A VALIANT effort from Amersham & Chiltern wasn’t enough to prevent Colchester from securing a bonus point win as they stayed on course to claim a top-two finish in London League division one north, writes STEVE WHITEMAN.

The Blacks scored four tries in their 26-12 victory while Chiltern claimed two in a highly-competitive match.

Early on, substitute Tom Dales came on to replaced injured hooker Dan Brennan and put in a good shift, as did debutant Sol Hyde at outside centre, who ran and tackled his young heart out, earning him the man-of-the-match award.

Mention must also be made of Toby Hill, who did a fine job in an unaccustomed loose-head prop position.

Before long, Colchester were awarded a penalty as the home number eight Jordan Scott was offside and yellow-carded.

Fly-half Brett Cutbush kicked to touch in the corner and the Blacks pack drove the resulting line-out over the try line but the referee deemed that the ball was held up.

From the resulting five-metre scrum, Colchester drove forward and earned a penalty try putting them seven points in the lead.

For the next half hour, advantage swung one way and another with many handling errors by both sides.

But just before half-time, Chiltern broke through the cover for their right wing Dave John to score a good unconverted try.

It meant honours were almost even at the interval with the score close at 7-5.

After a stern talking to by their coaches, Colchester upped their game in the second half, improving their handling and dominating the set pieces using the strength of the front five and excellent foraging by the back row.

This yielded dividends as they kept advancing into Chiltern's half until, following a successful scrum, scrum-half Matt Wadling linked with Cutbush who fed inside centre Brock Price and he tore through to score by the posts.

Wing James Crozier converted, putting the Blacks 14-5 ahead.

But Chiltern were not going to lie down and pressed forward from the restart, quickly moving the ball to John, who claimed his second try.

The extras were duly added as the gap was closed to two points.

Later Colchester were given a penalty on halfway and Cutbush kicked the ball to the hosts' 22 touch.

Executing a pre-planned move, hooker Tom Dales linked with skipper and flanker Danny Whiteman, who sped through the cover to score a fine try that put Colchester back on the front foot.

Continued pressure against the home side from the likes of props James Mitchell and Toby Hill, locks Ollie White and Alex Burman and the Pickett brothers - Oli and Harrison - enabled Wadling to feed his backs regularly.

Centres Hyde and Brock Price kept making inroads into the Chiltern defence and wings Crozier and Harry Barton also made ground as often did full back Damien Brambley.

After a successful scrum, Wadling kicked the ball through, claimed it back and fed Harrison Pickett for the vital fourth score. Crozier converted and the visitors ended the game as worthy 26-12 winners.