COLCHESTER Rugby Club claimed a vital 22-7 bonus point win at old rivals Eton Manor to boost their London One North promotion chances, writes STEVE WHITEMAN.

The Blacks scored four tries to their hosts' one on Eton Manor's all-weather pitch in sunny, but breezy conditions.

Colchester are now third in the league, with only Southend left to play at Raven Park, on April 23.

Colchester Senior Rugby chairman Jon Smith said: “There were so many injuries during the game that there was little continuity in the play but the Blacks’ defence was probably the best this season.”

The injury count was very high for both sides, with many players having to leave the field of play to be replaced, albeit temporarily, from both benches.

The worst news for Colchester was permanently losing flanker Oly Pickett with a damaged Achilles tendon, a notorious injury that often takes months to heal.

Colchester were quick off the mark after their kick-off; flanker Sam Easton soon regained possession, the ball was moved quickly left for winger Conor O’Reilly to score an unconverted try after only two minutes.

Back came Manor but try as they may they could not get through the Blacks’ defence despite being in the visitors’ red zone several times.


Their big pack were more than a match for Colchester’s but their backs’ passing was faulty and pressure from the visitors caused them to lose the ball frequently.

In one such incident, Colchester man of the match centre George Liversidge hacked a dropped ball back into Manor’s half and right wing Joe Flexman burst over the line for a fine converted try.

Scrum-half Dave Tonge marshalled his backs efficiently and never held back from getting involved.

Later an attack started by substitute Alex Gerard resulted in Flexman touching down again; fly-half Harry Bureau was unlucky to see his conversion attempt rebound off a post.

The half-time score after 50 minutes was 17-0 to Colchester and skipper Danny Whiteman urged the team to keep up the momentum, despite all the disruptions.


However, for most of the second half this physical battle was fairly even, with the play shifting from one end to the other.

Eton Manor scored when their nippy right wing intercepted a pass and ran the length of the field, to score a converted try.

This setback seemed to galvanise Colchester and subsequently they lay siege to Manor’s line desperate for that fourth bonus point try.

After what seemed a long wait for their supporters the ball was moved through slick hands to Flexman, who cut through the tiring defence to touch down in the corner and complete his impressive hat-trick.

Colchester supporters were jubilant with the bonus point victory and look forward to the final game of the season against Southend at Raven Park on April 23rd at 3pm - all supporters welcome.

Colchester RC: McMillan, Thorogood, J.Mitchell, Miller, Burman, Easton, Whiteman, H. Pickett, Tonge, Bureau, O’Reilly, Thomas, Liversidge, Flexman, Varela, O. Pickett, Gerard, Skinner.