By Steve Whiteman


London League division one north

DESPITE fielding a much rearranged team, Colchester came up trumps against a spirited Old Priorians side at their Wanstead ground, winning by ten tries and a penalty to the hosts' three tries and two penalties.

Such was the brilliance of their start to the game, the Blacks claimed a four-try bonus point after only 20 minutes.

Led by number eight Brock Price, who went on to claim a hat-trick, their pack dominated the many scrums and few line-outs while their backs made good use of plenty of possession with wings James Crozier and Harry Barton leading the onslaught with a brace of tries each.

With several regular players unavailable due to illness and injury, Tom Dufficy moved from the centre to the back row, Matt Wadling took the full-back position.

Hooker Dan Hexley, lock Rory Miller and wing Jordan Milburn came up from the seconds to make up the bench, with all performing well when they joined the action.

OPs kicked off with a following wind and soon claimed a successful penalty but, unlike in previous games, Colchester came back from the restart to play dominantly for the next 15 minutes.

Following a scrum, they piled over in the corner for prop James Mitchell to score.

Fly-half David Higgins couldn't add the extras against the wind but went on in the game to convert seven of the ten tries, being particularly accurate with all five attempts in the second half.

After ten minutes, Barton scored following good work by man-of-the-match Dufficy and hooker Dan Brennan, who penetrated the OP defence by several metres.

Barton was also involved in the next score when he ran 30 metres before off-loading to centre Kevin Tavainavesi to touch down and bring the score to 17-3.

Colchester kept up the pressure from the restart and grubber kicks from both Higgins and lock George Liversidge saw them advance towards OPs' line for Crozier to pick up and charge forward before feeding Price to score the fourth bonus-point try.

Shocked into action being 22-3 down after such a short time, OPs came back at the visitors.

They won a scrum on Colchester's 22 and moved the ball to their inside centre who cut through the defence to score.

Soon after, they added a penalty but Colchester had the final word in the first half when they pushed the OP pack back over their line for Price to claim his second try.

Turning round with the wind behind them Colchester were now brimming with confidence and during the next 40 minutes claimed five tries by, in turn, Barton, centre Damien Brambley, Crozier, Price and substitute Milburn plus a Higgins penalty. In reply OPs could only manage a couple of tries and a couple of penalties making the final score 67-23 at full-time.

This excellent performance by the Blacks is invaluable preparation for their next match at home to third-placed North Walsham on Saturday.