County ri­vals ex­ploit gen­eros­ity

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Sport Starts Here -

No Christ­mas cheer for Can­ter­bury as they slipped to a third con­sec­u­tive de­feat in Na­tional 2 South, writes David Haigh.

In the spirit of the sea­son, it was the city side who handed out the most ex­pen­sive gifts, none big­ger than the try which left Ton­bridge Jud­di­ans the win­ners of this Kent derby.

It came af­ter Can­ter­bury had bat­tled back into the lead and were be­gin­ning to make threat­en­ing line breaks which should have set­tled the out­come.

In­stead, they wasted Guy Hil­ton’s con­verted try by con­ced­ing ter­ri­tory and a li­ne­out that went badly wrong al­lowed prop Alex Reid to go over the line.

It was the soft­est of scores and with Liam Prescott’s sec­ond con­ver­sion it was to prove fa­tal.

There were still al­most 20 min­utes re­main­ing but the city side’s poor game man­age­ment and small, un­forced er­rors un­der­mined them. Ton­bridge, solid work­man­like and mo­ti­vated, were al­ways surer in their han­dling and came on to the ball at pace, in stark con­trast to an of­ten static Can­ter­bury.

The hosts made a good start, dom­i­nat­ing the early ex­changes and cre­at­ing a try for full-back Ol­lie Best with quick han­dling.

TJS re­grouped and the steady pres­sure they built earned them two tries be­fore half time.

Pa­tience and sound hands saw cen­tre Dun­can Tout score in the 21st minute and the sec­ond went to Ge­orge Law­son, com­ing off his wing to ex­ploit a mid­field gap. Prescott con­verted.

Can­ter­bury would not have been too un­happy to reach the break seven points adrift, know­ing that the ad­van­tage of the slope is al­ways worth points.

That con­fi­dence was born out when Harry Say­ers put in a strong fin­ish in the min­i­mum of space and Ol­lie Best’s con­ver­sion from wide-out lev­elled the scores. But the home side’s old vul­ner­a­bil­ity at restarts gave TJS a foothold and a penalty goal for Prescott re­stored the vis­i­tors’ lead.

It was Can­ter­bury, how­ever, who were pos­ing the greater threat with the ball in hand and the Hil­ton try came off a break by Ricky Mack­in­tosh with Best’s con­ver­sion an added bonus.

What fol­lowed was a sad in­dict­ment of the city side’s in­abil­ity to fin­ish what they started, ob­serve the ba­sics and con­trol ter­ri­tory.

Once Reid had edged them back in front the vis­i­tors de­fended soundly, but in the fi­nal min­utes Can­ter­bury had the op­por­tu­nity to put their weak­nesses be­hind them. They won a penalty, drove an at­tack­ing li­ne­out pow­er­fully over 20 me­tres but were then held on the line. Like most of this per­for­mance, they came up just short. Can­ter­bury:, J.mur­ray, R.mack­in­tosh,, H.say­ers (repl W.far­ris),, K.braithwaite (repl G.hil­ton),­ley (repl A.cooper), J.otto (repl S.kenny, R.cad­man, M.corker, J.stephens, S.clark, M. Cantwell (repl A.wood­ward).

Can­ter­bury’s Dan Smart breaks against Ton­bridge Jud­di­ans

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