LONDON IRISH WILD GEESE 34 CANTERBURY 29
Another frustrating result for a Canterbury side that keeps on repeating its mistakes and pays for them with narrow defeats. For the fifth time this season they lost by one score and were restricted to a single bonus point. This latest setback, under the London Irish floodlights, sent the city side down to 13th place in National 2 South and while it is still early days the danger signals are flashing.
Skipper Tom Burns did not pull his punches. “We keep telling ourselves we are too good to be in this position, but that will not do,” he told his shattered men. “We need to work harder and everyone must pull their weight.”
All the pluses and minuses that have shaped the city side’s first seven games were on display once again. Every time they inched ahead a lack of concentration gave Irish easy routes back into the game and the city side’s infuriating habit of carving out opportunities then failing to capitalise undermined them.
Wild Geese gave them an object lesson in clinical finishing, scoring six tries to two and on their visits to prime attacking areas invariably came away with points. That worrying try count also raised serious questions about Canterbury’s defensive organisation.
Their frustrations were fuelled by the way they frittered away the good things. Ollie Best’s immaculate goal kicking, which brought him five penalty goals and touchline conversions of both tries, always kept them in the hunt. Irish were obliterated at the lineouts, where Tyler Edwards and and his fellow workers reigned supreme, the scrummaging was solid and there were inviting individual breaks from backs Aiden Moss and Tom Best. But the accuracy and imagination to make it all count never materialised..
Irish sent out an early warning with a try in the first minute from wing George Owen but by half time there was only a point between the sides. Canterbury twice ran short of cover to give Irish two more touchdowns fo Owen but Best punished some persistent offside with three goals and converted a Harry Sayers try after good recycling by the pack.
By the 48th minute the city side were ahead, Guy Hilton putting in a strong finish for his try and Best doing the business with the conversion and then his fourth penalty goal. But Canterbury immediately lost their compass and Seb Rodwell for the Wild Geese flew in for another try.
Best’s last penalty goal pushed the city side’s lead back to seven but not for long. A yellow card for Tom Best gave Irish an advantage they quickly exploited from a scrum with a fourth try for Owen and their final, and easiest score by Tyler Bush, came via a charged down kick. Pete Hodgkinson landed just two conversions but it was enough to cement the win despite Canterbury launching a series of late attacks which, almost inevitably, yielded nothing.
Canterbury: A.Moss (repl M.Beaumont), G.Hilton, W.Farris (repl JJ.Murray), T.Best, H.Sayers,O.Best, D.Smart, J.Green (repl A.Cooper), T.Rogers, S.Kenny, R.Cadman (repl G.Edwards), T.Burns, T.Edwards, S.Rogers. H.McCormick-Huston
|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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