haberdasher’s were penalised for not releasing. Flanker Ollie Pickett’s made a quick tap and scrum-half Brett Cutbush made ground before Dave Philp raced in a try.

The hosts scored again from the restart, Crozier joining the line at speed to dissect the Haberdashers’ defence and score.

The restart kick again proved costly as Philps burst up the right wing before delivering a deft grubber kick into space, the ball sitting up nicely for Ollie White to score.

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Undaunted, Haberdashers showed their mettle and Pickett denied them a scoring chance by preventing release at a ruck, which earned him a yellow card.

Haberdashers used their numerical advantage for the scrum pushover try grounded by Ally Mandy.

Colchester hit back and Crozier converted a penalty for three points.

Haberdashers, gamely if unsuccessfully, tried to run the ball clear but wing Jermaine Barnes was sin-binned for preventing release.

Colchester hooker Charlie Thorogood’s quick-thinking tap penalty caught Haberdashers off-guard, Matt Smith breaking a tackle to score the fourth bonus point.

The second half saw Colchester camp in the Haberdasher’s half for 15 minutes without scoring, even though Joe Flexman, Simon Parkinson and Joe McMillan threatened.

Matt Smith did eventually cross the line for Colchester, before Crozier fell on the ball behind the try-line for a score.

He was winded in the process however, and that contributed to his only missed conversion of the game.

Dan Whiteman raced in with the final try, Crozier converting to bring up the half century.