Hilton Boots Pilgrims To Victory
DARTFORDIANS 36 CANTERBURY PILGRIMS 51
by John Mitchell
This was a severe test against a Dartfordians side who were unbeaten at home this season and still in the hunt for a promotion place. Thanks to late tries and the immaculate goal kicking of Will Hilton, which accounted for 21 of Pilgrims points with all six conversions and three penalties, they were able to hold off the hosts powerful challenge. The home side took an early lead with a pushover try, duly converted, but Pilgrims fought straight back. A trade mark snipe from Presley Farrance created pressure before Freddie Holland-Oliver scored. From the restart, poor reception and an awkward bounce saw the home recapture the lead through a good unconverted try, the conversion hitting the upright. With fourteen minutes gone Hilton slotted his first penalty and soon added a second to push his side one point ahead. Stan Bull made a welcome return after injury and came on for Dan Gill. A home player received a yellow card for not rolling away and from this one man advantage, Pilgrims started to take control. Only good defending by the home side kept them at bay but from a well won lineout they got a second try. Farrance, Tom Halliday and Max Campbell combined to send Jack Weaver over. Wingman Hector Valldares then made 70 metres with a superb run, off loaded to Sonny Trew-Neville who did the rest but for the second time the home side scored from the kick off. No one dealt with the high ball, another bad bounce and the home side went through to score an unconverted try. Next came an impressive Pilgrims score for Max Campbell wide on the right and despite Holland-Oliver’s yellow card for a scrum offence they were 34-17 ahead at the break. Although that looked comfortable it soon changed as Dartfordians took control of the scrums anf got on top. Two quick tries narrowed the gap to three points and the tension showed as tempers frayed. Hilton’s third penalty goal and Dan Gill’s return to bolster the pack steadied the Canterbury ship. Max Campbell wriggled free for his second touchdown and when a red card reduced Dartfordians to fourteen players they were made to pay. From a lineout Brandon Dunkerley fed Weaver who put in a great solo effort to claim Pilgrims sixth try. In a scrappy end to the game Harvey Furneaux was handed a yellow card, Dartfordians scored an unconverted try but Pilgrims had done enough to extend their winning run to seventeen.
Pilgrims: J.Weaver, M.Campbell, S.Trew-Neville, T.Halliday, H.Valldares, W.Hilton, P.Farrance, F.Holland-Oliver, B.Dunkerley, D.Gill, J.Grewar, L.Webber, A.Geddes, H.Furneaux, W.Hunt. Replacements: S.Bull, H.Fermor, J.Constant