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Canterbury 35-44 Tonbridge Juddians
Canterbury 35-44 Tonbridge Juddians

An epic derby battle ended in huge disappointment for Canterbury who saw a 23 point lead wrestled from their grasp as Juddians turned up the power in the second half.    

After seeing  his battered troops just fail to hold the line Head Coach Matt Corker said: “I could not fault the effort the boys put in but towards the end we were strugglingphysically and that was the difference.” 

An absorbing National 2 East game produced twelve tries and Canterbury, after conceding an earlyscore to Josh Groocock, rattled in four in the first half hour.

With fly half Charlie Kingsman converting the lot they seemed irresistible. Aiden Moss made all the running for Ben Cooper’s opener and when an under pressure Juddians lost Rob Louw to a yellow card they were punished with two scores in three minutes.

Tom Best joined a driving maul to touch down and in the 25th minute his switch of play and good handling pavedthe way for Will Waddington.  

There was more to come as the fragile visitors were carved open again and Guy Hilton had the simplest of run ins. 

As a platform for victory this was as good as it gets, but before half time the cracks appeared and the momentum swung, almost imperceptibly, to the visitors.

With former Canterbury man Harvey Young always a danger they had passed up earlier chances but now hit back with tries from forwards Luke Boon and Charlie Munnelly.

With a couple of conversions from Tom White, Canterbury’s lead was down to eleven. A lucky break early in the second half, when Kingsman’s sliced drop goal attempt fell into the path of Moss, ended with Frank Morgan trotting under the posts, but from then on Juddians were a controlling force. 

Now it was their turn to dominate possession, build the phases, win penalties and and suck the life out of Canterbury.

Tries from Matteo Petrozzi, Duncan Tout and Young brought them within a point of a fading and injury prone team.

The telling blow came four minutes from the end as wing Bryan Hotston was sent across the line and White converted.

To add to Canterbury’s many frustrations, White’s late penalty goal denied them asecond bonus point.

Canterbury: A.Moss, G.Hilton, W.Waddington, T.Best, F.Morgan, C.Kingsman, B.Cooper, B.Young, N.Morris, D.Herriott, D.Irvine, J.Stephens, H.Andrews, A.Evans, C.Murray.

Replacements: A.Cooper, E.Lusher, F.W Edwards, H.Sansbury, W.Calder.

Pictures supplied by Phillipa Hilton.