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Canterbury RFC head coach Andy Pratt targets historic third-place finish in National 2 South despite home defeat to Bishop's Stortford

By Alex Hoad

Head coach Andy Pratt refused to make any excuses as an uncharacteristically lacklustre Canterbury slipped to only their second home defeat of the season.

Beaten 32-30 by Clifton on the opening day, Canterbury had reeled off 13 straight wins at Merton Lane but the wheels came off on Saturday as a series of unforced errors enabled Bishop’s Stortford to grab a win which was more comfortable than the final scoreline suggested.

Canterbury's Tom Guest is stopped short against Bishop's Stortford. Picture: Fiona Stapley-Harding

Pratt admitted he had a lot of tired bodies in his squad but he did not want to offer that up as a reason for the performance.

He said: “The lads are gutted but I think it (the result) was down to a variety of things.

“The one thing I’d say and it’s a reflection on the squad and how well they’ve done, is that we’ve created a lot of expectation in a year when we’ve had the worst number of injuries I can remember, either as a player or a coach and they’ve still kept going.

“There is an element of running out of steam both physically and mentally but by the same token I don’t want to make any excuses. It wasn’t good enough, especially in the first half.”

Pratt said that despite the defeat, the squad should take huge pride from their achievements so far and now it was important they finish on a high, away to Clifton, on Saturday week.

He added: “If we can get a win there we’ll get third, which I think is the highest we’ve ever finished but Bishop’s Stortford have put pressure on us now. With that win (on Saturday), they could now still catch us.

“It’s a case of trying to rally them (the players) and get the focus back which I’m sure we can do.”

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