Cambridge U16s frustrating performance yields win against Colchester
Forwards lack aggression and pace to dominate home win
This was a game that Cambridge should have dominated throughout but instead it was a frustrating lacklustre performance interjected with the occasional passage of promising play. For a team that has steadily grow into a cohesive unit as the season has progressed it's inconceivable that this display could be simply blamed on the availability of players or the patches of mud on the pitch.
At points Cambridge's ability to finish attacking moves bordered on comedic and in parts of the first half the closer they got to the whitewash the more likely they were to lose the ball. As if that were not frustrating enough, the Cambridge forwards’ hesitancy and poor technique at the ruck let Colchester take control of passages of play and their lack of speed off the defensive line gave the visitors an unnecessary advantage. Time after time the lonely figure of Kayde Sylvester shot out of the defensive red line to engage the opposition while team mates stood rocking back on their heels. Yes, Cambridge’s tackling had improved from their Shelford encounter, but the ‘come and run at me ’ approach to defending by Cambridge players continually gifts opposition teams those extra metres over the gain line.
From the whistle Cambridge let the visitors push them back on their try line and with the presence of mind they could have scored the first try by getting the ball out wide instead of pounding the gain line. However, it was the hosts who started to build an unassailable lead, first with a characteristic sideways run around the defensive line by Aaron Rooker culminating in a sharp offload to Joe Magrath to score in the corner for the first of several tries. A tidy line-out on the Colchester 22 released the ball for Kayde Sylvester to hand-off several defenders for his first try, something he repeated a few minutes later.
Richie Ellingham continued his form with the boot finishing with four out of six conversions and in the second half George and Joe Magrath added to the Cambridge tally with tries resulting from some nice pivot moves between the backs. Colchester replied with a deserved try in the corner and the final score was 38 to 5 in favour of the hosts.
JP Schofield and Ben Walwork made up the numbers for a depleated Colchester team and for the first time Ollie Haxton took the full back position for Cambridge and made it his own. His reliable handling of the aerial ball, aggressive tackling, bursts of pace and enthralling footwork to beat several opposition players at once was a joy to watch. Although he was rewarded with just one try he’d certainly be my outstanding man of the match.
Thanks to Colchester for travelling all the way to the game, good luck for the remainder of the season and see you again at Colts next season.