COLCHESTER Rugby Club moved to within two points of promotion to English rugby's fourth tier with probably their most complete performance of the season as they stormed to a 66-7 win at Essex rivals Rochford, writes EDWARD MARRIAGE.

Their ten tries caught the eye, but just as significant was the resolute defence which kept the home side at bay until ten minutes from time.

Colchester now have two away matches and one at home to complete the job.

“One step at a time,” said the ever-cautious head coach Craig Burrows. “I do believe we’ll get the job done but for now we’ll just go back to training again and work hard.”

On a heavy pitch which held up pretty well, Colchester made a fast start.

Connor O’Reilly, back on the wing in the only change to the squad and lively throughout, latched on to Corey Button’s break for the first try inside three minutes.

Jayden Boshoff kicked the first of eight conversions, and it was his 50/22 which led to the second try, Francois Rossouw getting the final touch from a line-out drive for his 22nd of the season.

Rochford then enjoyed their best period of the match, but their repeated attacks came to nothing due to a combination of unforced errors and stout Colchester defence.

The visitors secured the bonus point just after the half hour.

First Matt Edison dived in from close range after patient work from a scrum, then Jacob Bodkin galloped over from 30 metres to make it 28-0, at the break.

Clinical in the first half, Colchester were ruthless in the second scoring six more tries.

Jonah Varela grabbed two of them with typically quick thinking and quick feet, Harrison Pickett found himself in space for his try and Danny Whiteman latched on to a Button break to bring up the half-century.


With Tahi Poasa, Dylan Read and Cam Kerr all coming off the bench, Rochford’s woes continued as Jimmy Mpailane scored number nine following O’Reilly’s searing break.

A quick tap penalty led to Rochford’s only try, much to the disgust of the Colchester players who were battling to keep a clean sheet.

No matter: the visitors soon had their tenth as Bodkin scored his second try after Read broke from a lineout.

“The outcome was outstanding today,” said Burrows. “We allowed in one try which came from a quick tap-and-go but other than that I’m really happy with our defensive effort.

“We won nearly every collision, and the guys were switched on. Very pleasing.”

Burrows had a special word for the forwards, who dominated from start to finish.

He said: “At half-time the backs were a little bit bored but we said today was a day for the pack and they really excelled.”

Button was named coach’s player-of-the-match, sponsored by the Lexden Crown, for a fine performance at scrumhalf.

Colchester now have another rest week before a long road trip to Oundle on March 16 (2pm kick-off), where they could seal the deal.

It was also a terrific day for Colchester seconds as The Ravens fought back from 12 points down to Shelford threes to win 48-19 and are now on the verge of promotion.

Colchester threes won 22-0 at Ipswich YM but the fours lost to Harwich and Dovercourt.

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