Canterbury Rugby Club suffer 32-30 defeat at home to Clifton in National 2 South opener thanks to stoppage-time converted try
Canterbury suffered a heartbreaking home defeat to open their National 2 South campaign, going down 32-30 to Clifton thanks to a converted try in stoppage-time.
The city club had launched a spirited second-half revival to put themselves in the driving seat, having trailed 17-0 at one stage in the opening 40 minutes.
However they failed to close out the game, having completed the turnaround in the final 10 minutes, and were punished by a last-gasp try which was converted by the last kick of the match to deny them even a draw.
The west country outfit took the lead after four minutes when a probing kick across the field from Tom Best, intended for wing Ricky Mackintosh, was intercepted by Auguy Slowik who raced 60m before freeing fullback Will Pomphrey to cross the line.
The second score saw flanker James Stephenson break two weak tackles to crash over the line for a 10-0 lead and the third arrived when Callum Brayley broke forward and recovered his own kick ahead to race to the line, adding the conversion himself for a 17-0 advantage.
A penalty from Best reduced the arrears and concerted pressure lead to Martyn Beaumont crossing in the corner before the turnaround to make it 17-8.
A second Canterbury try followed two minutes after the break when Mackintosh dashed inside and sent debutant Charlie Harding over the line to score.
Best converted, while the visitors lost a man to the sin-bin soon after, and Andy Pratt's side took full advantage, taking the lead when debutant Rob Lennox broke free to set-up Tom Sherson for a try, converted from the touchline by Best.
Clifton replied when they pounced on some sloppy handling and Pomphrey added his second score to level, only for Beaumont to break from his own line before sending Mackintosh through to touch down for a five-point lead late-on.
However, just needing to kill the game, Canterbury continued to press, only for the visitors to punish them with No8 Mitch Eadie barging over in the dying seconds to make it 30-30 allowing Brayley to seal victory with his boot.
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