COLCHESTER Rugby Club suffered their first defeat of the season after losing 33-28 at Amersham and Chiltern on an afternoon when just about nothing went to plan for the Blacks, writes EDWARD MARRIAGE.

Arriving in Buckinghamshire with a much-changed team due to a combination of injuries and unavailability, the London One North match was something of humdinger, with eight tries and the result in doubt to the final whistle.

Discipline was again an issue, with Colchester’s players repeatedly finding themselves on the wrong side of a fastidious referee, four yellow cards not helping their cause.

It was a point not lost on manager Jon Smith: “We’ve spent probably 70 per cent of that game with either 14 or 13 players on the pitch and at this level you can’t do that.

“We need to be a bit more savvy and see the way the way the referee is going. The game management has to kick in."

Amersham were 10-0 up inside the first quarter, Noah Jarvis kicking a penalty and converting Dave Francis’ try.

Colchester replied with two quick-fire tries. A series of rucks ended with lock Rory Miller scoring his first try for the senior team, James Crozier converting.

Three minutes later, Colchester went 14-10 ahead when an Amersham line-out deep in Colchester territory went astray and from the resulting scrum Harrison Pickett broke to feed Joe Flexman who was unstoppable down the right wing. Crozier added the touch-line conversion.

By now Colchester’s scrum was dominant but needless penalties spoiled the good work.

Fly-half George Liversidge was sent to the bin for a high tackle, Adam Thomas following soon afterwards for coming in at the side.

Down to 13 men, Colchester couldn’t hold out and Amersham duly scored either side of the interval to establish a lead they would not relinquish.

Credit to the visitors, they continued to battle and prop Jerone Awesu scored Colchester’s third try seven minutes into the second half after good direct running by forwards and backs, Crozier adding the conversion.

Injured in the act of scoring, Awesu was replaced by Alex Gerrard, making his first team debut, but moments later Thomas received a second yellow card for what was adjudged to be an illegal tackle, so ending his match.

There was time for another debut, for utility back Faysal Olabooye, but Colchester were reduced to 13 for the second time when Crozier was binned for off-side.

Again, the numerical advantage told, Amersham scoring their fourth try through Joe Batt, but Colchester refused to lie down, forward pressure leading to Sam Easton’s try which secured two bonus points and set up a thrilling climax.

Colchester laid siege to the Amersham line, the home side conceding numerous penalties, but a knock-on left Smith ruing what would have been the unlikeliest of victories.

He added: “We could have just nicked that. The lads gave everything to the last second. We could have easily got a penalty try towards the end.”

Colchester drop to fifth in the league with table-toppers Shelford the visitors to Raven Park on Saturday.