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Canterbury 15-38 Barnes
Canterbury 15-38 Barnes

This was a frustrating Canterbury performance as they gave Barnes a head start and then were too inaccurate to sustain a threatened second half revival. 

Conceding four tries before the break to one of National 2 East’s in-form sides left them struggling for credibility and although they lifted the tempo of their game in the third quarter, too many basic errors killed off the challenge.

The visitors went ahead after only three minutes as their backs exposed the Canterbury defence all too easily for Jordan Souter’s try. 

A Frank Reynolds penalty goal pegged that back but it took a confident Barnes only a minute to fashion a second try scored by wing Paul O’Dell. 

A penalty gave the visitors the territory for a third  score, this time a close quarter finish as lock James Bloxham crashed over and Simon Keller’s second conversion pushed the lead to a comfortable sixteen points.

Canterbury did settle more at this stage and while they threatened little in attack the deficit looked manageable if they could hold on to half time.

Those hopes were dashed when Dave Irvine went to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on and the penalty conceded put Barnes where they wanted be.

Hooker Alex March drove over, Keller converted and the bonus point was in the visitors pocket.   

How important that score became was highlighted when Canterbury engaged a higher gear after the break. 

They played with pace and ambition, which paved the way for a good try by Guy Hilton, and going into the last twenty minutes forward pressure made another inroad with an Irvine try and a Reynolds conversion. 

But all that effort was undermined by dropped passes and possession turned over in contact. 

Barnes re-asserted control of the late stages with tries for Cameron Leigh and Chris Stegman and a Keller conversion, while Canterbury’s woes were compounded by Sam Sterling’s red card for an illegal tip tackle.

Canterbury: C.Kingsman, G.Hilton, S.Sterling, L.Hollidge (repl T.Halliday), F.Morgan, F.Reynolds, B.Cooper (repl T.Williams), B.Young, N.Morris (repl C.Macmillan), E.Lusher (repl D.Herriott), D.Irvine, J.Stephens, H.Furneaux, C.Murray (repl S.Rogers) T.Oliver.

Pictures supplied by Phillipa Hilton.