By Steve Whiteman


London League division one north

COLCHESTER left it late to overcome Essex rivals Eton Manor but, after an indifferent first half, raised their game after the interval to claim victory in London League division one north.

It was fitting that five of their six tries were scored by members of their front row who led their dominant pack from the front. Manor contested well but could only get three tries in reply.

Back in his preferred role as scrum-half, Matt Wadling proved to be an effective link between forwards and backs.

Substitutes Rhys Hartley, Alex Burman and returning wing Jon Vine all got plenty of game time and performed well.

Colchester kicked off into a strong wind which was to prove a telling factor with both fly halves using it to good effect when in their favour.

After ten minutes one such kick by Manor was fielded by wing Dave Brennan leading to fly half David Higgins making ground and gaining a penalty on Manor's 22.

The Black scrum secured the ball, full-back Harry Barton burst through and fed Dave Brennan who went over in the right corner.

But Manor soon came back and a good teamwork got the ball to their fly half who scooted over for the equalising score.

Later Manor kicked to the corner and were awarded a penalty. They drove forward for their useful number seven to score a converted try to take a 12-5 lead.

Stirred into action from the restart Colchester used their pacemen like wing James Crozier and centre Damien Brambley to make inroads into Manor's half.

On the half hour mark the Black pack drove towards the visitor's line for hooker Dan Brennan to claim another try.

Manor continued to pin Colchester back with long kicks only for the Blacks to come back at them.

Flankers Ollie Pickett and Dan Whiteman led this advance with the latter at one point breaking away from the host's try line and running all the way to half way before being tackled.

Just before the interval a great surge upfield by Colchester resulted in prop and man-of-the-match James Mitchell claiming his first try.

Soon after the break Manor's number 13 was yellow carded for a late tackle but Colchester failed to take advantage against 14 men over the next ten minutes.

Indeed it was twice that time before the next score came when Colchester won a scrum just inside their half and a rapid succession of passes got the ball to Brennan to score again and put the Blacks further ahead.

Soon Colchester attacked again moving the ball right then left opening up a gap for Mitchell to claim his second try.

Manor now threw everything at the home defence and only stout tackling kept them out.

Eventually the dam burst as their scrum-half literally flew over a ruck to score a good unconverted try.

Colchester had the final word when Barton cross-kicked to Crozier who nearly scored but the defender touched the ball down first.

From their following scrum, Mitchell crashed over for his hat-trick try, sealing a brilliant personal performance and a Black victory.