COLCHESTER Rugby Club staged yet another extraordinary comeback to secure a maximum points victory - and for the second week running put their supporters through the wringer, writes EDWARD MARRIAGE.

Old Northamptonians led until five minutes from the end, three late tries ultimately clinching a 27-40 win as Colchester stay 14 points clear at the top of Regional 1 South East.

It was a performance of real grit from The Blacks, who increasingly find ways to win when their backs are against the wall. A rock-solid line-out certainly helped their cause.

Head coach Craig Burrows was delighted with the win but concerned about the slow start.

He said: “It’s a massive work-on for us to get going from the kick-off. But there is a special bunch of people in this squad.

“Good teams find a way to win.”


Of the turnaround at the end, Burrows said: “Towards the last 15-20 minutes of the game we livened up, we had more patience in their 22. That’s all part of our game plan.”

Colchester opted to play up the slope in the first half and not for the first time made a sluggish start.

The hosts ran in converted tries through Joe Heslop and Joel Grayson, Colchester barely having a touch in the opening ten minutes.

Colchester finally got on the board as Will Blakemore crossed for his debut try from a line-out maul after which the match entered a scrappy period, the Blacks increasingly dominating territory and possession but Old Northamptonians’ defence holding firm.

From a line-out on half-way, the ball went down the line to Jimmy Mpailane, starting on the wing with Jayden Boshoff at full-back, and he belted 52 metres down the right touchline to score, Boshoff converting to make it 14-12.


Old Northamptonians hit straight back through Josh Bull’s try, but Colchester stayed in touch thanks to a lovely move; the ball kept alive through multiple phases before Jacob Bodkin crossed in the left corner. Boshoff’s conversion made it 21-19 at the break.

The third quarter was an even affair, both teams having chances but it was the hosts who extended their lead through two penalties.

With Tahi Poasa on for Joe McMillan and Harrison Pickett, back after an extended break, replacing Cam Kerr, Colchester kept plugging away and when Old Northamptonians were reduced to 14 players for repeated penalties the visitors seized their chance.

First Danny Whiteman scored from a maul to make it 27-26 and Colchester finally got their noses in front on 75 minutes as Blakemore was involved three times in a patient build-up before crossing for his second try.

Mpailane made sure of the win as he burst through from 22 metres out for his second and Colchester’s sixth to break Old Northamptonian hearts.

Boshoff converted to take his tally to ten points for the day.

Blakemore won the coach’s player-of-the-match award, sponsored by The Lexden Crown, for a tireless performance, and Burrows also singled out the returning Harrison Pickett and fly-half Chris Lewis.

Next up for Colchester is Saturday’s rearranged match at Tring (kick-off 2pm).

The Ravens stayed top of their league with a 29-14 home win against Woodbridge while the threes were awarded a walkover after Mersea conceded, and the fours lost to Mistley.

Colchester: Boshoff, Mpailane, Bodkin, Blakemore, Varela, Lewis, Button; McMillan, Rossouw, Mitchell ©, Easton, Edison, O Pickett, Kerr, Whiteman. Reps: Poasa, H Pickett, Liversidge.