Fight Back Falls Short
CANTERBURY 31 DORKING 36
by David Haigh
Canterbury’s habit of playing second half catch-up gave National 2 East league leaders Dorking plenty to think about but it was the visitors defensive strengths that eventually saw them maintain their unbeaten record and take home a bonus point win. Two tries in the first ten minutes after the break gave the visitors a 22 point lead and the game seemed to be in their pocket. But the city side, as they had the previous week, found a second wind and four minutes from the end Shay Kerry’s converted try had closed the gap to eight points. It was tantalisingly close but not quite enough although continuing pressure won a penalty and Canterbury took the pragmatic decision to kick it and claim a second bonus point. Dorking, with the confidence of five wins under their belt, took an early lead through a Henry Anscombe penalty goal and Fraser Mosely’s converted try before Canterbury got their act together. Two sniping tries by scrum half Ben Cooper, the first from a maul, the second after a strong carry from prop Billy Young, newly returned from the collapsed Jersey club, kept them in the hunt but Dorking were still good value for a 24-14 half way lead. Their scores were made by former Canterbury forward Will Scholes and wing Will Sanders with Anscombe topping up both tries. They built impressively on that advantage early in the second half with a catch and drive try by hooker Jonny Ellis and a seering long range run from wing Toby McCrae who outpaced every one on his way to the line. Canterbury were left with that old cliche ringing in their ears ‘a mountain to climb’ but after McCrae’s brilliant effort they quickly began the ascent. Within two minutes Aiden Moss collected a clearance kick, speared though and Alfie Orris finished off after good link work with Jamie Stephens. Reynolds converted and Canterbury kept on coming, It was now that Dorking’s defenders dug in and under intense pressure repelled all attacks. When Canterbury exhausted the unproductive catch and drive route they finally made the breach as Kerry muscled his way over the line from a tap penalty, too late however to influence the result.
Canterbury: A.Davies (repl F.Morgan), A.Moss, G.Jones, L.Hollidge (repl T.Best), A.Orris, F.Reynolds, B.Cooper, P.Holland (repl B.Young), N.Morris (repl E.O’Donoghue), D.Herriott, S.Kerry, J.De Vries, J Stephens, S.Rogers, T.Oliver (repl H.Furneaux)