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Canterbury 31-12 Rochford Hundred
Canterbury 31-12 Rochford Hundred

For Canterbury, relief as they ended a four game losing run with a bonus point victory and won praise from Head Coach Matt Corker.

“I am really pleased for the players after a difficult period.” he said.

“Our composure and the way we played territory in the second half was excellent.”   

Two tries in the final ten minutes sealed the win after Rochford had cut a comfortable seventeen point lead to just five and once again raised doubts about Canterbury’s resilience.

Too often the closing stages have been the city side’s downfall but this time they had the game and the power to pass the test with scores from Ben Cooper and Alex Evans.    

They knew they had work to do after a largely dominant but patchy first half was marred by errors and ended with a modest ten point lead. 

Frank Reynolds, who made an important contribution with a flawless display from the tee, converting all four tries, put the first points on the board with a penalty goal but it was not until the 28th minute that Canterbury could top it up. 

The visitors defence for once went missing and Tyler Oliver scored under the posts.  

Rochford, however, could be quietly pleased as they had the breeze and the slope in their favour after the break. 

They made an early impact in the second half but a try saving tackle by Will Calder and a great turnover from Frankie Morgan rescued Canterbury and from that point they took control of the third quarter. 

Rochford leaked penalties and when Reynolds kicked his side into the corner the pack did the rest with a driving maul and touch down from prop Elliot Lusher.

All seemed well in the Canterbury camp until the Rochford backs, quiet for much of the day, sprung to life and produced two tries in the space four minutes Centre Manni Muzuzu scored them both, the first from a move to savour, and with a Chris Dudman conversion trouble loomed for Canterbury. 

It was then that a new found character and good decision making were rewarded. Reynolds and Tom Best combined neatly to send scrum half Ben Cooper in for the third try and a tiring Rochford were firmly trapped in their own territory. 

As the game wound down they were pressured into another penalty, the city forwards pounced with a powerful driving maul and Alex Evans completed a job well done.

Canterbury: R.Howard, W.Calder (repl M.Halliday), W.Waddington (repl T.Halliday), T.Best, F.Morgan, F.Reynolds, B.Cooper, B.Young (repl A.Cooper), N.Morris, D.Herriott (repl E.Lusher), D.Irvine (repl A.Evans), J.Stephens, H.Andrews, C.Murray, T.Oliver.

Picture supplied by Phillipa Hilton.