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Canterbury 20-32 Old Albanian
Canterbury 20-32 Old Albanian

Two tries in the space of three second half minutes eased Albanians to victory but the the scoreline was harsh on Canterbury’s spirited contribution to this National 2 East game.

The decisive tries came when the city side were, a little unluckily, down to thirteen players after the referee showed yellow cards to Cameron Macmillan and Frank Reynolds.

The visitors took full advantage of that mismatch with a second try from wing Toby Evans while fly half Alex Noot claimed his side’s fifth touchdown. 

Before those players were sent to the sin bin, replacement prop Macmillan for an alleged accumulation of scrum offences before he even got on the pitch and Reynolds for a high tackle, there were only seven points between the teams and the city side were playing some good rugby.   

After a slow start, which allowed Albanians to take an eight point lead through a Noot penalty goal and a try by Wilson Ijeh, chasing down a probing kick from Elliot McPhun, Canterbury arrived at half time 13-8 ahead. 

The margin could have been greater had a city side, who controlled the set scrums, been able to turn pressure into points. 

They had to be content with two Reynolds penalty goals until the final minute of the half when the fly half spotted a gap and sent Guy Hilton between the post for a converted try. 

With slope and wind to master after the break it was not a convincing lead and an Albanian side that solved its scrum problems and were quick to identify space took control of the early minutes.

A blind side probe ended with a Jarryd Sage try, converted by Noot, and a powerful and impressive run from wingman Evans pushed them into the lead.   

Canterbury, however, were still positive and finding holes which promised more points. 

Then came the yellow cards which damaged them beyond repair.  When  back to full strength they gave a glimpse of what might have been, attacking with purpose and creating a converted try for prop Billy Young, a just reward for his outstanding afternoon’s work.

Canterbury: W.Waddington, G.Hilton, T.Halliday, T.Best, S.Lanre, F.Reynolds, B.Cooper, B.Young, N.Morris, D.Herriott, D.Irvine, J.De Vries, J.Stephens, C.Murray, T.Oliver.

Replacements: F.Morgan, J Dengate, C.Macmillan, T.Williams, E Lusher.

Pictures supplied by Phillipa Hilton.