Sudbury Rugby Club coach Ben Scully reveals his pride despite defeat at Colchester in London 1 North
Another tough examination for Sudbury’s rugby side ended in defeat at promotion-chasing Colchester, but coach Ben Scully was full of praise for a battling display in dreadful weather conditions, writes Ken Watkins.
Scully had emphasised to the Free Press he wanted a performance from his injury-hit side.
“I’m extremely proud of the boys,” he said, following the 38-3 derby loss on Saturday, which was the club’s last game of 2018.
“We always knew that it would be tough coming down here and getting anything out of the game.
“The first 30 minutes we were outstanding. Colchester are a very good team and they play to their strengths. They’ve got big powerful runners who make metres in the carry. And in the tight game they were always in control of the gain line.
“But I thought we contained them and we scrambled well, and our defence was pretty disciplined. Just a shame that a couple of lapses cost us dearly. We were two mistakes off going in at 7-3.
“Second half, the first passage of play, we kept the ball for four minutes, made 80 yards playing fantastic catch and pass rugby. Shame we knocked on right on the line.”
Costly errors left him reflecting on a harsh scoreline, but Scully was pleased Sudbury kept battling, especially in the second half when they were playing into a fierce wind and driving rain.
“They never dropped their heads,” he said. “It was tough, the boys have come in frozen and physically shaking.”
He paid tribute to Colchester. “Probably other than Rochford it’s the best pack in the league by a mile. That’s their strength. They want to beat people up front. They want to carry direct.
“Their game plan is about winning the gain line, getting into a set piece and dominating you in the set piece. We knew that was coming. I thought our pack was extremely brave today in a very tough game.”
The players are now off until January 3, when they will return to training prior to the home game against promotion-chasing North Walsham two days later.
“We had five players out today with injuries. The boys can all rest, but I’ll give them a bit of homework to keep them ticking over. We’ll have to do a quick top-up on January 3 on our game plan and what we have to do going into another tough game,” said Scully.
Sudbury knew they faced an uphill task at second-placed Colchester. Short-handed, it was necessary to call one of the players from his sick bed to make up the team.
Sudbury kicked off with the strong wind and freezing drizzle and for the first 10 minutes matched Colchester play for play.
Tom Summers converted a penalty 12 metres into home territory to give the visitors the lead before giving Tom Summers the chance for Sudbury to take the lead.
Colchester used the short game in the worsening conditions to pick and drive up the field from the restart and Whiteman eventually crossed the Sudbury line from 15 minutes in.
Sudbury defended well and at times put the home side under pressure, forcing them to give away penalties. A second long distance penalty was missed by the Blues and Colchester were not dominating the game by any means.
Late in the half the hosts put together a good move from deep in their own 22 and used their backs to run the length of the field to score, Mitchel claiming the points.
Sudbury started the second half well and one of their best passages of play all game was thwarted for holding on in the red zone.
Colchester took advantage of this taking play back into the Sudbury 22 where they maintained territorial advantage. Only some sterling defence from Sudbury kept the try count down.
Colchester were happy to scrum all afternoon in the 22 as Sudbury battled in the driving rain until the referee called time five minutes early, much to the delight of both the players and supporters.
Colchester were more aggressive at the breakdowns and used their big pack to advantage but Sudbury defended well and proved they are not going to give up without a fight.
l Meanwhile, Scully confirmed Frazer Beckett, who suffered a broken wrist at the start of the season, is expected to resume full training next month but they will be without Will Ponty in the new year as he plays the rest of his season in Australia.