BARNES 8 CANTERBURY 38
Canterbury’s Autumn bandwagon rolls on with a sixth consecutive victory which was as convincing as the score line suggests. The city club’s domination of this game was almost total as they ran in six tries and wrapped up a bonus point before half time.
The final margin might well have been wider had it not been for some dogged, scrambling defence by Barnes and they certainly got plenty of practice as Canterbury took an early grip which they seldom relaxed.
Suprisingly, it took a quarter of an hour before the city side’s high tempo approach paid off with a try. Barnes survived clean breaks by Dan Smart and JJ Murray but from one of the many penalties they conceded a lineout catch and drive ended with Sam Kenny scoring and Tom Best slotting the conversion
Barnes were to see much more of the powerful prop as his ball carrying abilities frequently kept them occupied but despite that opening try Canterbury’s pace and promise didn’t deliver the goods and Barnes enjoyed their most productive spell of the game, brief though it was.
A quick reply came from a Tom O’Toole penalty goal and although there was a second, unconverted try from Martyn Beaumont, who picked up a pass off his bootlaces brilliantly, the home side cancelled that with one of their own.
A penalty for holding on left the city team struggling to halt a well organised driving maul before the ball was released to fly half Gareth Williams–Davies who finished smartly.
For a side which had been consistently on the front foot, clearly edging the scrum and lineout battles and forging across the gain line, a four point lead was a miserly return. So Canterbury did something about it and scored twice in three minutes. A first phase attack from a scrum gave full back Aiden Moss the sniff of space to sweep through for try number three. Then a laboured Barnes pass was read to perfection by JJ Murray whose interception, plus two Best conversions, saw Canterbury take an eighteen point lead into the second half. A home side starved of possession for their occasional forays now mounted a largely backs to the wall exercise and they never shirked anything in protecting their line. It limited the damage but that came at the cost of more penalties, a yellow card which some officials might have wielded much earlier, and two more tries. Scrum half Smart immediately punished the sin binning with his tenth try of the season and as the clock ran down Moss produced a spectacular finale. Released down the right wing channel the full back’s step and swerve left Barnes grasping only the cold December air. Replacement Ollie Best topped up the day’s best try suitably with the final conversion
Canterbury: A.Moss, G.Hilton, JJ Murray (repl J.Jones), W.Farris, M.Beaumont, T.Best (repl O.Best), D.Smart, A.Cooper, T.Rogers (repl C.Townley), S.Kenny (repl J.Green), T.Edwards, T.Burns (repl G.Edwards), S.Rogers, H.McCormick-Huston, 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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