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1st XV - Match centre

Norwich Union
Colchester III
Sat 17 Feb 14:00 - Eastern Counties Greene King League - Greene King IPA Eastern Counties One Plate Full time

Union seal victory in the last play of the game

Being awarded a third penalty try of the game

Match Report: Gareth Davis

Union returned to league action with a visit from a Colchester side with a similar record to themselves. A tough encounter was expected with a contrast in styles where each sides strength was to be found. Playing a similar style to Norwich Medics and Fakenham, they had classy backs for sure, however, Union has an honest, solid hard-working pack that are a match for any.

Union started fast and from a dominant scrum the ball went through several phases before scrum half Lloyd Davis popped the ball up for fly half Matthew Cook to score near the posts, which went converted. Another try soon followed, the first of four penalty tries awarded in the game, following more strong phase play, soon followed by another penalty try for collapsing Union’s dominant scrum.

Colchester gained a foothold into the game as Union found themselves on the wrong side of the referee who penalised them repeatedly at the breakdown. Some were harsh as both Davis and the outstanding Jake Rodwell fell foul of the referee’s interpretation of the breakdown laws.

Colchester’s big centre narrowed the gap with the first of his three penalties, all of which were bang on to the posts. Union had established a 19-3 lead only to be pegged back, as they lost Davis and Tom Whipps to injury in quick succession, causing a loss of game shape and strategy.
Colchester's backs then hit a purple patch either side of half time as missed tackles and poor communication saw Union on the back foot for an hour. Not helped either as an interception pass then foul play saw Matt Spenceley spend 10 minutes in the sin bin. The visitors scored four unanswered tries with two converted putting Union on the ropes entering the last quarter.

Union were then helped entering the final 10 minutes as Colchester’s influential number 8 rolled his ankle and was replaced. The long delay gave Union an opportunity to regroup. Showing great character, Union capitalised on some poor discipline and gave themselves hope as another penalty try was given, after they collapsed a driving maul from the line out for the umpteenth time.
With the clock ticking away one final line out was repelled by Colchester but Union were awarded the scrum put in for the last play of the game. Union’s pack delivered again, and a backward pedalling Colchester pack led to the final penalty try to restore their lead as the final whistle blew.

After the game Coach Gareth Davis Praised Nick Roberts, who was on the bench to cover the front row and finished as full back for 20 minutes! He awarded joint man of the match to the returning Oli Ward and Steffan Harwood, who put in solid shifts, especially in our boiler room with the front 5 utterly dominant, led by the front row union of Captain Simon Pitcher, Ben Bon Webster and Chris Spenceley.

Lessons learned again though, fitness was a problem, and when we moved off plan and get out of the defensive line too slowly we are regularly hurt in the backs. This had been an improved area, alas the long break between meaningful fixtures didn't help us either. Training continues over the next two weeks before the away trip at Cottenham RFC. Returning players should give us the depth we need entering the next run of games.

Character and determination got us the result today lads, but improvements are needed. Great effort as we snatched the victory and the five points. Onto to the next one.

Team: Chris Spenceley, Ben Bond-Webster, Simon Pitcher, Matt Gyton, Steffan Harwood, Ryan Day, Jake Rodwell, Matt Spenceley, Lloyd Davis, Callum Slaughter, Tom Whipps, Daniel Norgate, Oli Ward, Graham Hunt Replacements: Nick Roberts, Shaun Lohan, Michael Shucksmith

Scorers: - Matthew Cook 1T, Ryan Day 1T, Ben Bond-Webster 1T, Lloyd Davis 1C, Penalty tries 3 men of the match Oli Ward and Steffan Hardwood

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League round up

Other Greene King IPA Eastern Counties One Plate results

Ipswich Magpies
Cottenham Renegades
Diss II (Saracens)


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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Norwich Union 10 43
2. Diss II (Saracens) 10 29
3. Colchester III 10 24
4. Cottenham Renegades 10 21
5. Ipswich Magpies 10 18
6. Cambridge Adventurers 10 17

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