CANTERBURY 40 DINGS CRUSADERS 18
Another six try performance from Canterbury brought them a third consecutive victory as they defied steady rain and dogged opposition from newly promoted Crusaders.
Head of Rugby Andy Pratt said that conditions were against the city club’s style of play but they adapted skilfully to put the boot into the Bristol club
Three of their tries came from clever kicks by Dan Smart and he and half back partner Harvey Young played decisive roles in fashioning a win which takes Canterbury into the top four of the National 2 South table.
A fascinating sub plot was the direct clash of brothers Sam and Barney Goatley and it was Canterbury’s Sam who claimed the bragging rights with his side’s third try.
That score helped the city club into a ten point lead at half time. Prop Aaron Cooper was first on the try list, supporting a Smart dart close to the line and Young landing the first of four good conversions. Dings hit back with a penalty goal from Ben Bolster then went ahead for the only time in the match in the 25th minute. They outfoxed Canterbury at the front of a line out and hooker Will Capon ran unchallenged before putting Jake Holcombe over for the try. There had been other uncomfortable moments as Dings slid kicks behind the defence but the swift response to Holcombe’s try put the city side back on the front foot. Smart spotted Crusaders defence was undermanned and lofted a kick which full back Ollie Best plucked out of the air to score.
With the pack exerting their authority Canterbury sniffed more points and although Goatley’s’ try owed something to a fortunate ricochet he took it smartly. Bolster’s second penalty goal rubbed some of the gloss off that but the opening minute of the second half swung matters firmly Canterbury’s way. From the kick-off Young hoisted a high ball, Crusaders spilled it and the fly half sprinted away for a great individual score.
A lead now extended to seventeen points remained intact until the end of the third quarter when Dings built a succession of close quarter drives and Ashley Challenger crashed over for a try which Bolster converted. That was the visitors last contribution. Canterbury stretched away in the final twelve minutes; first when they turned ball over and Smart chipped into space for JJ Murray to touch down. Another spot on cross kick gave replacement Aiden Moss the last try which, with Young now off the field, Best converted from the touchline.
Canterbury: O.Best (repl A.Moss), C.Grimes (repl R.Mackintosh), S.Goatley, S.Sterling, J.J.Murray, H.Young (repl O.Best), D.Smart, A.Cooper (repl J.Green), T.King, S.Kenny, R.Cadman (repl .Whetton), M.Corker, J.Stephens, S.Clark (repl J.Otto), S.Roche