Corker Sees His Side Learn
CANTERBURY 43 LONDON WELSH 17
by David Haigh
Head Coach Matt Corker’s take on this pre-season friendly against the club he once captained was that his Canterbury side had learned a lot about themselves in a seven try victory. There was plenty to encourage him in the performance of a squad which was missing several front line contenders as they took an early grip on the game, saw off a second half rally from Welsh and finished strongly. Among those who will have caught Corker’s eye were centre Garry Jones, whose powerful burst opened the scoring with a try after three minutes; the ball carrying of young prop Will McColl and a lively contribution from scrum half Presley Farance. Although they operate at a level below the city club London Welsh were no pushovers but the number of times they fell foul of the new tackle laws gave Canterbury plenty of opportunities as they established a nineteen point lead in the first half. They exploited one of many penalties to create a simple overlap for wing Morgan Dayes while Farances’s probing around the scrum and some good handling sent Tyler Oliver over for a third touchdown. Two conversions from Frank Reynolds and committed defence when Welsh threatened kept the lead comfortable and more slick work by the threequarters extended it a minute after the break. Flanker Harvey Furneaux finished the move. It was a cushion that led to a drop in concentration in the Canterbury ranks and the Welsh, always positive with the ball in hand, showed good running lines and off-loading skills to claw back two tries, one of them converted. There might have been more trouble for the city side when Frank Morgan was yellow carded but instead Number Eight Oliver, another player in good form, stole an interception and strode away unopposed for his second try. Forward power proved too much for Welsh in the late stages and a driving maul and close quarter efficiency brought two tries for Pierce Holland and conversions from Reynolds. Welsh had the last word with a final minute try but overall Canterbury will have been quietly satisfied.
Canterbury: J.Weaver, M.Dayes, G.Jones, T.Best, F.Morgan, F.Reynolds, P.Farance, W.McColl, N.Morris, D.Herriott. W.Hunt, J.Stephens, A.Evans, H.Furneaux, T.Oliver. Replacements: P Holland, B.Dunkerley, M.Fankah, L.Webber, S.Rogers, T.Williams, A.Geddes
Canterbury Pilgrims had their first pre-season outing and came away with a 29-17 home victory over London Welsh 2nd.