COLCHESTER Rugby Club consolidated second spot in London One North following a 17-9 victory at Chingford, writes STEVE WHITEMAN.

A heavy pitch under a steady drizzle led to a low-scoring game, with the conditions proving to be a great leveller.

The hosts managed to score three penalties but Colchester's two converted tries and a successful second half penalty gave them victory.

New additions to the squad were debutant hooker Ed Holroyd, whose accurate lineout throwing was a bonus for the forwards and returning number eight Ethan Hughes, who strengthened the pack towards the end of the match.

In the absence of injured James Crozier, fly half David Higgins took on the kicking duties, successfully converting both the tries and a penalty.

Indeed, Higgins and scrum half Jamie Murray both played well, their kicks out of hand constantly forcing Chingford to retreat into their own half.

Colchester kicked off but immediately gave away a penalty that the home fly half converted.

Before long, more bad discipline gave Chingford another penalty attempt but this time the ball bounced back off the post and Murray cleared away the danger with a long kick.

Shortly after this Colchester mounted a sustained attack down the right mainly through the swift pace of wing Connor O'Reilly.

At the end of the move centre Jamie Light touched down but the officials disallowed the score, deeming that O'Reilly had knocked the ball forward.

Shortly after this disappointment, Colchester raised their game to great effect.

Winning a lineout they moved the ball swiftly along their backs, first left then right, opening up gaps in the defence and wing Max Payne burst through to score a great team try.

Colchester were now 7-3 ahead and there followed 20 minutes of cut and thrust from both sides trying desperately to improve their scores.

Good tackling by the Blacks, particularly by skipper Danny Whiteman and fullback Harvey Skinner, kept Chingford from crossing the tryline.

Just before the interval Chingford did get a penalty but the Blacks came back at them straight away.

After winning a scrum, they unleashed O'Reilly who broke through the defence, offloaded to prop James Mitchell who drove over the line to score a fine try.

Unfortunately, the end of the game was marred by lock Graeme Hay getting a red card for raking an opponent leading to much shuffling of the pack, as Colchester were reduced to 14 men.

The Pickett brothers all put in a good shift as did Sean Bundy when he came off the bench to play on the flank.

The Blacks pack continued to dominate the set pieces as the clock ran down but were unable to add to their 17 points.

O'Reilly and Mitchell were named men-of-the-match for Colchester, who look forward to hosting fifth-placed Old Haberdashers on Saturday.