REDINGENSIAN RAMS 27 CANTERBURY 31
Canterbury’s winning habit continues as they made it four in a row and moved into the league’s top six for the first time this season.
Against another in-form side, who were on a four match winning streak of their own, it was always going to be a tight affair and the Rams were a threat right to the final whistle.
But four tries, one of them a stunning individual effort, and the city club’s defensive resilience in those closing minutes saw them through to a bonus point win. They will be happy with the outcome after struggling to find their rhythm and much of that was down to the energy Redingensians brought to their first half performance.
Spearheaded by captain Robbie Stapley and his combative back row they took a grip on possession and territory and with Canterbury granting too much freedom to a pair of strong running centres it was no surprise when Rams went ahead. A try from Steve Bryant, plus a penalty goal and conversion by Jake Atkins, opened a ten point lead by the end of the first quarter, only for a piece of entrepreneurial flair from Guy Hilton to bring an instant reply. Taking a pass a metre inside Rams half, the team’s leading try scorer stepped infield and set off on a glorious run which finished close to the posts.
It was a welcome score but did little to ease the pressure. Redingensians roared back, working space for left wing Lloyd Owen to dive over and missed another try by spilling the ball over the line.
As the half neared its close, however, some of that early brio deserted them and Canterbury were able to ask questions of their own. It allowed Tom Best to add a penalty goal to his conversion of Hilton’s try but Atkins responded after Hugh McCormick-Huston was sin-binned for a technical offence. Despite the shortage of manpower, Canterbury then demonstrated a growing confidence by launching a massive drive from a lineout. Scrum half Dan Smart made the touchdown and Best, immaculate with his kicking, narrowed the half time deficit to three points.
A five minute period of the second half swung the momentum decisively Canterbury’s way. One of their greatest weapons is pace and in the 50th minute Martyn Beaumont fielded a clearance kick, spotted an opportunity on the narrow side and delivered the inside pass for Smart to claim his second try The fourth, bonus point score was engineered from good lineout ball, a lot of swift hands to the wide channels where JJ Murray stepped on the gas to beat everyone. Best converted both tries and suddenly the city side were eleven points clear. Was it enough? Rams, now bossing the set scrums, ramped up the pressure for Chico U’Chong to dart over and Atkins convert. But when it comes to protecting their assets Canterbury are a hard nosed lot these days and they shut the door effectively.
Canterbury: A.Moss, G.Hilton, JJ Murray, W.Farris, M.Beaumont,T.Best, D.Smart, J.Green (repl A.Cooper), T.Rogers (repl F.Edwards). S.Kenny (repl J.Green), G.Edwards, T.Burns, T.Edwards (repl C.Townley), 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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