Make It A Double
TONBRIDGE JUDDIANS 24 CANTERBURY 28
by David Haigh
This game had all the terrific stuff you would expect of a local derby as Canterbury edged to a victory which brought them a double over their Kent rivals. Only a supreme defensive effort in the final minute denied Juddians a winning score and the city side were able to celebrate a move into the top six places in National 2 East. The gap between these teams was wafer thin but two tries and a Frank Reynolds penalty goal in the last quarter gave Canterbury a crucial eight point lead that proved just enough to see them home. They started the match on the front foot and were ten points to the good as continuous pressure and admirable patience brought a try for prop Will McColl, with Reynolds adding the conversion and then a penalty goal. By half time, however, they were two points behind as they fell into bad habits, leaked penalties and Juddians made the most of it. A collapsed maul earned them a penalty try and Sam Rogers’ yellow card left the city side short handed in defence when the TJ’s backs worked an overlap for wing Luke Beaumont’s unconverted touchdown. After the break Reynolds second penalty goal pushed Canterbury briefly back in front but it lasted only three minutes as the home side’s powerful catch and drive was completed by hooker Will Colling. It was in the final twenty minutes that Canterbury established that vital spell of control. When wing Brad Law went charging for the line he was tackled just short but Reynolds was on hand to pick up and score. The momentum was there and when a catch and drive opportunity came hooker Eoin O’Donoghue made the touchdown. Reynolds converted and with five minutes on the clock the fly half landed his third penalty goal and it might have seemed enough. But that sparked a huge response from Juddians and as Canterbury wobbled, Elliot Luke powered over, Sam Evans converted and replacement scrum half Alex Davies was yellow carded. The home side went for the kill and were five metres away from glory when O’Donoghue brilliantly turned over ball and the big travelling support stopped chewing its collective fingernails.
Canterbury: W.Waddington, B.Law, G.Jones, T.Best, A.Moss, F.Reynolds, T.Williams (rel A.Davies), C.Macmillan (repl E.Lusher), E.O’Donoghue, W.McColl (repl D.Herriott), S.Kerry, J.De Vries (rep D.Irvine) J.Stephenson, S.Rogers (repl J.Dengate) T. Oliver.