London 1 North

by Steve Whiteman

COLCHESTER got the new London One North season off to a cracking start with an emphatic victory over Diss at Mill Road.

In ideal playing conditions, the Blacks fielded a strong squad with the welcome addition of ex-Colts Alex Burman and Francois Rossouw at lock and centre respectively.

Diss kicked off and Colchester were soon awarded a scrum back in the visitors' half.

The Blacks shoved Diss off the ball and it was moved to Roussouw who made ground before linking with scrum-half Matt Wadling who raced over for the first try.

Wing James Crozier converted what was to be the first of six successful kicks during the game.

Diss restarted and before long Colchester were back in their half.

Man-of-the-match Ollie Pickett broke from the back of a scrum and fed Crozier, who scampered over in the corner. Despite being 12-0 up after only ten minutes Colchester kept their structure playing as a team rather than as individuals. This tactic paid off with them scoring three further tries before half time.

Fly-half David Higgins put in a long kick to the opposition 22 touchline.

The stolen lineout ball was moved to Dave Brennan who raced down the wing before feeding the supporting Higgins who scored.

Then on the 20-minute mark, fullback Brett Cutbush created an overlap giving No 8 Harrison Pickett space to crash over for the bonus point score.

Prop Jerone Awesu replaced hard-working Alex Mitchell and play continued.

Higgins' leg was troubling him so George Liversidge came off the bench and the backs were reshuffled.

Diss attacked Colchester's line but were repelled by effective tackling especially from Joe Flexman at inside centre and prop James Mitchell at the breakdowns.

A well-rehearsed move saw Wadling chip the ball over the Diss backline to Dave Brennan who put flanker Danny Whiteman over for a fine try.

Dan Brennan joined the fray at hooker shortly before half-time and there was to be no let up by the Blacks in the second half.

Cutbush, now at fly-half, intercepted a Diss pass and tore over the try line for a quick score.

Shortly after, Colchester won a lineout and the ball was swiftly moved to Dave Brennan who went over in the corner.

Colchester were now 43 points ahead, with their set pieces being efficient and effective.

Later Burman left the field with an injury and Hartley returned.

Liversidge crossed the line to score the eighth try and bring the score to the 50-point mark.

Receiving the ball from the restart Colchester set up a rolling maul before skipper Liam Pickett broke free only to be fouled.

Cutbush put the penalty kick deep into Diss territory and the ball was moved to Crozier, who claimed his second score.

In the last ten minutes of the game, the Blacks lost Hartley and Harrison Pickett who were both yellow carded, reducing them to 13.

Making use of their numerical advantage, the visitors moved the ball to their left wing who scored a consolation try but it was Colchester's day.