Colchester stage stunning comeback in final quarter

Essex County Standard: Danny Johnston. Danny Johnston.


London League division one north

Colchester Rugby Club staged a stunning late surge to overturn a 26-point deficit in the final quarter of their trip to Ruislip but head coach Danny Johnston said it may leave to some thinking to be done about their away-day preparations.

Ruislip made good use of the slope advantage in the first half as did Colchester in the second and it was with much relief that the visitors celebrated skipper James Crozier’s final conversion that levelled the score in the dying minutes.

That kept Colchester fourth in the league and Johnston was pleased with the character shown by his players, but said they need to be better in the early part of games on the road.

He said: “As in some of the international games at the weekend, it shows that you have to back yourself all the way in games and there are always opportunities to get a result.

“To turn a 26-point deficit around in the last 15 minutes was testement to the players and their skills, but from a coaching perspective, we have to look at the first 60 minutes of that game.

“We really do have to look at how we approach away days because we have some big fixtures coming up and need to address how we start games.

“A Brentwood, Eton Manor and obviously Ruislip, we saw sterling comebacks, but we need consistency over 80 minutes.

“Had we played the whole game as we did in the last 15 minutes, who know what the score could have been?

“It is a positive result with how they came back this time, but we have to look at how to build on it.

“We’ll look at how we manage our preparations and work on the factors like arrival times that we can control when we travel.

“We have had short sharp preparations so far and that works at home but we need to look at whether that’s working on away days.”

Having been 19-0 down at half-time and then conceding another converted try after the break, Colchester had it all to do in the closing stages at Ruislip.

The scrums and lineouts had improved greatly in the second half as did the handling and kicking by the backs.

Ollie White and Kieran Payne worked hard in both the tight and loose play and David Higgins’ long probing kicks put the home team under pressure.

This pressure and self-belief led to tries by prop Joe Macmillan, hooker Charlie Thorogood, centre Matt Smith and winger Dave Philp, with Crozier’s conversion tying the scores late on.

Colchester are due to host Woodford at Mill Road tomorrow in the league (kick-off 3pm).


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