Tough day at the office...
...despite a lovely Spring day...
Shelford 7 Colchester 35
Try – Toby Pym
Conversion – Joe Davies
It was a lovely spring day as the Shelford boys warmed up in unfamiliar territory; this was only their third home fixture of the season; before taking on a tough challenge against the Eastern County champions of Colchester. The dry weather has certainly affected the pitches which were already hard but made for good flowing rugby.
The match started poorly for the boys and maybe they gave too much respect to their opponents as an early penalty for Colchester was taken quickly and they exploited the space out wide as Shelford were slow to get themselves organised and Colchester were able to run around the outside and score under the posts. Almost from the first piece of Shelford possession the Colchester backs were sharp off their line (possibly too sharp?) and a rushed pass went to ground and was picked up by a Colchester player who raced to the line to score under the posts. Again almost immediately a missed tackle in midfield allowed a strong running Colchester team the opportunity to break through the middle and again touch down under the posts. With only 10 minutes gone, Shelford were already 21:0 behind. Fortunately the boys finally started to play with near to the intensity required when up against such strong opposition. The scrum with a front row of Harry Grenville, Kieran Frost and Tyler Driscoll remained strong throughout the match (also when Arthur Gomm moved into prop in the second half) and put the Colchester set piece under pressure throughout. At last some good possession allowed the Shelford backs through Toby Pym and Owen Armitage to make dents in the Colchester back line and the second part of the first period had the Shelford forwards working hard to win the forward battle. Matt Saville Stones did some excellent work at a Colchester maul, holding the ball up and eventually ripping it from his opponent and driving at the Colchester back line. One last break by Colchester looked likely to result in a try before a superb tackle from Alex Milijic, coming across from the opposite wing, halted a charging Colchester back.
The second half started with Shelford having to make some tough tackles but Joe Davies, Alex Milijic and Edgar Watson were all up to the task. Harry Grenville had a driving run through the middle and Colchester were suddenly giving away a number of penalties in their defence. Charlie Yeneralski and Tait Remnant were working hard in the loose and Sean Keenan was making tackles and running with the ball at every opportunity. Unfortunately all the good work was undone as a breakaway try from Colchester extended their lead to 28 points. But once again Shelford put Colchester under pressure and a hurried kick was superbly caught by prop Arthur Gomm. The boys now had possession in the final third and the Colchester scrum was crumbling under the pressure exerted by the Shelford boys. It looked like their scrum half had knocked on at the back of the scrum and certainly most of the Shelford boys seemed to take their foot off the gas as a Colchester player ran the length of the pitch to score. Maybe the referee missed the knock on in as the Colchester scrum back peddled but a lesson could be learned that the boys need to play to the whistle. Again Shelford pressed forward and were awarded a penalty 10 metres out. Quick hands moved the ball to Toby Pym who managed to cross the line and at last get the score the Shelford second half display deserved. Joe Davies added the extras.
The final whistle was blown with the score 35:7 to Colchester. The boys will need to start with more focus in the future but their display for the rest of the game was good when considering how successful this Colchester team is. There are still things for the coaches to work on and Colchester were able to get men to the breakdown quicker than us and their on field communication was much more noticeable than our own.