Late try wins bonus
BARNES 37 CANTERBURY 26By David Haigh Having donated victory to Barnes with a dreadful first half performance, Canterbury hauled themselves off the floor to win won a losing bonus point from the final play of the match. At half time they were trailing by twenty two points and when the home side ran in their fourth try six minutes after the break the city club’s prospects looked even bleaker. Then, late in the day, they became serious competitors and scored three converted tries. There was too much ground to make up to snatch a victory but the lift in momentum was welcome after Barnes had clearly been the better side. They went ahead in the first minute when Rory Kassapian easily brushed off the tacklers on his way to the line and Simon Keller converted. It was the first of several gifts Canterbury offered and were eagerly accepted in that first 40 minutes when the home side looked dangerous every time they had the ball. Keller scored and converted the second try after his pack had done the spadework and the fly half added two penalty goals before Canterbury made any impression. Cameron Murray’s close range try offered a glimpse of daylight but that was snuffed out within three minutes when the gift package was opened again. A pass to no one in particular was seized on by Barnes and Josh Souter left Josh Davies a simple conversion. The signs that Canterbury might have something to contribute emerged early second half with strong carrying from replacement Alex Evans and the consistent Murray. That didn’t prevent Barnes full back Paddy McDuell from setting up the bonus point try for Will Lewin when he turned a clearance kick into an opportunity and stretched the lead to twenty seven. But now came the shift in fortunes. Despite struggling at the set scrums the city club started to find territory. Frank Morgan was held up over the line before the backs worked space for Guy Hilton who sent Ben Cooper in for the touchdown. Frank Reynolds converted before there was another set back with a Barnes try for James Crabtree. However, Canterbury were now the confident team as Barnes collected two yellow cards and Eoin O’Donoghue, on his senior debut, completed a driving maul with the third try. The forwards then won the bonus point in the final minute as Nathan Morris powered over. Respect if not victory had been restored. Canterbury; R.Howard, (repl T.Halliday), G.Hilton, W.Waddington T.Best, F.Morgan, F.Reynolds, B.Cooper, B.Young, N.Morris (repl E.O’Donoghue). D.Herriott (repl A.Cooper), D.Irvine, (repl A.Evans), J.Stephens, H.Andrews, C.Murray, T.Oliver.