Combe bounce back. Normal service resumed
Westcombe Park 36-14 Colchester
Combe bounced back after last week’s nightmare with a bonus point win against lowly Colchester. For the most part it was a convincing win, but Combe did not have all their own way: the visitors showed that they could play a bit, and torrential rain half way through put a dampener on proceedings. It had started so well - the sun was out, Ladies’ Day, Old Crocks lunch, festival!
The visitors got off to a poor start and were soon under pressure. A penalty shot from Frankie Neale missed, but shortly after he made amends, picking up a long pass from his out-half to go over for the first try to which he added the extras. 7-0. Combe were quickly back in the opposition twenty-two, set-up by a chip ahead from Reece Conlon. They threatened but were rocked back when Colchester’s scrum-half pinched an interception and showed a clean pair of heels all the way to the posts. An easy conversion for James Crozier.7-7. Combe were throwing it about, the party mood was catching. A lot of deft hands, Bradley Bateup
came close. Colchester were pegged back in the corner. Combe’s line-out drive, penalty, scrum, and Tommy Gray comes flying in off his wing on a short ball to score by the posts. Frankie Neale converts. 14-7. Tommy Gray had to go on the defensive at the other end as Colchester chipped through. The visitors tested Combe’s defence for a while, and having weathered that onslaught all then had to endure a downpour. Fortunately half-time was approaching with just time for Frankie Neale to knock over a penalty to take Combe to a 17-7 lead at the break. Half-time, everyone ran for shelter.
There was no let-up in the weather at the re-start. The ball was spilled, Combe took a while to clear their lines, and Colchester dropped their chances. Combe’s pack was on top and the line-out was working. A couple of penalties brought Combe up to the left corner. From the first drive, Shaun Dixon came close, then the next surge saw Mark Davey over in the corner. Barely five minutes later Combe were over for the fourth try and bonus point with Jamie Forsyth
touching down after another drive from a line-out. Frankie Neale added the conversion for 29-7. It’s still raining and there are thirty minutes on the clock. Colchester may have been down but were not out. Their turn to put Combe under some pressure back in their twenty-two. Penalty, drive, penalty, quick tap, the visitors were over for their second by the posts with Alex Rayment claiming the score. Conversion by James Crozier, 29-14. Shaun Dixon claimed the re-start and ran it back, a Combe penalty to the corner, Alban Edwards
came close, another penalty, but Colchester defended the drive. Colchester put-in but were shoved off it and Shaun Dixon picked up to plunge over by the posts. A straightforward conversion for Frankie Neale. Ten minutes to go, the rain is easing. Colchester are still lively, and with the game drawing to a close can still do the defensive stuff, as Shaun Dixon and Frankie Neale both are kept out. Final whistle, time to dry out.
This was Combe’s last home game of the league programme. Next week they travel to Southend Saxons who are fighting off the threat of relegation. Then it is Easter, then the last league fixture is Chichester away on 22nd April.
Westcombe Park XV: F. Neale; T. Gray, B. Saffery, A. Hitchcock, M. Roddick; B. Bateup, C. Edwards; R. Conlon, S. Perry, J. Forsyth, T. Clarke, M. Davey, L. Covington, S. Dixon, A. Campbell.
Subs: J. Stanford, D. Fox, A. Edwards.
Match reporter - Bruce Mackenzie. The