Pilgrims Purple Patch
CANTERBURY PILGRIMS 43 CROWBOROUGH 10
by David Haigh
Billed as the Match of the Day between the only two unbeaten sides in Counties 1 Kent it ended in a decisive victory for league leaders Pilgrims. A Crowborough side which arrived at Merton Lane with an impressive winning run of 20 games, stretching back to last season, dominated the first quarter but then had no answer to Canterbury’s pace and their power in the loose. In a purple patch, fifteen minutes either side of half time, they scored four tries and seldom gave the visitors another look-in. It had been a test of Pilgrims defence until the 27th minute when they finally got their hands on the ball from a clearance kick. Wing Sonny Trew-Neville made an elusive run, full back Gus Lister finished off with the try and Tom McMann converted from wide out. That wiped out the seven points Crowborough had in the bank, from a fine individual try and conversion by their fly half, and before half time Pilgrims had scored two more. The backs produced the break and accurate handling for Jack Weaver to touch down and when the visitors collapsed a maul the penalty cost them a lineout and a pick and go try for Adrian Geddes. McMann converted both to open a fourteen point gap and two minutes after the break Pilgrims stamped their authority on the game even further. Another penalty led to a close range try from skipper Alex Evans and Crowborough were stranded. The one area they came to control was the set scrums but a tolerant referee did not punish Pilgrims heavily and it only cost them a penalty goal. In the final quarter it was all Canterbury with tries from prop Freddy Holland-Oliver, converted by McMann, great creative work by the backs for Weaver’s second and, in the closing minute, a joyful finish from lock Jesse De Vies rewarded his all round effort. .
Pilgrims: G.Lister, J.Weaver, T.Halliday, B.Law, S.Trew-Neville. T.McMann, P.Farrance. A.Malik, B.Dunkerley, F.Holland-Oliver, L.Webber, J.De Vries, J.Dengate, T.Mackenzie, A.Evans. Replacements: A.Gedddes, D.Gill, H.Valldares