CANTERBURY 48 CS RUGBY 1863 5
This was the late, late show at Canterbury. A delayed start after the CS Rugby team bus broke down on the way to the game, an unconvincing first half from the new National 3 South champions, then a burst of six tries which swept them to victory.
The season's biggest crowd came to see Canterbury put on a star perfomance in this last home league game and, although they were made to wait, they were not disappointed.
In the first forty minutes, when the highly competitive visitors took an early lead, a city side plagued by poor handling and slack passing had to fight their way out of several tight corners.
James Gillett scored a second minute try for CS Rugby and they were pressing for another when Canterbury hit more trouble with a sin binning for prop Jim Green
Somehow the city team survived and, against the odds, registered their first points from a Martyn Beaumont penalty goal while Green was still serving time.
Having got over those initial traumas, Canterbury began to establish a foothold but could make little of it as the errors persisted and CS Rugby's defenders proved unwilling to make life easy.
A brief hint of better times came with a good try in the 21st minute. The backs moved the ball smartly and a switch pass in mid-field put Ricky Mackintosh over by the posts for Beaumont to convert. That, however, was it and a five point lead at half time was not what the crowd expected or had come to see.
However, not even the optimists among them could have predicted the turn of events in the second half. The surge from a newly focused Canterbury started five minutes in as they pounced on a mistake and good work by centres Juan Del Val and Paul Brown opened the way for Tom Best to score and Beaumont to convert.
CS Rugby, still dangerous when in possession, responded with pressure of their own but came away empty handed and started to fade against Canterbury's pace and strength
Two tries in the space of two minutes, both from deep positions, then transformed the game. The first was a superb individual run by outstanding flanker Max Cantwell. From the restart Wim Baars powered through a huge gap, found Peter Kelly on his shoulder to take the scoring pass and the city side had made their winning statement.
With the pack taking charge of the set scrums, cleaning up at the lineouts and eating the yards through driving mauls the cracks in the CS ranks were opening up.
Even a second yellow card, this time for Mackintosh, failed to halt the momentum which produced 19 points in the final ten minutes.
Brown's superb break set up a try for Dave Marshall; Beaumont, who kicked five conversions, showed real pace to go 60 metres round the outside of the defence and Mackintosh returned from the sin bin in time to complete the set. It was time to party.
Canterbury: M.Beaumont, R.Mackintosh, J.Del Val, P.Brown, N.Van Mol (repl O.Fussell), T.Best, D.Marshall, J.Green, S.Rogers (repl T.Rogers), S.Goode (repl M.Pinnick), B.Massey, C.Hinkins, M.Cantwell, P.Kelly, W.Baars.
|11||Bury St Edmunds||29||59|
|13||London Irish Wild Geese||29||51|
|W||22 Apr||Bury St. Edmunds||14-13|
|L||25 Feb||Bishop's Stortford||30-46|
|W||11 Feb||London Irish WG||21-17|
|L||4 Feb||Taunton Titans||5-30|
|D||21 Jan||Bishop's Stortford||0-0|
|L||17 Dec||Old Elthamians||14-18|
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