CANTERBURY 21 LONDON IRISH WILD GEESE 17
This was a welcome pick-up victory for Canterbury after their poor form of the previous week and although the final margin was narrow they were in control of the key areas.
The Irish earned a losing bonus point from the last move of the game, a reward for their persistence, but the city side already had the result safely in their pocket.
The only disappointment was their failure to put clear first half dominance to better use. A massive advantage at the set scrums pushed the visitors to the limit, but once again Canterbury were neither clinical nor witty enough to turn possession into a decisive lead.
They managed only two tries and having conceded a score in a rare Irish sortie were only 14-5 ahead at the break.
The Irish defenders can pat themselves on the back for their sterling work but Canterbury’s grip on the game should have produced better results than tries from Hugh McCormick-Huston and Tom Rogers.
Irish resisted the early pressure until the eleventh minute when the city side drove hard from a series of rucks and a quick- offload sent McCormick-Huston over by the posts. Tom Best converted.
It was all looking cosy for Canterbury until a penalty gave Wild Geese their first flight into attacking territory. A catch and drive and quick release to the backs saw wing Matt Killen slip into the line to make nonsense of the mid-field defence. The try went unconverted and Canterbury looked more than capable of shrugging it off as they went back on the offensive.
But it was not until late in the half that Irish folded when the penalties against them piled up and centre Sean Cunningham went to the sin bin. Canterbury drove hard from the back of a five metre scrum and Rogers was able to plant the ball against a post for the score.
It was a modest return for the great shift put in by the front row, led by a man of the match performance from Jim Green, but a third try eighteen minutes after the restart gave the city side a greater measure of control. It was the front row who again obliged.
The score might have come earlier when Best’s neat line break was frustrated by a marginally forward pass to the unmarked Guy Hilton, but a powerful catch drive from a lineout eventually did the trick and Sam Kenny made the touch down. Best added his third conversion, a good kick in greasy conditions, but at 21-5 the city side’s performance fell away. The old weakness at restarts did them no favours as Irish took over possession and twelve minutes from the end their pressure brought a yellow card for Royce Cadman, quickly punished by a try for scrum half Dan Grant-Adamson . It was Canterbury’s turn to put up some effective defensive barriers but the Irish kept playing and pursuing their consolation point. In the final minute a great run and finish by Killeen, plus Ollie Pete Hodgkinson's conversion, meant they did not leave empty handed.
Canterbury: A.Moss, G.Hilton, JJ Murray, W.Farris, K.Thompson,T.Best (repl W.Hilton), K.Braithwaite (repl D.Smart), J.Green, T.Rogers ( repl C.Townley), S.Kenny, R.Cadman, G.Edwards, S,.Rogers (repl M.Cantwell), H.McCormick-Huston (repl S.Rogers), G.Micans
|8||Bury St Edmunds||30||77|
|13||London Irish Wild Geese||30||57|
|W||7 Apr||London Irish Wild Geese||43-7|
|L||17 Feb||Bury St. Edmunds||26-46|
|L||10 Feb||Taunton Titans||12-21|
|W||13 Jan||Old Redcliffians||48-29|
|L||23 Dec||Tonbridge Juddians||19-22|
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