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Canterbury 36-33 Worthing Raiders
Canterbury 36-33 Worthing Raiders

A try from skipper Jamie Stephens in the final minute gave a resilient Canterbury the maximum spoils. 

It was a dramatic end to a game in which neither side established proper control and lacked basic discipline which was reflected in seven yellow cards.

Eight tries were equally shared but Raiders were in the lead for long periods. It was the dominance of the Canterbury scrum that kept them in check and played a key part in the victory. 

A Frank Reynolds penalty goal put the city side in front,  a lead they never regained until the 68th minute. Worthing gave themselves a platform with two tries, the first a catch and drive score from Jack Lake and the second by centre Harrison Sims who enjoyed the missed tackles on his way to the line.

Tom Derrick had an easy conversion. It was past the half hour mark before Canterbury broke Raiders stranglehold on territory. The back division were not in great shape but when a penalty brought a catch and drive chance the forwards obliged through a score from Alex Evans. 

It took Raiders just two minutes to reply as more poor defending handed Derrick a try which he converted. 

Before half time the city scrummagers came to the rescue, shunting Raiders over their own line where Evans pounced again. Reynolds slotted the goal but it still left Canterbury four points behind. 

The visitors pushed further ahead in the second half with a close range try from prop Ben Featherstone and a Derrick conversion, but in the final quarter Canterbury stirred. 

Forward pressure brought a close range finish for Shay Kerry and there was now a renewed pace in their attacks.

The most fluent effort of the day from the city backs gave wing Garry Jones the chance to break and send Frank Morgan clear for the converted try which won back the lead.

Any good feeling might have evaporated five minutes before the end. With Tom Best in the sin bin – no sympathy from the officials on his 300th appearance – Worthing’s catch and drive finished by Sims could have been a clincher. 

But Canterbury do not give up easily, building intense pressure which produced a flurry of yellow cards for Raiders, and when Stephens planted the ball against a post in that last act they could celebrate a win, scruffy as it was.

Canterbury: W.Waddington, G.Jones, F.Morgan (repl B.Law) T.Best, A.Orris, F.Reynolds, T.Williams (rep B.Cooper),  E.Lusher, N.Morris (repl S.Rogers), D.Herriott (repl D.Huntley),  S.Kerry, J.Stephens, A.Evans, (repl C.Murray),  E.O’Donoghue, T.Oliver.

Pictures supplied by Phillipa Hilton.