DIVISION TWO SOUTH
Halstead Templars 74
Colchester IV 0
Second-placed Colchester felt the backlash of Halstead’s big cup defeat as the Templars racked up their biggest win of the season to secure the league title and promotion.
Running in 11 unanswered tries, the game at the Courtald Sports Ground was over as a contest by half-time.
Colchester, who could have still taken the title themselves, could not have got off to a worse start.
Conceding a scrum from the kick-off, Halstead won it and moved the ball quickly out to Sam Edwards who fed back inside to leading try-scorer Matt Harwood to cross for the first of his three tries. With a simple Edwards conversion, the Templars led 7-0 with just five minutes on the clock.
Unbelievably, Colchester repeated the kick-off. Scrum-half Liam Surgett darted up the blindside of the scrum.
This time Edwards again beat his man and with one to beat passed back inside to Ed Merry, who cantered over the line for Halstead’s second. Edwards again with the conversion for 14-0.
For the third, Surgett combined with fly-half Josh Donaldson who in turn quickly got the ball out to Sam Forrest to finish on the right wing, with Edwards converting.
Halstead had time for one final foray into the Colchester half and they took it with aplomb. Donaldson found Harwood with only one man to beat and he went under the posts for the bonus-point try, with the conversion making the half-time scoreline 28-0.
A disrupted Colchester lineout on their own five metre line allowed skipper Adrian Illingworth to gather and crash through from close range before Colchester conceded a penalty in front of their posts and Illingworth opted for the kick at goal which Jack Pawsey accepted for 36-0.
Try number five came from a training ground move, Brett Ballard ran a hard line in towards the defenders, holding them in position, while Donaldson passed behind him to Pawsey who crashed through the remaining line for an easy score, unconverted.
The sixth try came from Surgett, quickly finding Merry racing up the right wing.
He drew his man before passing out to Forrest who made up good ground to sprint into the corner for his second, again, with the conversion kick missing.
Colchester had no time to rest and this time it was Pawsey who turned provider when the ball was shifted out to Harwood who crossed the line for his hat-trick. Pawsey made no mistake with adding the extras for 53-0 with 10 minutes to play.
The first of the final three tries started with Surgett breaking the line before passing back inside to the supporting Merry who threw a blind pass into the path of Edwards before he cantered over unopposed from 40 metres out before converting his own try.
The second saw Surgett offload to Edwards early on who in turn drew the final man before passing to Pawsey, who raced away to score before converting his own try.
The final try, on the stroke of full-time, saw some exceptional handling in the forwards before Edwards returned the favour and passed to Merry who stepped inside the full-back before racing away for his second with Ballard converting with the final kick.
With two games remaining, at Felixstowe on Saturday and then at Hadleigh, the Templars cannot be caught unless they fail to fulfil a fixture. A very unlikely occurrence.