BISHOP’S STORTFORD 46 CANTERBURY 30
A much improved Canterbury came away with plenty of credit but nothing else from this free flowing, high tempo game. Their performance was not quite good enough to upset the league leaders but there were strong hints of a return to form. The disappointment was the city side’s failure to win the bonus point their efforts deserved
It was there for the taking as the pack dominated the late stages but, once again, they were not clinical enough when it mattered.
Canterbury gave notice of their competitive intent with an early try scored by Guy Hilton after Aiden Moss’s clever footwork opened up the space.
Stortford got an equaliser after smart work by their half backs made a try for Nick Hankin but by the end of the first quarter the city side were ahead again as Will Hilton added a long range penalty goal to his earlier conversion.
It was the next 20 minutes that saw Stortford forge ahead with two tries in the space of two minutes from centre Johnny Neville and full back Will Simmonds. Both came from slick hands and use of the inside pass which Canterbury failed to read. Scrum half Tom Banks then won his side a bonus point with the fourth touchdown before the penny finally dropped and the city defence tightened up. Will Hilton’s second penalty goal cut into the lead but a confident Stortford were not done yet. Despite a yellow card for lock Jon George, they grabbed a fifth try when Jimmy Rea wrestled his way over. With Banks adding two conversions a complete takeover was looming , until a piece of individual skill from the younger Hilton, Guy, hauled the city side back from the brink. .
The move was laboured before the wingman spurted out of the blocks and chased down his own grubber kick to leave brother Will an easy conversion and his side with a manageable nine-point deficit at the break.
There was no shortage of determination in a second half where battling Canterbury enjoyed most of the territory and took charge of the forward exchanges. But they still came off second best on the scoreboard. A bad defensive lapse allowed Jon George to stride through and around too many tackles before Matt Tomlinson scored and Banks converted.
It was now a long haul but the city side, showing heart and skill, once again got back to within nine points. Hilton and Banks exchanged penalty goals before crushing pressure on the Stortford scum won Canterbury a penalty try, converted by Hilton, and fresh incentive.
Stortford, however, showed how to make the most of a limited opportunity and a lovely offload at an attacking lineout gave Neville his second try. It was a lesson the city side failed to absorb.
The rest of the match was all about their search for that precious bonus point, but they could not convert continuous forward pressure into something tangible.
Canterbury: A.Moss (repl K .Braithwaite), G.Hilton, J.Jones (repl F.Morgan), W.Farris, K.Thompson, W.Hilton, D.Smart, J.Green (repl A.Cooper), S.Rogers, (repl C.Townley), S.Kenny, R.Cadman, T.Burns, M.Cantwell, H. McCormick-Huston, 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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