COLCHESTER Rugby Club's perfect start to the season continued with a fifth successive bonus point win as Old Northamptonians were well beaten 36-10 at Raven Park, writes EDWARD MARRIAGE.

For the second match running, Colchester made a sluggish start, trailing by three points at half-time before going on to dominate the second half with 29 unanswered points to go six points clear at the top of the league.

In what was the team’S first senior meeting, Old Northamptonians started brightly and were ahead on ten minutes.

Joel Grayson, the son of England World Cup-winning fly-half Paul, intercepted to run 75 metres for a converted try.

Colchester were out of sorts in the first half. Despite having plenty of ball and making some promising line breaks they made problems for themselves with some wayward kicking and handling errors.


But they were level on 12 minutes as Jimmy Mpailane burst down the right, Chris Lewis taking it on before the ball was recycled to captain James Mitchell to bundle over. Jayden Boshoff converted.

The rest of the half was pretty scrappy. A back injury forced Corey Button off to be replaced by Yuki Takimura, the visitors turning round 10-7 up thanks to a late penalty.

Following some strong words from the coaches at the break, Colchester looked a different team in the second half.

Playing with a strengthening wind, within a minute of the restart Boshoff’s massive 50-22 kick led to a line-out close to the visitors’ line, Francois Rossouw getting the final touch from a rolling maul.


With Callum Jeffrey and Dylan Read on for Alex Mitchell and Harrison Pickett, Colchester continued to dominate in the set scrum and went further ahead approaching the hour as the unstoppable Rossouw scored his 11th try of the season.

Hamish Comonte, again a tower of strength in defence, stormed over for the bonus point after good work from Jonah Varela and Danny Whiteman. Boshoff converted to make it 24-10.

Minutes later, Whiteman scored from a rolling maul. Rossouw must have been otherwise engaged, but the hooker played a key part in the sixth try as he burst into the red zone, Read getting the final touch. Boshoff kicked his third conversion.

Gazette: The visitors laid siege to the Colchester line but the Blacks’ increasingly impressive defence held out.

“We were playing against ourselves,” said head coach Craig Burrows about the slow start. “It will be rectified. If we do that against stronger teams we will be chasing the game.”

But Burrows was delighted with the start to the campaign as the team heads into a fortnight’s break.

He said: “Five wins out of five is a really good place to be. The boys deserve a break because there are some sore bodies, a couple of injuries, then we’ll be ready to go again.”

Matt Edison was rewarded for another all-action performance with the player-of-the-match from sponsors Tavismanor, while the coach’s award, sponsored by The Lexden Crown, went to Chris Lewis.

The season resumes with a trip to Westcliff, on October 14.

The Ravens were awarded a five-point walkover win after their match against Sudbury was cancelled, the Suffolk side unable to raise a team.

Colchester Rugby Club: Mpailane, Bodkin, Comonte, Lewis, Varela, Boshoff, Button; A Mitchell, Rossouw, J Mitchell ©, Easton, Edison, O Pickett, Whiteman, H Pickett. Reps: Takimura, Read, Jeffery.