IT was Eagle’s turn to visit Holt House at the weekend. Colne have usually struggled with the Eagle’s strong running forwards but in recent weeks the All Blacks have really stepped up to mark and have been defensively strong.
From the kick off Colne had the best of the early exchanges but ended up three points down after just five minutes due to a series of penalties which the visitors used to gain ground.
Colne responded well and drove the ball upfield. Eagle were very good at the breakdown and managed to steal the ball off Colne but a fumble during clearance gave the All Blacks a scrum on the 5m mark, Colne pack were much more dominant in the scrum and the result was a Jordan Sunderland break who crashed over to put Colne in front.
Eagle soon came back on the offensive but great defensive work from Colne only left them with a penalty which was kicked to close the gap.
The All Blacks pushed hard and were rewarded with some good gains upfield. The forwards were retaining the ball and the backs looked dangerous on the offensive play. A great pop pass from Andrew Grinrod left Matty Tindall in space to out pace his marker and score again for Colne giving the All Blacks a 12-6 lead at the half.
The half-time talk rallied Colne to cutting out penalties and be more clinical at the breakdown. Colne responded well and came out of the blocks firing. Good pressure gave Colne a penalty on the half which was kicked to touch for a Colne line out. An excellent catch and drive saw Colne set up a rolling maul and again Jordan Sunderland was there to break and crash over for his second of the game.
Colne had the upper hand around the field but Eagle never make things easy for Colne. Excellent ball retention put Colne defending their own try line and the pressure told as they lost two men to sin bin for an infringement at the breakdown.
The resulting tap penalty saw Eagle cross over while Colne were still trying to reorganise the 13 men they had left. At this point the game could have been over for Colne as a two man overlap came at them, but Colne took it all in their stride as Eagle attacks fell flat against a strong home side defence.
After the sin bin was over and Colne were back to full strength the All Blacks went back on the offensive, again the pack worked hard and gave the backs space to run into and Tindall was put in space again to cross over for Colne’s forth.
The All Blacks were dominating scrum and new pairing of Jason Wade and Nathan Singleton at props really gave Colne the edge. A scrum just 10m. off Colne’s try line saw the Colne pack take the ball off Eagle, with the visitors on the back foot a great kick and chase from Callum Kinnane put pressure on the Eagle full back to clear his line, but Kinnane was there to punish the slightest mistake as the full back fumbled the ball and gifted Kinnane a try.
As the time was running out Colne just had to maintain the form to run out 30-13 victors, an excellent performance and a bonus point win.