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Canterbury 52-14 Westcliff
Canterbury 52-14 Westcliff

The resolution of the Canterbury pack got the New Year away to the best of starts as they laid the foundations of this decisive National 2 East victory. 

Full back Will Waddington was the individual star of the show, grabbing three of his side’s eight tries, but it was forward power that made life hard for struggling Westcliff who were rarely allowed to get on the front foot. 

The city club’s mastery of the testing conditions was another crucial factor and with wind and rain behind them theyreached half time 26 points clear and a bonus point in their pocket. 

The question was whether they could sustain that performance with the elements against them and it was answered emphatically.

After concedingan early second half try they erased all doubts and ran away with the game in the final fifteen minutes. 

The Canterbury forwards made an early statement with tries from Number eight Tyler Oliver and lock Dave Irvine in the opening seven minutes. 

Frank Reynolds, who went on to land six conversions, added the goal points to both scores.   

Forceful carrying and close range drives set up prop Billy Young for the third try but it seemed Canterbury might have to settle for that as Westcliff, with the centre partnership of Reece Whiting and Jack Hogarth often prominent, found some momentum.

A heavy penalty count and a yellow card for Young put the city side under pressure which they not only survived but produced a bonus point score. 

A slick off-load, clever footwork from Waddington and a Reynolds conversion, built a substantial cushion. 

Westcliff fly half Greg Bannister unpicked some of the threads with a neat interception, a good finish and an excellent conversion three minutes into the second half  but the city side’s response was swift and determined; Reynolds made a scything break to set up Tom Best for the fifth try.

There was only one minor hitch to Canterbury’s smooth progress when Westcliff seized on a loose ball and hooker Teddy Edwards won a touchdown which Bannister again converted.

The visitors, however, battered at the scrums and leaking penalties, wilted under the lateonslaught and could do nothing as the city club backs cut loose.

Space was made for Waddington to twice sprint clear and seconds before the final whistle scrum half Tom Williams completed a victory which sees Canterbury move up a place in the league table.

Canterbury: W.Waddington, G.Hilton, L. Hollidge, T.Best, F. Morgan, F.Reynolds, B.Cooper, B.Young, N.Morris, D.Herriott, D.Irvine, J.De Vries, J.Dengate, C.Murray, T.Oliver. Replacements: R.Gladdish, J.Stephens, E.Lusher, T.Williams, C.Macmillan.

Pictures supplied by Phillipa Hilton.