Sudbury Rugby Club coach Cameron Greenhall hails best display as leaders Colchester vanquished in derby at Whittome Field
Cameron Greenhall hailed his Sudbury players for delivering what he believes is the best performance since he arrived at Whittome Field following their 16-7 derby day success against runaway leaders Colchester.
Player-coach Greenhall’s penalty and drop-goal were added to by an unconverted Austin Beckett try for an 11-0 lead at the interval following a dominant half from the hosts in front of a bumper crowd in the last game before the Christmas break on Saturday.
Beckett added a second from a Greenhall crossfield kick before Colchester eventually replied through hooker Sam Butler’s try.
It was only the second time Colchester, under Sudbury’s former promotion-winning coach Craig Burrows, had lost this season in Regional 1 South East with a fifth straight win leaving the Blues third in the table and a point off second-placed Letchworth Garden City with a game in hand. The leaders have a 12-point buffer in the only promotion spot.
“The game before Christmas is always an important one to perform well in as it sticks with you because you obviously have three weeks off, so we’ve now got three weeks to keep remembering a brilliant performance,” said Greenhall, whose side avenged the 52-12 defeat at Raven Park on September 16.
“It feels great, we deserve this rest and I hope the lads take it as a rest and then we come back firing in the new year ready to try and get six in a row and keep building.”
The intensity of the display from the first whistle, where they set their stall out by catching their own kick-off, was what made it the best display he said he had seen from the players since he arrived in the summer of 2022.
“We showed a hell of a lot of passion,” he said.
"We were committed, driven and applied the most pressure I’ve seen us apply on an opposition, whether that was defending, through our kicking game adding territory, and the only time they got in our 22 in the first half was right at the end and we keep them out.”
He added: "We tried to start fast and go forward and luckily we did that.
"We caught our own kick-off which was brilliant way to start the game and then I just wanted to apply pressure, hence why I took a drop goal, just to get more points on the board.
"I just thought our game control was brilliant and we didn’t allow Colchester to get any sense of momentum or rhythm into the game.”
He also praised the performance of winger Austin Beckett with the home-grown former Northampton Saints Under-18s player marking his 100th Sudbury cap with both their tries.
He said: "It was great for him and he was brilliant, he is incredibly dangerous on the ball and we’re lucky to have him.”
Sudbury have won all five games – including a 31-13 home success over second-placed Letchworth – since Greenhall returned to the pitch following recovering from an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury, but he is far from taking the credit himself.
“We have managed and controlled games better,” he said.
“We’ve managed to play in the right areas and played on our terms.”
He added: “These last two weeks, Harpenden away (won 40-12) and Colchester, that’s two weeks’ of brilliant rugby so it’s come good at the end of 2023.”
Sudbury are due to return to action in Northamptonshire on January 6 at seventh-placed Oundle (2pm).