Canterbury Fall Short
ESHER 29 CANTERBURY 21
by David Haigh
After a poor start when they conceded seventeen points in the first thirteen minutes Canterbury fought their way back into this game but were never quite accurate enough to recover the lost ground. An Esher side looking for a swift return to National Division One after last season’s relegation used the ball more effectively and held up well in defence when the city side’s pack edged matters in the second half. A last ditch cover tackle in the final moments denied Canterbury not only a fourth try but a couple of bonus points and it was a little harsh on them that their battling efforts went unrewarded. After last week’s blistering early spell against Tonbridge Juddians the city side this time found themselves on the receiving end as the hosts helped themselves to three quick tries. A clean break saw Charlie Morgan grab the first after only two minutes, scrum half Pierre Thompson scored number two from a great counter attack and hooker Andy Hamilton broke off a maul to punish a team that was falling off too many tackles. It could have been worse had Sam Morley managed more than one conversion. From that bleak point the city side began their revival act and it was the pack who breathed life into the game as Tyler Oliver crossed the line from a driving maul. Frank Reynolds’ fine conversion from wide out was another booster but Esher struck again when the defence fatally stood off and wing James Botterill broke a tackle to claim the bonus point try. Canterbury needed another score in the ten minutes before half time and found it through a close range forward effort. Prop Pierce Holland powered over and with Reynolds second conversion they were only eight points adrift at the break and back in business. The second half was a far tighter affair but it was the skills of the Esher backs that saw them pull away again as Botterill ghosted into the line from his wing and Morley converted. It was the struggle to open up that kind of space that blighted the city side’s ambitions and they cracked it only once as replacement Tom Best cleverly stepped his way to the posts. Reynolds converted and the team were on the front foot in the closing stages. Wing Jack Weaver looked a certain scorer but he was forced into touch inches from the line and Canterbury went home frustrated.
Canterbury: A.Moss, F.Morgan, G.Jones, L.Hollidge, J.Weaver, F.Reynolds, T.Williams, P.Holland, N.Morris, D.Herriott, D.Irvine, J.Stephens, S.Rogers, C.Murray, T.Oliver. Replacement: E.O.Donoghue, W.McColl, T.Best, P.Farrance, H.Furneaux