COLCHESTER Rugby Club made it two wins from two in London One North with a close-fought 17-15 victory over their nearest neighbours Sudbury at Raven Park, writes EDWARD MARRIAGE.

In truth, the razzamatazz surrounding Colchester’s first competitive match at their impressive new home on the town’s sports park will live longer in the memory than the action on the pitch.

A bumper crowd – estimated at more than 650 – included amongst their number the chairman of the British and Irish Lions Jason Leonard.

The England World Cup-winning prop is too diplomatic to have passed judgement on the second half of the match, which was to say the least underwhelming.

Colchester’s cause was not helped by the early loss of fly-half Dan Lewis with an ankle injury.

He was followed later by scrum-half Andy Dixon – making his first team debut – with a possible broken nose.

Director of rugby Anthony O’Riordan felt injuries played a part.

O'Riordan said: “We lose key players in the first 15/20 minutes of the game having looked dangerous from the outset and it destabalises.

"As much as we train for not having key players on the pitch you can’t prepare for it mentally until it happens.

“From this week we’ll grow bigger and stronger.

Before his departure, Lewis’s smart break created the first try, inside four minutes.

He fed Dave Brennan whose pass found Brett Cutbush for a run-in under the posts. After long injury treatment, Lewis converted the try.

With Colchester’s scrum dominant, Sudbury were short of possession early on but a rash of penalties conceded by the home side brought the visitors within kicking range and fly-half Chris Lewis – cousin of Colchester’s number ten – opened Sudbury’s account on 20 minutes.

From the restart, Colchester won a penalty which Cutbush kicked to the corner. Sudbury were caught off-side at the subsequent line-out and Cutbush kicked the penalty to make it 10-3.

Colchester had their second try on the half-hour, a quick tap penalty saw Dixon scoot in under the posts and Cutbush added the extras.

A yellow card reduced Sudbury to 14 but it didn’t stop them scoring their first try – another quick tap caught Colchester napping and Lewis was in under the posts. His conversion attempt rattled the upright.

Colchester led 17-8 at the break but that was the end of the scoring for the home side.

The less said about the second period the better, as the match descended into a horribly scrappy affair, both sides making errors, conceding penalties and a yellow card apiece.

Sudbury finished the stronger and deep into added time duly got their second try.

Scrum-half Sam Rust touched down after a succession of penalties on the Colchester line. Lewis converted and the visitors had a deserved losing bonus point.

“Two games in, we’ve secured a win at home, I’m relatively happy with that,” said O’Riordan. ”There’s just a lot to work on”.

Colchester go fourth in the league, one place above Amersham and Chiltern who Colchester visit on Saturday.