LAST MINUTE MISERY
CANTERBURY 10 DORKING 12
by David Haigh
A converted try conceded in the final minute saw Canterbury slip to a run of three defeats, a record which already starts to raise questions about their ability to survive in National 2 East. In a game dominated by defences they failed to make the most of their first half opportunities and paid heavily as Dorking prop James Catton plunged over and Henry Anscombe kicked the match winning goal. On a day when a strong wind dictated tactics the city side could only find two first half tries by wing Frank Morgan when their domination of territory and possession demanded more. A precarious ten point lead at the break was the result of some tenacious Dorking defending and Canterbury’s own lack of composure. They were beaten hands down in the tackle area, where the visitors regularly turned over ball, and there was a rushed and frantic air about their attack. There was a promising start with Morgan’s eighth minute try coming after Canterbury opened up space on the blindside and Tyler Oliver put the wing across the line. Frank Reynolds’ conversion attempt, on a tricky day for kickers, rebounded off a post. That promise, however, was lost in a cloud of small errors and a failure to capitalise on scoring positions. Morgan’s second try, in the same left wing channel, was all they had to show and Reynolds was off target with the conversion. Dorking hardly set a foot in the Canterbury’s half but once they had the wind at their backs they soon built pressure. The city club’s lively start to the second half was brief and they spent the rest of the afternoon fighting a rearguard action. They defended with as much heart and bravery as Dorking had earlier but whenever they managed to break out they spoiled it by coughing up possession. Impressive Number Eight Finn Osborne made the breach for the visitors seven minutes into the second half off the back of a scrum but Anscombe repeated Reynolds conversion attempt by hitting a post. All the effort that Canterbury put in seemed likely to be rewarded as they blunted the visitors attacks and put bodies on the line in defence. In the final minute they won a scrum and surely were poised for a hard won success. Instead they conceded a penalty, Dorking tapped it and found a way to win.
Canterbury: R.Howard, G.Hilton (repl M.Halliday), W.Waddington, T.Best, F.Morgan, F.Reynolds, W.Calder (repl B.Cooper), B.Young (repl A.Cooper), N.Morris, D.Herriott (repl E.Lusher), R.Cadman (repl A.Evans), J.Stephens, H.Andrews, C.Murray, T.Oliver.