CANTERBURY 41 BARNSTAPLE 31
The wining habit continues for Canterbury as they extended their successful run to four games. It was a victory more comfortable than the ten point margin suggests as a last minute try gave Barnstaple the consolation of a losing bonus point
The city side outscored them by six tries to four and going into the last quarter with a 24-point lead seemed to have the game in their pockets. But a sin binning for skipper Max Cantwell proved costly as Barnstaple took full advantage to score twice and give themselves an outside chance. Order was restored when Canterbury were back to full strength and Dan Smart’s 72nd minute try banished the prospect of an unlikely upset.
After an untidy start they did the necessary groundwork playing against the wind in the first half and were nine points ahead at half time. After falling behind to a Jordan Petherbridge penalty goal the city back division, feeding off rock solid scrum and lineout possession, started to strut their stuff. In Harry Sayers and Kieran Thompson they have two predatory wings who jointly top the try scorers list and again made an impact. Sayers run and offload brought Canterbury’s first try, scored by JJ Murray, and Thompson’s finishing strength took his season’s tally to five in the 32nd minute. Sandwiched between those scores were a response from Barnstaple’s Navy flanker Jarred Hayler, converted by Petherbridge, and the city ‘s second touch down from Max Cantwell,. After a patient build up the skipper burst through two tackles to dot the bal down under the posts.
Ollie Best landed two conversions and was first on the scoreboard in the second half with a penalty goal before Canterbury underlined their supremacy with two tries in the space of four minutes. The first was a gift for replacement centre Will Farris as Barnstaple palmed a loose pass into his hands. The second came after Thompson chased down Tom Best’s kick and the ball was worked accurately to the opposite wing where Sayers had an easy run in.
Despite their flaws, dropping kicks under no pressure and conceding wasteful penalties, it all seemed straightforward until Cantwell’s yellow card. Petherbridge and Hayler made the city men pay with converted tries and there was work be done. Farris settled any nerves with a lovely break to send Smart over and leave Ollie Best to kick his fourth conversion.
Prop Danny Southworth, ploughing through some poor tackling, got the late score for the deserving visitors but it was not enough to halt Canterbury’s march up the league table.
Canterbury: C.Kingsman, K.Thompson, JJ Murray (repl W.Farris), T.Best, H.Sayers, O.Best, D.Smart, J.Green (repl A.Cooper), T.Rogers (repl J.Otto), S.Kenny (repl J.Green), R.Cadman, M.Corker (repl L.Whetton), S.Rogers, J.Rigby (repl V.Meredith), M.Cantwell
|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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