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Canterbury 41-24 Guernsey Raiders
Canterbury 41-24 Guernsey Raiders

This was an emphatic victory for the city side and an important one, soothing their fears of being drawn into the National 2 East relegation scrap.

After a stunning start which brought a 19 points lead they wobbled slightly under a Raiders revival before taking charge with an impressive second half performance.  

Six tries were shared between backs and forwards but the foundations of this success were laid by a pack which dominated the set pieces and put Canterbury firmly on the front foot. 

Hooker Eoin O’Donoghue led the opening burst with a try in the third minute and Guy Hilton was only five minutes behind him. 

The third score was an individual gem as flanker Cameron Murray marked his last appearance before a spell in Australia with a powerful break.

Two conversions from Lewis Hollidge, looking totally at home in his switch to fly half, widened a gap which could have left Raiders in the rear view mirror but they shook off the early lethargy and hit back hard with three tries before the break, one converted by Owen Thomas.

Prop Jacob Pinckney from close quarters, wing Antony Armstrong completing a move full of good handling and support work, and in the last minute of the half a Dan Morgan catch and drive score threatened Canterbury’s prospects. 

Would they lose confidence?  The answers came quickly and ruthlessly as they cracked the Raiders defence twice in the first five minutes of the new half. 

Prop Billy Young surged over for his eleventh try of the season and Hollidge’s half dummy opened his own way to the line. 

He converted the Young try and as the forwards tightened their stranglehold Raiders were denied the ammunition to find a response.  

Mounting pressure brought a penalty goal for Hollidge and Tom Williams’ break had the crowd on its feet as his pace did the rest and Hollidge topped up the final try. 

Guernsey went home with a losing bonus point courtesy of a late catch drive score by Tom Ceillam but this was Canterbury’s day.

Canterbury: C.Kingsman, G.Hilton (repl T.Williams), W.Waddington, T.Best, F.Morgan (repl G.HIton), L.Hollidge (repl F.Reynolds), B.Cooper, B.Young (repl E.Lusher), E.O’Donoghue (repl C.Macmillan), D.Herriott, D.Irvine, J.De Vries (rel H.Furneaux), T.Oliver, C.Murray, J.Stephens.

Pictures supplied by Phillipa Hilton.