Colchester's winning run is halted

Essex County Standard: Close battle - Colchester (black kit) were narrowly beaten by Westcliff in their London League division one north clash. Close battle - Colchester (black kit) were narrowly beaten by Westcliff in their London League division one north clash.

Colchester Rugby Club suffered a narrow 14-10 defeat at the hands of Westcliff in London League division one north.

The two sides did battle in wet, windy and muddy conditions, competing for the coveted second place in the division.

In a tight game it was the hosts, Westcliff, who scraped a win, ending their recent poor run of three defeats and ending Colchester’s run of three victories.

The strong wind made conversion kicking very difficult and full-back James Crozier was unable to convert their two tries whereas Westcliff’s fly-half, Jack Jones, made sure of his two easier conversions giving the hosts the extra four points.

Colchester kicked off and, after ten minutes, were awarded a penalty which Crozier was unable to convert.

There followed a period of attrition between the two sets of forwards with neither gaining the upper hand until Westcliff broke upfield and Jones scored and converted a try near the posts.

Colchester came back at their hosts but suffered from a high penalty count which disrupted their game plan.

However, they stuck to the task and, following a successful line-out taken by the impressive Ollie White, rumbled towards the Westcliff line where number eight Calum Irvine claimed a good try.

By now conditions had deteriorated yet, despite the cold and the slippery wet ball, both teams handled and kicked well.

Following another Colchester line-out, the ball was moved to Crozier who sprinted through a gap for a well-taken try, giving the Blacks a 10-7 half-time lead.

After the interval, Westcliff came back on the attack and moved the ball along their backline to centre Elliott Harvey who cut through the defence for a try near the posts.

Jones converted and the hosts were back in the lead 14-10.

Westcliff sniffed victory and threw everything into attack but Colchester’s defence held firm with centres Joe Flexman and Matt Smith tackling out of their skins.

Occasionally the ball reached the wings where Damien Brambley and Dave Philp made good ground but were unable to reach their opponents’ try-line.

Graeme Hay caught the eye with his bursts through the middle and his strength in the rucks and mauls.

Both sides added replacements when fresh legs were needed and this kept up the high level of intensity of this contest.

In the dying minutes of injury-time the referee awarded red cards to James Crozier and a Westcliff player for a sudden flare-up which ended the game on a sour note.

Westcliff stay in second place and Colchester drop to fourth with only eight points separating the top five teams.

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