CANTERBURY MISS THEIR CHANCES
SEVENOAKS 23 CANTERBURY 22
by David Haigh
The story of this Kent derby on the opening day of the National 2 league season was an all too familiar one for Canterbury. They had the lions share of possession and territory, outscored Oaks by three tries to two but still finished on the wrong end of the scoreline. In the end it was the accuracy of Ben Adams’ goal kicking, three penalties and two conversions, that made the difference but the city side’s ability to squander their assets was the real key. There were echoes of last season’s problems as they failed to make use of their early dominance and Adams booted Oaks into the lead with two penalty goals in the space of three minutes. Frank Reynolds pulled one back but it was not until after a lengthy delay for an unfortunate injury to Sevenoaks fly half Tom Simmonds that Canterbury found a try. The pack’s driving forced a penalty try but it came with a price tag. The referee issued yellow cards to both sides, one to Harvey Furneaux, and restarted the game with a penalty to Oaks. Adams duly obliged from the half way mark and Canterbury reached the break only one point ahead. That should have been an irrelevance given the city side’s domination of the second half but they self destructed. Handling errors, missed overlaps and a back division’s lateral and predictable running played into the grateful arms of a solid home defence. A calm head was missing and all this poor work was punished when mistakes handed Oaks chances to score two tries. Unlike Canterbury they made the most of them. A dropped pass and ball booted upfield saw the home side produce line out ball and a smart move for centre Barney Stone to score. Back went Canterbury and they at last created space for wing Alfie Orris’s unconverted touchdown. That took them within a point but a second error dented their hopes. Full back Lewis Hollidge’s clearance was charged down and Oaks swooped again through Stone. A shocked Canterbury continued to press and after grabbing a third try, scored by replacement Jack Weaver and converted by Reynolds, they seemed poised to snatch the win as Orris broke clear in the last minute. He was stopped a yard short, a penalty was conceded and the side were left to reflect on their own shortcomings.
Canterbury: L.Hollidge, M.Dayes, G.Jones, T.Best, A.Orris, F.Reynolds, P.Farrance, P.Holland, N.Morris, D.Herriott, C.Murray, J.Stephens, S.Rogers, H.Furneaux T.Oliver, Replacements, E.O’Donoghue, W.MColl, S.Kerry, T.Williams, J.Weaver