CANTERBURY 41 BROADSTREET 7
In the lead up to this game Head of Rugby Andy Pratt said he wanted the Marine Travel Ground to be a fortress where visiting teams knew they were in for a rough ride. He was also determined that his Canterbury side shed an unwanted reputation of being one half wonders.
This thumping National 2 South victory will have gone a long way to addressing both those demands with four of their seven tries coming in the second half.
It wasn’t perfect but there was still plenty to admire in the determination and vision of the city side as they built steadily and took control. That hard work included an impressive debut by Zimbabwean flanker Seb Roche who scored twice and earned himself the Man of the Match award.
Before they could contemplate victory, however, they had to counter the physicality of a Broadstreet team new to the league and making a first appearance at Canterbury
A flurry of early penalties and a handling mistake saw the visitors take the lead as they seized on the loose ball and turned it into a try for Number Eight Jack Gibbons, converted by Cliff Hodgson.
It took Canterbury five minutes to find a response but the way it was created underlined their greater eye for an opportunity and pace out wide,something that Broadstreet could not match. Dan Smart fielded Hodgson’s clearance kick, switched ball to the left and Harry Sayers made the running before sending Tom Best over for the try.
Best turned provider for the second score with a probing kick but it was the skill and opportunism of wing Kieran Thompson that delivered the points.
He leaped above his opposite number at the top of the bounce and stole away to the line.
By half time Canterbury had pushed the lead to twelve, thanks to two conversions from Ollie Best and a text book first phase move which saw JJ Murray make the break and Sayers finish off with the try.
The question now was whether Canterbury would sink into the second half torpor that has marred their first two league games. Not this time as they came out firing and scored twice in the first five minutes. Ollie Best punished Broadstreet’s defensive fault lines of with a pin point kick which Sayers collected to earn the bonus point. Charlie Kingsman got the fifth touchdown, converted by Best, after Broadstreet were stripped of possession and the game was up for the visitors.
When they did mount brief pressure Canterbury’s defence was tight and organised and they began to dominate in every area. The lineout, under the expert guidance of Matt Corker, did a magnificent demolition job, driving mauls had Broadstreet in disarray and they could only cling on. Gibbons was sin binned and Roche punished it with a pick up and powerful 40 metre run for try number six and in the closing minutes he was released by Jimmy Green’s delicate pass for his second.
There will be tougher days for Canterbury but in answering Andy Pratt’s call they made a positive statement,
Canterbury: C.Kingsman, K.Thompson, JJ Murraty,T.Best (repl F.Morgan), H.Sayers, (repl G.Hilton, O.Best, D.Smart,J.Green, S.Rogers, S.Kenny (repl T.Little), L.Whetton, M.Corker, M.Cantwell (repl L.Woodbridge), S.Roche, G.Micans (repl T.Rogers)
|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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