Redingensian Rams 21 Canterbury 14
By David Haigh
A massive and courageous defensive effort and a late try earned Canterbury a losing bonus point that was richly deserved. As a lesson in soaking up pressure the city side’s second half performance was a textbook exercise.
A crippling injury list forced head coach Andy Pratt to send out an untried back row and half back combination to face a top three Rams team which has one of the best forward packs in National 2 South.
His patched-up squad did themselves proud, Redingensians’ control of possession and territory in those last 40 minutes was overwhelming but making it count was another matter.
The city side’s commitment and ability to turn over ball constantly frustrated them and Rams only confirmed their victory with a last minute try.
Canterbury made the early running and took the lead in the eleventh minute when they collected a Rams kick, moved the ball wide and Aiden Moss threaded his way through the defence for a try which Kyan Braithwaite converted.
Strong hints of what lay ahead , however, started to emerge in the second quarter as Rams built pressure, the penalty count against the city side rose and fly half Adrian Jarvis’s two goals left his side a point behind at the interval.
From the kick-off the second half became a one-way street with the Rams forwards taking a stranglehold and Canterbury battling to stay alive.
It took a yellow card for flanker Vaughn Meredith to break their resolve as the next lineout brought a catch and rive try for Rams hooker Ben Henderson which Jarvis converted.
If that looked ominous Canterbury did not recognise it. Rams continued to pound the line, the city side stripped them of the ball brilliantly but once they had won it back lacked cool heads.
Against all the odds and with five minutes left on the clock they broke out and scored.
Braithwaite chipped expertly into space, Kieran Thompson gathered and put JJ Murray in the clear.
Braithwaite’s conversion revived hopes of a remarkable turnaround but it was Rams, who had seen one clear cut effort recalled for a forward pass, who found their second try at the death.
Tom Vooght scored it from another catch and drive but Jarvis’s shot at goal curled wide and Canterbury brought home that hard earned bonus point.
Canterbury: A.Moss (repl A.Miller) R.Mackintosh, F.Morgan, S.Sterling (repl K.Thompson), J.Murray, K.Braithwaite, D.Smart, A.Cooper, T.Rogers (repl J.Otto), A.Wake-Smith, (repl J.Green), R.Cadman, M.Corker, C.Townley (repl A.Woodward), V.Meredith, L.Woodbridge