Published: 17:32, 13 September 2021
| Updated: 17:59, 13 September 2021
By David Haigh
Canterbury are still without a National League 2 South point as they slipped to a second narrow defeat.
Once again it was a case of what might have been in a performance which was good at times but spoiled by their own carelessness.
Twice the city club took the lead with well-worked tries; twice they allowed Old Albanian to claim the restarts and swiftly rub out the advantage with scores of their own.
Those basic failures and missed opportunities in the second half were to prove vital.
It was frustrating because Canterbury were always in the hunt once the game opened up after a nondescript first 20 minutes in which the home side dominated territory.
Dan Watt kicked them into the lead with a penalty goal, but Canterbury’s first real pressure brought a clever, sniping try from scrum-half Tom Williams which Frank Reynolds converted.
The joy of that lasted less than two minutes. At the restart Albanian wing Alex Ricci claimed the ball almost unchallenged, sprinted away to score and Watt’s conversion made the error more painful.
With both sides willing to run the ball the action was easy on the eye compared with the kickfests seen at higher levels and by half-time Canterbury had reclaimed the lead. A yellow card for Ricci was quickly punished as full-back Kyan Braithwaite rounded off a sweeping attack and Reynolds increased the margin to four points.
Albanians' backs got into their stride eight minutes into the second half, slick hands bringing a powerful finish by Tom Mills, with Watt again converting, but Canterbury found a different route to success.
A driving maul broke Albanians with Tristan King claiming the try and Reynolds adding a third conversion. It could have been a vital score. Instead, that second failure of the basics and lessons unlearned saw Albanians grab the restart and march down field where Morgan Thompson hammered his way over the line.
Watt made the kick good and with 10 minutes left on the clock Canterbury’s hopes took a dive when Tyler Oliver was yellow carded. The home side went for the kill and it duly came with a bonus-point try for back rower Ben Charnock.
Canterbury are at home to Worthing on Saturday.