OLD REDCLIFFIANS 24 CANTERBURY 34
A third consecutive victory lifted Canterbury to fifth spot in the early season National 2 South table. Five tries earned them a bonus point but had they maximised their chances life would have been much easier in a tight second half which, because of injury stoppages, stretched to more then ten minutes of added time.
Will Farris’s late try sealed the win after a messy forty minutes which saw the city side collect three yellow cards, battle to stay afloat when down to thirteen men and lose Number Eight Seb Roche to a serious shoulder injury.
League newcomers Old Redcliffians, a team without a win, came back into contention, forcing a penalty try against a depleted scrum and, in the last move of the game, claimed their first league point with a fourth try by wing Henry Bird.
Canterbury had their own bonus wrapped up by half time thanks to a hat trick of tries from wing Kieran Thompson and another by Ollie Best.
Thompson opened the scoring after a catch and drive sucked in Old Reds defenders and the ball was spun wide. But if the city side’s superior attacking potential was clear their defensive work lagged some way behind. Too many players fell off tackles and that gave the home side opportunities to counter effectively. A break down the wing and then a solid catch and drive brought two tries for former Worthing flanker Sam Hewick and, with an Alex Harvey conversion, Canterbury dropped seven points behind.
They regained control thanks to a hard working pack, and more crisp handling in the backs sent Thompson across for his second. Ollie Best nipped through a gap for the third and an overlap was worked for Thompson to complete his hat trick. With a couple of Best conversions it was 24-12 at half time but Canterbury faced, literally, an uphill task after the break. They climbed the Redcliffian slope successfully early on and should have made better use of their territory. When that did not happen and the yellow cards began to fly, two to Old Reds as well as Canterbury’s trio, the game broke up. Old Reds penalty try narrowed the gap to five points, but Canterbury now earned top marks for their resilience in a difficult period.
They resisted all the heavy pressure and found their attacking instincts again. It won them a penalty, which Best converted, and they soon set up camp on the home line. It was replacement centre Farris who took a short pass to crash over, leaving Best an easy conversion and ensuring that victory went to the more accomplished side.
Canterbury: C.Kingsman, K.Thompson, JJ Murray, T.Best (repl W.Farris), H.Sayers, O.Best, D.Smart, J.Green (repl T.Little), T.Rogers, S.Kenny (repl A.Cooper), L.Whetton (repl R.Cadman), M.Cantwell (repl S.Clark), S.Rogers, S.Roche
|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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