By Andy Rogers
Canterbury made it three National League 2 East wins in a row with a 34-10 success at Guernsey in National League 2 East.
Wet and windy conditions battering the island added to the challenge, but Canterbury’s resilience saw them through thanks to plenty of controlled rugby despite the worst of the weather in the first half with back-row and influential No.8 Tyler Oliver in the thick of things.
Guernsey struck first against the run of play when, after 20 minutes, Canterbury were penalised for offside at the breakdown and from the resulting lineout home second-row Lewis Hillier was driven over.
That early momentum seemed to be drifting further away when Cameron Murray was singled out for 10 minutes in the sin-bin. Instead, those setbacks galvanized Canterbury and they drew level after half an hour, fly-half Frank Reynolds emerging from the bottom of a driving maul to claim the try.
When he converted his own score it was the start of a virtuoso performance from the No.10, who went on to net two tries, two penalties and four conversions for a haul of 24 points. Reynolds added a penalty goal before half-time which gave Canterbury a five-point advantage but it turned out to be a lead they never surrendered.
With 15 second-half minutes played prop Cam Macmillan drove over for his side's second try and five minutes later second-row Dave Irvine was rewarded for an afternoon’s hard graft by adding another to take the score to 27-5.
The home side were not finished, though, and spurred on by a noisy crowd found a try with fly-half Owen Thomas breaking the Canterbury cover to put centre Ciaran McGann over the line.
It was too little, too late and the final word, fittingly, went to player-of-the-match Reynolds as a confident Canterbury went looking for a bonus-point try.
Wingers Alfie Orris and Garry Jones went close after some lovely interplay with Will Waddington before forward pressure saw replacement scrum-half Ben Cooper set up Reynolds, who dummied and outpaced the cover to score under the posts.
Canterbury, in sixth, host Old Albanians on Saturday.
Canterbury: Waddington, Jones, Morgan, Best, Orris, Reynolds, Williams, Macmillan, Morrris, McColl, Irvine, Kerry, Stephens, Murray, Oliver. Replacements: O'Donoghue, Lusher, Cooper, Moss, Rogers