OLD REDCLIFFIANS 21 CANTERBURY 43
Away victories are savoured in a tough league but Canterbury were always in control of this match and underlined their superiority with a bonus point win which lifts them to sixth place in the early season table.
After a flighty start they soon settled to produce a good, disciplined performance based on firm foundations laid down by the pack.
The city side scored six tries, three in each half, and with Harvey Young bringing his kicking boots with him five conversions and a penalty goal kept them comfortably ahead of Old Reds.
They were adept at turning the Bristol side’s errors into points and that saw them into a twelve point lead in the first quarter. A turnover, quick chase and flicked pass by Ricky Mackintosh gave Dan Smart the opener. Young had his only failure from the kicking tee but made up for it by intercepting a loose pass and sprinting 50 metres for a try under the posts. In contrast, Old Reds were not accurate enough to profit from two line breaks instigated by full back Henry Bird. Those moments aside, however, it was Canterbury who ran the show.
A catch and drive produced a try for hooker Tristan King after 25 minutes but Reds won some respite when wing Ezra Caven ran strongly for a touchdown which Ash Groves converted. It was a temporary interruption before Young pushed the half time margin to 15 points with a simple penalty goal.
It took only four minutes of the second half for the city side to claim the bonus point try. A stolen lineout and the ball spread wide opened up space for Charlie Grimes to make his first touchdown for the club. They continued to stoke up the pressure with judicious tactical kicking and after a surge by debutant centre Sam Goatley the recycling was sharp. A lovely offload sent Ollie Best across the line with his first touch after coming on as a replacement.
With the game slipping away Old Reds found a fresh burst of energy and when JJ Murray was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on they used the penalty to create a try for Chris Pursall, converted by Kieran Hill. Canterbury quickly brushed that away as Goatley stretched over for the sixth try and although Old Reds hands continued to let them down they got last minute compensation with a converted score for the excellent Henry Bird.
Canterbury: A.Moss (repl O.Best), R.Mackintosh (repl J.J.Murray), S. Goatley, S.Sterling, C.Grimes, H.Young, D.Smart, A.Cooper, T.King, S.Kenny (repl E.White), R.Cadman (L.Whetton ), M.Corker, J.Stephens, S.Clark (repl R.Cadman), S.Roche