|16th Dec 2017||3:00 pm||National League 2 South||2017/18|
This was always going to be a tough afternoon against the slick and unbeaten league leaders but a Canterbury squad showing seven changes can still take some positives from this defeat.
A heavy injury list was one restriction on Head Coach Andy Pratt’s options and his largely experimental side might easily have folded after shipping 29 points in the first half. Instead their solid set piece work, better control of possession and a refusal to lie down saw them give as good as they got in a competitive second half.
Getting the new components to gel was a problem and after a promising start the city men were undone by the accuracy and execution of a Chinnor side riding a wave of confidence.
They had an ability to create space which eluded Canterbury and that talent opened the way for Bertie Hopkin’s sixth minute try.
The most telling blows came at the end of the first quarter when a harsh yellow card for Jake Rigby allowed Chinnor to exploit their superior numbers and grab two tries in the space of four minutes. Mike McDonald and prop Tom Price scored them and Hopkin tacked on a conversion which the assistant referees deemed good while many had doubts..
Canterbury were also guilty of missing tackles and good sides are quick to punish that kind of frailty. Wing Henry Lamont added two more tries before the break, the last converted by Hopkin, and it could have been the prelude to a major melt down. But the city men emerged for that second half with a new determination and immediately stated their case with a catch and drive try from Sam Kenny, converted by Kyan Braithwaite.
With their pack on the front foot for substantial periods Canterbury could now control possession but the problem was putting it to maximum effect, Chinnor, even with fewer chances, still had the familiarity and coordination that produced tries. Their understanding and confident handling saw Lamont complete his hat trick and Jonny Bentley add the seventh try, converted by Hopkin.
If this was an unfamiliar looking Canterbury it did not constrain good performances from players like Sam Kenny and Dan Smart who settled comfortably into his new fly half role.
CANTERBURY: J.Murray (repl T.Best), G.Hilton, R.Mackintosh, W.Farris, B.Howard, D.Smart, K.Braithwaite, C.Townley, J.Otto (repl E.Deacon), S.Kenny (repl M.Pinnick), R.Cadman (repl .Stephens), L.Whetton (repl M.Corker), A.Woodward. D.Bailey, J.Rigby