CANTERBURY 12 BISHOPS STORTFORD 14
Only the width of a goal post separated Canterbury from a win their resilience and perseverance probably deserved in this second pre-season friendly against National Division One opposition. Charlie Kingsman’s forty metre penalty shot two minutes from the end of an absorbing contest under the Merton Lane floodlights hit an upright and bounced the wrong side.
The result may have been disappointing, as the city club were in the lead until the 75th minute, but this combative performance made a real statement about their prospects when league action starts in two weeks time.
From a torrid opening quarter, when Canterbury hardly got their hands on the ball but denied Stortford with superb defence, they built steadily and scored twice before the visitors found any answers.
The first city try came on the cusp of half time after the visitors were robbed of the ball. The pack piled on the pressure before the backs made space for last season’s top scorer, Guy Hilton, to squeeze over at the corner. Ollie Best’s conversion was another boost and ten minutes after the restart Hilton got another.
By this time Canterbury had shed any doubts they may have harboured against last season’s National 2 champions and their confidence paid off when Aiden Moss saw a half gap and his slick offload released Hilton.
A frustrated Stortford, who will question why they could not make more of the possession they enjoyed, found a way back by forcing a penalty at the restart. It gave them a foothold and a series of driving mauls eventually earned them a penalty try and an easy conversion.
Canterbury still looked the likelier winners but it was a game of nip and tuck and possession given away too easily handed Stortford their late opportunity. A sweeping run to the left exposed a chink in the city defence and wing Jimmy Rea ran a lovely inside line to take the try scoring pass and leave a simple conversion. Tough on a brave city squad, but even in defeat this felt like something of a victory.
|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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