KSN are proud to support:

Tonbridge Juddians 29-31 Canterbury
Tonbridge Juddians 29-31 Canterbury

Canterbury snatched victory with a try in the final minute of this terrific Kent derby.

It was a pulsating end to a National 2 East game that swung first the city club’s way and then, in a fiercely contested second half, to a resurgent Juddians.

After overhauling Canterbury’s  fourteen point half time lead the home side thought they had won it through Tom White’s 79th minute penalty goal. 

But one minute can be a long time in rugby and a committed Canterbury hurled themselves back into attack, kept the ball alive skillfully and fly half Frank Reynolds squeezed over by the corner flag. 

To add to the tension there was a consultation between the referee and his assistant before the score was justly awarded.  

After the capitulation at Dorking the previous week there was a new steel about Canterbury’s approach and the return of long term absentees like Tristan King, Sam Sterling and, from the replacements bench, Charlie Kingsman, gave Matt Corker’s squad a more balanced look.

They fell behind to an early try from TJs centre Duncan Tout but hit back with three of their own and gave nothing away in defence before the break.

A dominant lineout and clever turnovers served them well. Cameron Murray finished off a precise handling move for the first score, hooker Nathan Morris completed a catch and drive and, in the last minute of the half, skipper Jamie Stephens crashed through despite Canterbury losing Sterling to the sin bin.

The first 20 minutes of the second half put the city side through their sternest test. 

They defended brilliantly but lost Jesse Dr Vries to a yellow card and by the hour mark it was all square as the TJs backs produced tries for Bryan Hotston and Howard Packman, both converted by White.

Having come through the fire Canterbury’s composure paid off as they worked a fourth, bonus point touch down for front row man Eoin O’Donoghue and Reynolds made his third successful conversion. 

That seven point advantage was quickly wiped by the home side as Josh Van Buuren powered over the line and White brought the sides level again.

When the experienced fly half nervelessly landed that late penalty goal it seemed like job done but Canterbury still had a last clear message; never write us off.

Canterbury: W.Waddington, G.Hilton, S.Sterling, L.Hollidge (repl C.Kingsman), F.Morgan, F.Reynolds, B.Cooper (repl T.Williams), B.Young, N.Morris (repl E.O’Donoghue), D.Herriott (repl C.Macmillan), D.Irvine (repl N.Morris),  J.De Vries, T.King (repl H.Furneaux), C.Murray, J.Stephens.

Picture supplied by Phillipa Hilton.