Pilgrims Make Good Start
PILGRIMS 19 THANET WANDERERS 12
A strong second half revival earned this Friday night pre-season victory for a largely young, untried Pilgrims side in the clash with local rivals Thanet. The visitors, who included former Canterbury first teamers Jimmy Green and Neil Wakefield, opened the scoring through an unconverted try after ten minutes. Wanderers, a strong, well drilled outfit, were giving Canterbury some problems and went further ahead after 29 minutes. A second try, this time down the right, and a good conversion left the Pilgrims 12 points adrift. Despite losing Adrian Geddes to a head injury the city side were now playing the better, open rugby and looked like scoring on a number of occasions in the last 15 minutes of the half.
The second half started with the visitors looking good but within five minutes Ollie Finn, a new recruit from Ashford who had an outstanding debut, crossed for a try, converted by Dan Hills. In a fast paced game both sides had scoring opportunities but it was Pilgrims who broke out of defence to take the lead. Jake Upward ran 70 metres to score and Hills converted. By now Pilgrims had lost Tom Short, Rob Blunden, Joe Craig and Alex Williams to injuries but it did not dent their confidence or quality as they matched a Wanderers side playing one level above them in the league structure. It was Thanet who began to struggle and the old war horse Dan Gill, following a Craig May latch, stretched the lead with his side’s third try, topped up by Gill’s conversion. The last five minutes were not easy but Pilgrims were full value for their win in front of a very good crowd at the Simon Langton 4G pitch facility.