Aldeburgh v Colchester 5s
5th March – at Queen’s Field
Result: Aldeburgh 57 Colchester 10
Splendid way to end the season at home
This match demonstrated what we have suspected all season, that when Aldeburgh field a full squad they can more than hold their own with any team in this division. In the corresponding away fixture, Aldeburgh had been short of big forwards which had enabled Colchester to use their strength to drive through.
On Saturday, with a bigger, stronger Aldeburgh pack than previously, the big Colchester forwards were checked, allowing Aldeburgh’s running game to triumph.
The first try, scored by Aldeburgh after just 5 minutes, didn’t fit this narrative because Freddie Burgess, playing hooker, simply powered through the opposition tackles. Ed Robson converted.
Colchester dominated the set scrums (despite having a tight head prop aged 74, yes, seventy four) to the extent of gaining a penalty at the first scrum but they were not able to turn it into a points advantage. It did keep them in Aldeburgh’s half where their strong pack was able to apply continuous pressure for a while but Aldeburgh’s tackling and overall defence was resolute.
After 17 minutes, an excellent turnover gave quick ball to Jon Hunt, No 8, who, to add to his sidestep last week, threw a dummy this week, enabling him to make 20 metres before getting the ball to Tom Ridgeon (on the wing in his last match before moving away from the area) who made a further strong run. The ball eventually came to second row, Jarvis Levett, who powered over.
Although Aldeburgh were on top, Colchester’s strength and experience kept them in touch. As well as struggling to hold the set scrums, Aldeburgh were not winning any line outs until, on 26 minutes, Freddie threw a short ball to James Ledger, prop, at the front of the line who made straight for the try line from 20 metres out. No-one was going to stop him.
In the dying moments of the first half, Aldeburgh scored a couple of outstanding tries.
Turn over ball came to James Ledger who sold a dummy then made a storming run for 30 metres breaking several tackles. When he was brought down, the ball was quickly recycled to Jarvis Levett who got his second try. Having missed a couple of difficult conversions, Ed slotted this one for a 24-0 lead.
Two minutes later, from broken play just in the Aldeburgh half, the ball came to Freddie whose forward run positioned him with only the full back to beat. He signalled to his support player to be ready for the inside pass, dummied it and carried on to score under the posts with a Chris Ashtonesque swallow dive. Ed converted for an outstanding half time score of 31-0.
The second half continued in the same vein with Colchester holding their own to apply constant pressure until Aldeburgh broke away to score. After 10 minutes, from a turn over deep within the Aldeburgh half, Jed Gallant, having yet another reliable game at scrum half, put in a deep kick down the middle which was dropped. Aldeburgh’s chase was good, the ball was recovered and the final pass was to full back Stephen Anker. Ed kicked a conversion from wide.
A few minutes later, Ed made sure to make the conversion easier for himself by scoring under the posts from Tom Ridgeon’s pass. It didn’t work. He hit the post.
During the second half, there were multiple changes of personnel as the subs were given their chance, with changes of position and changes of loan players to Colchester (who had travelled to fulfil the fixture even though they were a player short).
The versatile Freddie may have by now been playing in the centre (where he definitely featured before the end) when he straightened up the running line. Quick ball was moved through the backs. Ed took an intelligent line to create space for Rupert Clogg on the wing who put in one of his elusive runs to score in the corner. Ed then converted from the touchline taking the score to 50-0.
Colchester’s persistence was finally rewarded after 20 minutes when they got the ball to their big No 13 who had enough space to get over in the corner. The try was not converted.
Colchester managed one more try from sheer forward pressure but Aldeburgh pursued their running game. A flowing back move came back into the forwards, Jon Hunt sold another dummy and went over under the posts. Ed converted giving him an impressive record on the day of 6 conversions out of 9 attempts.
The commitment and energy of both teams ensured an entertaining game for the good crowd of spectators, many of whom had enjoyed the VP lunch beforehand.