Pilgrims Grind Out Victory
ASHFORD 0 CANTERBURY PILGRIMS 19
by John Mitchell
On very cold, damp winter’s days like this league position and form goes out of the window and so it proved as the unbeaten Pilgrims had to grind out victory. In the process they scored three unanswered tries, were excellent in defence but missed out on a bonus point for the first time this season. They started well, with fast tempo and a try within minutes. Great all round backs play saw full back Gus Lister join the line and sprint over for the touchdown but Tom McMann failed to convert. Within minutes Gus went close again with another great run and there was continued pressure as Alex Evans and Harvey Furneaux tested the home defence. Scores, however, were elusive as Pilgrims were sucked into Ashford’s tactics, lost ball in contact and made poor decisions. The home side were not short of possession either but could do nothing to break a resolute Canterbury defence where Jake Dengate set the standard with his heavy hits. That early try was the only score of the first half but the team regrouped and came out firing after the break. From the off veteran prop Dan Gill scored a trade mark try, wrestling over from close range, and Tom McMann duly obliged with the conversion. The game continued to be riddled with mistakes and Canterbury straying from the game plan. Then with fifteen minutes to go a penalty kicked to touch, a line-out and an excellent push over try for Brandon Dunkerley – his first of the season – settled the result. McMann converted and there was still enough time left to earn that four try bonus point. But that was not going to happen against a stubborn Ashford side who took control of the set scrums. A shut out away from home is always good, but Pilgrims could have played so much better. There was little to warm us on a chilly day but the result sees Canterbury take a nine point lead at the top of Counties 1 Kent.
Pilgrims: G.Lister, J.Weaver, J.Richardson, S.Trew-Neville, A.Geddes, T.McMann, P.Farrance, D.Huntley, B.Dunkerley, D.Gill, W.Hunt, T.Mackenzie, J.Dengate, H.Furneaux, A.Evans. Replacements: H.Andrews, J.Everratt, H.Valldares
Next game this coming weekend is at home v Bromley at 2:00pm