WORTHING RAIDERS 21 CANTERBURY 34
Two late tries from Tom Best and Kyan Braithwaite finally pulled Canterbury clear of a determined Raiders to guarantee their second place in National 2 South for at least another week.
How long they can hang on to it however might be in question if the heavy weather they made of this game is repeated.
Head of Rugby Andy Pratt admitted that the performance lacked the necessary edge and he will be grateful for that final burst after his city side went into the last ten minutes trailing by a point. They also had to navigate that crucial spell while a man short. Worthing had stolen ahead with a 69th minute penalty try and Matt Corker was sin binned for his part in it.
Many of Canterbury’s troubles were of their own making, particularly in a poor first half when they dominated territory but could make little of it. A promising start, which produced an early try for JJ Murray, vanished in a rash of errors which left Raiders off the hook and then handed them two tries. Both were the result of turned over ball, the first at a lineout which the city side stole then messed up; the second coughed up at a midfield ruck. Jon Dawe and Matt McLean made the most of the opportunities and with McLean adding the conversions Raiders went nine points ahead.
Canterbury redeemed themselves before half time as they found some accuracy and patience before sending Aiden Moss cantering over. They were still four points adrift and could have suffered further damage early in the second half, but Worthing’s backs squandered the chance and the city side began to find some momentum. Ollie Best cut the deficit with a penalty goal and when close quarter driving produced a try for Sam Kenny, which Best converted, Canterbury eased back into the lead. Thoughts of victory were, however, premature as penalties were conceded and Raiders set up a surging maul from a lineout. Corker pulled it down, the penalty try was awarded and the second row man got the yellow card.
Dangerous times? So it seemed until Canterbury at last grabbed the game by the throat with two tries in four minutes. Tom Best and Sam Sterling did a clever smuggling job for Best to race behind the posts; then a fine break by lock Royce Cadman was tracked effectively by replacement scrum half Kyan Braithwaite. Ollie Best converted both and Canterbury, despite their flaws, came away with their first win at Roundstone Lane in eight seasons.
Canterbury: A.Moss, R.Mackintosh, S.Sterling, T.Best, J.Murray (repl H.Young), O.Best, D.Smart (repl K.Braithwaite), A.Cooper (repl J.Green), T.King, S.Kenny, R.Cadman, M.Corker, S.Rogers (repl T.Oliver), S.Stapleton, J.Stephens (repl E.Lusher)