Transformed display by Sudbury in narrow derby loss at Colchester
Sudbury travelled to near neighbours Colchester on Saturday expecting a tough test as Colchester had narrowly missed promotion last year and the Blues had not started this season well, writes Don Reekie.
A good talking to by Neil Dachtler on Tuesday prompted a transformation in the side that resulted in an infinitely better performance this week which resulted in a narrow defeat.
Colchester kicked off in perfect conditions and Sudbury knocked on with their first touch of the ball.
Sudbury composed themselves and worked their way out of their half and was awarded a penalty six metres into home ground. They opted to kick but narrowly missed.
The Blues maintained the pressure on their hosts, in what was the first time they had come up against former coach Ben Scully since he made the move over at the end of last season, and missed a second penalty taken from the half way line.
Colchester scored after 22 minutes of play with their first real attack on the visitors' line.
But Sudbury were soon back on the attack and causing problems to the home side pack at the scrums despite their weight advantage, their front row was put under severe pressure.
Just before half-time Sudbury squandered another penalty kick but had acquitted themselves well during the half.
Colchester increased their lead with an early penalty but the game was still anybody's.
Sudbury had the best of the first five minutes but Colchester managed to break and cross the paintwork only to be pulled back by the referee for a forward pass.
Both teams played attractive open rugby with some fierce tackling with attack and counter attack and Austin Beckett eventually broke for the blues avoiding three defenders to score after thirty minutes of the second half but with no conversion.
Sudbury continued to put on a stellar display with the pack dominating the scrum all game and keeping the defence tight which prevented Colchester running up a big score.
Not a win but a good afternoon's work by Sudbury.
* See this Thursday's Free Press for reaction from head coach Neil Dachtler and a preview to Saturday's home game.