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Canterbury RFC beat National 2 South leaders Hartpury College 44-29 at Merton Lane to consolidate promotion play-off place

By Alex Hoad

Canterbury produced a superb display to topple National 2 South leaders Hartpury College 44-29 and issue a statement of intent in their own promotion quest.

Canterbury (black and amber) take-on Hartpury in National 2 South.
Canterbury (black and amber) take-on Hartpury in National 2 South.

The outcome of one of the best and most physical games ever played at a packed Merton Lane was not settled until the final 10 minutes, though the city club's late fifth and sixth tries ensured they would record a bonus point win which consolidated their grip on the sole promotion play-off place.

Canterbury built a half-time lead of 11 points with Tom Best notching two penalties and two conversions, earning a penalty try and also firing through for the hosts' third score after Tom Rogers had touched down the second after good work from Martyn Beaumont and Aiden Moss.

The 25-14 lead was boosted by three sin-binnings for the visitors, who rallied after the interval with two quick scored to seize back the initiative.

Will Waldron's catch and drive score and a break from Steve Leonard within five minutes of the restart blew the game open, however with half an hour remaining full-back Craig Johnson saw red after a second yellow card and Canterbury took advantage with a catch-and-drive score from a lineout by Tom Rogers.

The drama was not over as Canterbury were reduced to 14 as Tom Sherson was sent to the bin and Will Tanner scored to reduce the gap to three with eight minutes remaining.

However Kwaku Asiedu bullied his way over for a vital try, which was converted, to give the city club some breathing space.

It left Hartpury chasing the game and in the final minute Beaumont made a fine interception and tore a full 80metres to touch down a spectacular final score.

After their ninth win in 10 games Canterbury are now three points adrift of Hartpury and five clear of Ampthill, whom they visit on Saturday.

Ampthill lost 41-36 at Redruth on Saturday but both they and Hartpury do have a game in hand on the city club.

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