CANTERBURY 14 HENLEY HAWKS 19
by David Haigh
Canterbury’s dismal run goes on and they are now without a win since early October. The damage in this game, one of only two in National 2 East to survive the freezing weather, was largely self inflicted as they failed to convert massive second half pressure into points. They had every opportunity to make up for slack first half defending but could manage only a solitary penalty goal. That earned them a losing bonus point but it was a poor return for a side which lacked finishing power and remains anchored near the foot of the league table. After making a promising start to the match with a try from centre Tom Halliday after only two minutes they could find no way past the Hawks who put in an impressive defensive shift to protect their 19-11 half time lead. Henley made a quick response to the early Canterbury score, opening a hole for Number Eight Sam Lunnon who left Max Titchener an easy conversion. A Frank Reynolds penalty goal recaptured the lead but defensive weakness handed the visitors two more tries before the break. Wing Ryan Crowley brushed side weak tackles to claim the first, again converted by Titchener, and was instrumental in pushing the Hawks further ahead as he poached a ball on his own line. When his deep and determined run was halted the support was there to set up Lunnon’s second touchdown. Lineout troubles, where the city side missed the presence of injured skipper Jamie Stephens, frustrated the city side’s scoring opportunities which were limited to Reynolds’ second penalty goal, and before they took a grip on the second half they had a reprieve when Henley dropped the ball with the line wide open. From that point, however, it was Canterbury’s game to win as they dominated the scrums and occupied Hawks territory, All credit to the visiting defenders who stopped anything that moved but Canterbury were convinced they had scored from an attacking lineout. The officials, after consultation, ruled otherwise and the city side could not find another crack in the solid Henley wall.
Canterbury; W.Waddington, F.Morgan, T.Hallliday, T.Best, G.Hilton, F.Reynolds, T.Williams (repl B.Cooper), B.Young (repl C.Macmillan), N.Morris (repl E.O’Donoghue), D.Herriott, D.Irvine, J.De Vries, J.Dengate (repl H.Furneaux), C.Murray, T.Oliver