THURROCK 36 v 13 COLCHESTER
THURROCK welcomed league leaders Colchester to Oakfield on yet another cloud free day and the rugby produced was of the top order from both sides. Although Thurrock from the start the team that looked the most likely, this was without doubt the most complete performance for many years. It was a truly outstanding effort from all the players involved and sent a large amount of heartfelt pride to the management team to see the team hit its peak for the first time. The opening weeks have seen glimpses of what was to come, but at last the whole of the jigsaw come together. The forwards were magnificent all afternoon Aston Bevans-Royston back from to 2 weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury to the fore with rampaging runs from the big prop and great work around the fringes by all the forwards. It was there tenacity that led to the first scoring opportunities with Mike Stanley converting two penalties before Colchester fly half Chris Withers slotted a penalty and then missed one, Thurrock to lead narrowly 6-3 after the opening exchanges.
Thurrock took the game to Colchester who defended stoutly although the way Thurrock were playing it was only a matter of time to see them add to the score sheet. It all stemmed from the forwards again making yards down the middle of the park the ball was spun and the gap opened for Mike Stanley to score wide of the posts, his conversion was wide. The game continued in the same pattern and aggressive counter rucking turned possession over and quick hands and direct running gave Darryl Worster the chance to score close to the posts, however Stanley missed the conversion, but on the stroke of half time added his 3rd penalty to extend the home side lead to 19-3
Thurrock believed the visitors would re-group and come back strong after the break, it was at this point they had their best spell of the game, with their back row Pickett and Jones prominent and involved in most of their attacking options. Withers added his second penalty for the visitors but a piece of individual brilliance from Mike Stanley see him add his second try with a sublime chip over the top which he caught himself and scored under the posts, he then added the conversion to again extend the Thurrock lead. Colchester responded with a try from a five yard scrum, no8 Jones picking up from the base and crashing over, Withers added the conversion.
Any thoughts of a Colchester comeback were quickly dispelled as Stanley added his 4th penalty to extend the lead to 16 points. The closing ten minutes was a feisty affair and culminated in a bit of a brawl which ended in a yellow card for Seb Rate. This however focused Thurrock’s attention back to the rugby and a mazy run from Josh Cook followed by a typical Earl Gorman strong run managed to get the ball to former Colchester player Nick Cooper-Hicks who still had a lot of work to do, with 10 metres from the line but his strength took him over to score a bonus point try to add icing on the cake, Stanley kicked the conversion which was the action of the game.
The hard part for Thurrock now is to maintain this form for the rest of the season starting with a visit to Rochford this Saturday.
TEAM: Worster, Boshell, B.Stanley (Gorman 66m), M.Stanley, Farrell, Rudgeley, Cook, North, Murphy, Bevans-Royston (S,Rate 58m), Loka, Cooper-Hicks, Kyle Tucker, Timson (Russo 68m), Rettigan