CANTERBURY 16 CHINN0R 12
Life just gets better for Canterbury. An epic battle against the unbeaten league leaders ended in a third consecutive victory which was easily the most courageous of them all.
In a game of high drama the boot of fly half Tom Best guided the city club home, his two second half penalties and a dropped goal sealing the win. But it was the unyielding approach of every player, in the most competitive contest seen at The Marine travel Ground for years, that carried the day.
Their resilience in the face of a massive physical challenge from the Chinnor pack was crucial. Playing against slope and wind and under pressure at the set scrums, they still managed to restrict the visitors first half lead to five points. After falling twelve points behind they captured an important psychological edge with a try in the closing minute of the half.
Chinnor’s scores were both set up by forward power that forced penalties. Pinning Canterbury in the right hand corner a catch and drive sucked in the defenders before an overlap was worked for fly half Bertie Hopkin. The second try, after half an hour, was conceded as the city scrum went into retreat and Number Eight Tom Burns scored off the back, with Hopkin adding the conversion.
While Canterbury spent much of the half winning medals for the way they defended territory when their chance came they made it count. Chinnor might have ruled the set scrums but the lineout was a different story and that pressure was evident when their hooker badly misjudged his throw. Cameron Townley took the ball on, his forward colleagues piled into to retain possession and it was whipped wide for Martyn Beaumont to score. Best’s conversion with a tremendous kick into the wind was another dagger in Chinnor’s heart. The initiative now lay with the city club and they were outstanding in their execution. Chinnor’s big runners could make little headway against skilful and committed tackling and Canterbury ruled the gain line. The decisive period came early in the final quarter as pressure built and Burns was yellow carded for a technical offence, leaving Best to knock over the penalty. A minute later the fly half gave his side the lead as he hit a long, low drop goal which crept over the bar by inches. After a long consultation the referee said yes but the drama wasn’t over. Referee Manley was accidentally knocked out but recovered and Chinnor put in a furious late assault which could have snatched the game. As they had done all afternoon, the city defenders closed ranks, hammered the big men back and in the 78th minute Best was handed the penalty chance which closed out a victory fashioned by heart,soul and stamina.
Canterbury: A.Moss, G.Hilton (repl H.Sayers), JJ Murray, W.Farris, M.Beaumont, T.Best, D.Smart, J.Green (repl A.Cooper),C.Townley (repl G.Edwards), S.Kenny, T.Burns, L.Woodbridge, T.Edwards, S.Rogers, H.McCormick-Huston
|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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