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Canterbury 30 Leicester Lions 27: National League 2 South match report


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By David Haigh

To say Canterbury left things late would be an understatement as they snatched this victory deep in stoppage time with their fifth try of the afternoon.

A patient build up and outstanding ball retention were rewarded when Frank Reynolds scored under a pile of Lions defenders to give his side a maximum five National League 2 South points.

Canterbury's Frank Morgan leaves Leicester Lions grounded on the way to victory. Picture: Phillipa Hilton
Canterbury's Frank Morgan leaves Leicester Lions grounded on the way to victory. Picture: Phillipa Hilton

It seemed they had missed their chance when, three minutes earlier, Reynolds failed to convert Aiden Moss' second try which would have earned his side a draw. But all was forgiven when the fly-half put the finishing touches to the last play of the game.

That late surge stunned a Leicester team who were sitting on a seven-point lead and looking warm favourites in the closing stages.

After trailing at the break they scored three tries in a see-saw second half and must have thought they had done just enough to earn the win. That they failed was no criticism, because Canterbury found a rhythm and determination that would have tested any side.

The quality of that spell was in stark contrast to a poor first half when both teams were guilty of basic errors.

Canterbury's Jamie Stephens takes on Leicester Lions. Picture: Phillipa Hilton
Canterbury's Jamie Stephens takes on Leicester Lions. Picture: Phillipa Hilton

Lions took an early lead through a Ben Young dropped goal, but surrendered it to close-range tries from front row men Will McColl and Tristan King, with Reynolds adding a conversion.

A great chip and chase by Lions full-back Alex Wilcockson and Young's conversion narrowed the gap to two points by half-time, but the visitors upped their game after the break.

Hooker Ollie Taylor's converted try took them back into the lead before a yellow card for Young gave the city side an opportunity.

Reynolds kicked a penalty goal and Moss cruised through acres of space to make a touchdown. Lions came back strongly as Taylor, their top try scorer this season, grabbed a second and when wing Jake Sterland latched on to Young's shrewd cross kick with seven minutes remaining Canterbury were left chasing the game.

They chased in such a positive fashion that they will travel to Barnes on Saturday confident in their own abilities.

Tyler Oliver powers forward against Leicester Lions. Picture: Phillipa Hilton
Tyler Oliver powers forward against Leicester Lions. Picture: Phillipa Hilton

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