Match Report this week is by Graham Callard, in Rick's absents.
Photo's by Drew Pratt
Thankfully the rain had relented before kick-off but there was still a stiff breeze to contend with. Crowborough decided to play up the slope and against the wind in the first half, a first half that started brightly for the visitors. For much of the opening minutes Canterbury 2’s found themselves deep in their own half having to tackle and tackle again as Crowborough played some excellent rugby. Forwards winning good ruck ball, backs using it effectively. Skipper Alex Purnell playing in the unaccustomed position of centre making an excellent break only to be thwarted short of the line. Almost ten minutes had passed before Canterbury were able to relieve the pressure which they did using the slope and the wind to their advantage.
Canterbury’s experience of playing at a higher level came to the fore with their lively scrum half making an excellent break. Crowborough were now in defensive mode. They didn’t disappoint with thumping tackles sending Canterbury backwards and keeping the try line untroubled.
Crowborough were holding their own and on the fifteen-minute mark took the lead with a moment of individual brilliance. The ball won at a dynamic ruck was moved wide to Jonte Fraser. Looking up, he spotted a gap in the home defence and darted through it. Side stepping past two would be tacklers saw him glide under the posts for the try that would have graced any ground. He added the conversion for a 0-7 score.
Canterbury gradually came into the game but were plagued by basic mistakes: knocking on when no-one was close by, dropping the ball in the maul, overthrowing at the lineout. With twenty-five minutes gone, it was still Crowborough looking the better side. Jonte Fraser and Sam Marchesi linking well in the backs, veterans Mark Rosier and Richard Tasker putting in the hard yards up front. Andy Kidd showcased powerful runs that had been putting Crowborough on the front foot, however he later on he had to leave the field with a hamstring injury.
With thirty minutes gone, Crowborough make their first mistake in a simple catch,0 dropped. The ball found its way deep into the visitor’s half. From an ensuing scrum, the ball was worked along the back line with the Canterbury wing finishing off the move in the corner. A simple but well executed try converted from wide out. The score now being 7-7.
Shortly after Canterbury went ahead, following a clever kick through by the home centre player, who recovered the kick and quickly released a support player on his right. He then in turn passed back inside, before it was shipped along one more with the receiving player going under the posts unopposed. The score now at 14-7.
As half time approached, Canterbury moved through the gears. From a maul, formed following a lineout, Canterbury drove forward to several pick and drives later - the big front row forward powered over under the posts. At Half time the score was 21-7 to Canterbury.
Not long after the break, Canterbury found themselves ahead with 26-7 score. The lightening quick right winger fielded a wayward kick and took the ball close to the line. An accurate offload kept the move going and several offloads later the No.8 powered over wide out. Crowborough weren’t going to lie down and were soon back on the attack. The scrum was working well sending Canterbury into reverse. The home defence held firm once the ball was moved wide, however Alex Purnell made another powerful charge but sadly missed the mark and worse brought his game to an end. He limped from the field with what looked like another hamstring injury of the game. Twelve minutes into the second half, Crowborough took a further three points on offer – which took the score to 26-10.
Canterbury wasted little time in extending the lead further with another try, through very good teamwork. However, the try wasn’t the issue for Crowborough, the injury suffered by the excellent Will Creasy was, In the process of trying to prevent the score, Creasy sustained what looked a very serious shoulder injury.
Crowborough continued to play, but it was clear that Canterbury always had an answer. Even when down to fourteen men, following a yellow card shown to Ed Rogers for a suggested high tackle, the boys didn’t let their heads drop. The salt however was well and truly put into the wound with two late tries from Canterbury. Their outstanding right-wing touch down for one, and then setting up the other try. The final score was 43-10 to Canterbury.
The difference in class between Canterbury and Crowborough teams was obvious, but every one of the eighteen players who took part for the guest team can hold their heads high. With some spectacular play by Canterbury at their home match, the quality was a league above and they were well deserving of their win this weekend.
No game on this Saturday and Beccehamian RFC are next up at Steel Cross on December 2nd.