BISHOP’S STORTFORD 28 CANTERBURY 12
In their first test against serious opposition Canterbury came away with plenty of credit in the bank despite finishing on the wrong end of the scoreline. Both sides brought enlarged squads to assess pre-season form but when the city club were at their strongest in the opening 30 minutes they were superior to their Division One opponents. Stortford dominated the later stages of the game and a couple of turnovers which were translated into tries scuppered the city club’s chances.
After resisting early pressure Canterbury built a 12-point lead on the back of solid work by the pack and the game was almost an hour old before Stortford overtook them. In that dominant period the city side scored twice, the first try after clever footwork from Aiden Moss took him round his man before slipping an inside pass for flanker Sean Stapleton to touch down. The second was created by a probing kick from lock Matt Corker of which any fly half would have been proud. He won the chase to claim the try and Ollie Best converted from wide out. A clean break by Best quickly followed and would have brought a third score had the support been there but by half time the home side had cut the deficit to five points. A yellow card for Tom Best for a tip tackle gave Stortford prime position and they won a penalty try. As the replacements came flooding on Canterbury found themselves under the cosh after the break and they conceded a string of penalties. There were plenty of merit marks earned in defence but eventually the overlap appeared and a converted try took the home side in front for the first time. Stortford’s increasing domination of the breakdown then swung the game decisively, paving the way for a couple more tries. The last of them was in the dying minute of the game and their kicker never missed the target.