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Canterbury head of rugby Andy Pratt urges his players to build on their maiden National 1 win over Cinderford

Canterbury head of rugby Andy Pratt has challenged his players to make sure their historic first win in National League 1 is not a one-off.

A fluctuating contest against Cinderford at the Marine Travel Ground on Saturday saw the city club lead 12-0 and then trail 17-12 before clinching victory through Sam Sterling’s late try, which was converted by Tom Best.

The 19-17 success ended a run of 13 straight defeats which followed Canterbury’s promotion from National 2 South, and Pratt admitted it was nice for the division’s bottom club to finally experience that winning feeling.

Canterbury's players celebrate their thrilling 19-17 win over Cinderford. Picture: Phillipa Hilton
Canterbury's players celebrate their thrilling 19-17 win over Cinderford. Picture: Phillipa Hilton

He said: “It’s been a long time coming and I can’t deny it felt really good.

“I was pleased for the players really, the win will be big in terms of their confidence and belief.

“It’s not been a great time but the boys have never stopped working.

“Every week we’ve just tried to focus on our own performance and try to get up to League 1 standard and we’ve done that now.

“Finally having that ‘W’ will be important but we can’t sit back on it. We’ve got to do it again.”

Cinderford director or rugby Paul Morris was among the first to congratulate Pratt who admitted he was delighted that the first win came in the last home match before Christmas.

Canterbury head of rugby Andy Pratt
Canterbury head of rugby Andy Pratt

He added: “I thought we deserved to win but we never do things particularly easily.

“At 12-all we had a period of pressure shortly after half-time which we didn’t quite convert but the pattern of the game was such I knew we’d get another go.

“We got a bit of luck but maybe we created that luck and were due some.

“Some of our better performances have actually come away from home so it was nice to do it in front of our supporters because they’ve been fantastic.”

Pratt was delighted with a home penalty count of just four and Canterbury will need to be similarly disciplined when they travel to Rotherham Titans on Saturday.

Pratt explained: “Rotherham have a big set of forwards and they are very experienced at this level. I think the battle up front will be key, the set piece in particular.”

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