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Canterbury 29 Guernsey 17: National League 2 South match report


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By David Haigh

Canterbury gave the Christmas crowd just the present they wanted with a five-try 29-17 National League 2 South win over Guernsey.

In a performance that shone through the heavy mist shrouding Merton Lane, they tamed their lively midtable visitors with a dominant second-half display. There was quality, as well as quantity, from the city club as they ran in three tries after the interval, two of them scored while playing short-handed with Kyan Braithwaite in the sin-bin.

Canterbury's Jamie Stephens powers forward against Guernsey Picture: Phillipa Hilton
Canterbury's Jamie Stephens powers forward against Guernsey Picture: Phillipa Hilton

A confident back division made light work of that handicap, rewarding the turnover expertise of a combative pack handsomely. The foundations were laid in a shrewd first-half display as Canterbury shrugged off a Guernsey try from wing Anthony Armstrong, converted by Dan Rice, and edged in front before the break.

Frank Reynolds' charge-down try came after sustained pressure, Braithwaite converted, and in the last minute of the half the hosts went ahead. The versatile Tristan King, starting as a flanker, made a decisive break and when the ball was recycled he was on the end of good handling to make the touchdown.

A Canterbury weakness this season has been the failure to capitalise on half-time leads, but they did not make that mistake this time. Playing with purpose, they forged further ahead after 55 minutes.

Replacements Will Waddington, making the break, and Ben Cooper combined for Cooper's try which left Braithwaite with a simple conversion.

Canterbury's Guy Hilton in possession against Guernsey Picture: Phillipa Hilton
Canterbury's Guy Hilton in possession against Guernsey Picture: Phillipa Hilton

The moment that might have derailed them came with the yellow card as Guernsey hammered at the Canterbury line. That sparked a fierce response as a great turnover set the backs free, Dwayne Corcoran chipped over the last defender and Aiden Moss won the race for the touchdown.

Guernsey hit back quickly through fly-half Owen Thomas to narrow the gap to 12 points, but classy handling saw Corcoran kill their slim hopes with a fifth try. Consolation of sorts went to Guernsey with a last-minute score from No.8 Doug Horrocks, but the result was beyond doubt by then.

Canterbury, 13th in the table, return to league action on January 8 with a home game against Old Albanians.

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