CANTERBURY 35 BURY ST EDMUNDS 23
Canterbury are now one game away from securing the National 2 South promotion play-off place and a bonus point win when they travel to Barnes on Saturday would see the job done. To reach this pivotal point in their history they first had to subdue a good Bury St Edmunds side and eventually broke free with three second half tries.
It keeps the city side six points clear of Kent rivals Tonbridge Juddians and Henley Hawks but they had to hold their nerve before this 23rd victory of the season preserved their unbeaten home record.
Both sides scored two first half tries, both missed clear chances to do better and although Canterbury went into the break one point ahead Bury gave then plenty to think about.
There were points on the board in the first three minutes; Ben Leng with a penalty goal for the visitors and in the city club’s first attack the backs worked a try for Charlie Grimes which Ollie Best converted. They lost that lead at the start of the start of the second quarter. A charged down kick turned over possession and led to a try for Bury wing Levi Roper, converted by Leng, but Matt Corker’s first touchdown of the season and Best’s goal restored some order. Then, in the last play of the half, Leng’s vision created a blindside try for Mark Kohler to leave Canterbury with a wafer thin advantage that was snatched away within a minute of the restart. Jaid Wiltshire poached Sam Kenny’s pass on half way and Leng added the goal points from wide out. It was a game calling out for someone to take charge and it was the city forward pack who put up their hands. Bury found themselves going backwards at scrums, the momentum shifted decisively and goal line pressure ended in a Sam Rogers try. What the city side craved was a fourth and bonus point score and in the 59th minute it happened. A delightful break from JJ Murray opened up the Bury defence and Dan Smart pinned his ears back to finish off. Leng clawed three points back with his second penalty goal but Canterbury were not to be denied. Prop Aaron Cooper drove through mid-field to set up position and accurate handling gave Ricky Mackintosh space to score at the corner. Best maintained his flawless kicking record with a fine conversion against the wind and now Barnes beckons.
Canterbury: C.Grimes, R.Mackintosh, S.Sterling, T.Best (repl B.Neville), JJ Murray, O.Best D.Smart (repl K.Braithwaite), A.Cooper, T.King, S.Kenny (repl A.Wake-Smith), R.Cadman (repl L.Whetton), M.Corker, S.Rogers, S.Stapleton, J.Stephens