Derby Double For Pilgrims
DOVER 31 CANTERBURY PILGRIMS 43
by John Mitchell
Another great local derby, perhaps the best game of the season so far and a win that was not assured until the last few minutes after the lead had changed hands five times. Pilgrims started well, with a try from Tom Halliday after only two minutes, but for the rest of the first half it was a huge battle. Dover, with former Canterbury first team captain Martyn Beaumont master minding their response, hit back with two converted tries as Pilgrims gave up possession too easily. Back came Pilgrims and Jack Weaver went close but from a lineout five metres out it was flanker Adrian Geddes who drove through a huge hole for an unconverted try. Pilgrims regained a narrow lead when a great move found prop Adam Malik dodging tackles and delaying his pass until Halliday latched on to it for his second try. Tom Mackenzie then got a yellow card for a high tackle, Dover exerted more pressure and were back in front by four points at half time with an unconverted touchdown. They extended that lead with their fourth try early in the second half and at this point one could see the Pilgrims about to lose their 100% record. They faced, by far, the toughest challenge of the whole season. However, they began to exert pressure on the Dover defence, the penalty count racked up against the home side and Cameron Murray crashed through to earn the bonus point fourth try. Will Hilton found his scoring touch at last, to convert. Could this be the start of a comeback against a Dover side who were playing with great passion and commitment? A yellow card for the hosts gave Canterbury a one man advantage and Presley Farrance, player of the match, with a good run and a lovely disguised pass made a try for Max Campbell, converted by Hilton. The Pilgrims were once more back in the lead. It was Farrance again who set up the next score for Sonny Trew-Neville, converted by Hilton, to put his side in a winning position. But it wasn’t over. With Weaver and Will McColl both in the sin bin Dover struck with a great 70 yard converted try to close the gap to five points. It was down to the wire as Pilgrims ignored an easy penalty shot and three points but in the closing minutes Farrance combined with Campbell before Weaver powered through and Josh Richardson added the goal points to round off a magnificent match and double over Dover this season.