Canterbury 19 Tonbridge Juddians 27
After seventeen months of rugby inaction there was a sense of relief that this pre-season friendly finally lifted the gloom at Canterbury’s Marine Travel Ground. What also lit up the afternoon was the performance of a young Canterbury squad which has lost some its most experienced members during the Covid shut down.
Since these sides last met they have swapped league status, Juddians taking the relegated city club’s place in National Division One.
But it was Canterbury who took the initiative, forcing TJ’s into errors and by the half way stage were leading 14-10 with tries from Tom Best and Sam Sterling, new fly half Frank Reynolds and Best adding conversions.
There was a more experienced look about the visitors squad but they were made to work hard for their scores, one from close quarters and the second a long range run when a city attack went wrong.
With the game split into twenty minute sessions, frequent changes in personnel meant shifts in power and Juddians used them to take control of the sets scrums but still found themselves two point down going into the last session. They grabbed a try from a charge down but Canterbury replied with the best score of the day, finished in style by Jack Weaver. In the final quarter a clever break by Reynolds was frustrated by a dropped pass and the visitors grabbed a couple of scores to edge the game. Canterbury, however, will take so many positives from a match which proved they have solid building blocks on which to construct their season.