Match report – Canterbury 1st XV V Worthing Raiders
CANTERBURY 43 WORTHING RAIDERS 33
by David Haigh
This was easily Canterbury’s best performance of the season as they mounted a superb second half fight back to destroy the promotion hunting Raiders. Trailing by seventeen points as the game entered its last quarter they recaptured the lead with a try three minutes from the end. Not content with that the city club crowned their afternoon’s work in the final play with a seventh try. After watching his side produce pace, power, and attacking flair Head Coach Matt Corker said: “It was a great performance by the whole team and I was really happy to see the players show what I’ve known they are capable of for a long time. Worthing being right at the top of the table shows that we can play well and win against anyone. Our focus now until the end of the season has to be that we keep pushing our standards and our level of performance will follow.” The shell shocked visitors might have thought the points were theirs after building a 33-14 lead shortly after half time against a Canterbury outfit hit by yellow cards and temporarily reduced to thirteen players. Raiders had reached the break four points ahead after a high tempo first half in which the lead changed hands five times and Canterbury lost both Guy Hilton and Tom best to injuries. Fraser Bruce, Curtis Barnes and Dan Sargent scored Worthing’s tries, with Matt McLean adding two conversions. Canterbury replied through a close range finish from Cameron McMillan and when replacement Sam Sterling appeared for his first game of the season he quickly made an impact with a fine burst for the second try and went on to make a significant contribution. The only blemish was a swinging arm which cost him a yellow card and led to Sargent’s try a minute before the break. On the resumption, Raiders were quickly out of the blocks and when Tyler Oliver joined Sterling in the sin bin they worked an overlap for Barnes to touchdown and Sargent followed that by bagging his second forward driven try. Two more conversions from McLean left the city club with a massive challenge but they tackled it with relish. Restored to full strength the first breach was made in the 58th minute when Billy Young burrowed over and Canterbury went into all out attacking mode, running from deep and punching holes in the visitors’ armour. An Oliver try and Frank Reynolds’ third conversion cut the deficit to seven and when prop Elliot Lusher made an eye catching break it was the prelude to slick handling and a Reynolds try. Raiders were now reeling under the onslaught and Canterbury’s adventure paid off handsomely when space was created for wing Frank Morgan’s 77th minute try which took his side back in front and recovered all the lost ground. As a final treat for the fervent crowd at the Simon Langton all weather facility, Oliver strolled over in the last minute to leave Reynolds an easy and satisfying shot at goal.
Canterbury: W.Waddington, G.Hilton (repl S.Sterling), L.Hollidge, T.Best (repl T.Williams), F.Morgan, F.Reynolds, B.Cooper, B.Young, E.O’Donoghue (repl N.Morris), C.Macmillan (repl E.Lusher), D.Irvine, J.De Vries, J.Stephens, C.Murray, T.Oliver