ARMSTRONG ADDS TO INJURY WOES
By Katie Daunt
Canterbury 38, Raiders 15
The jinx lives on.
Another largely encouraging performance and, for a short while, a prospect of an upset against the league’s second best side, ended with a 20th defeat of the National Two South campaign and another bad injury to restrict the selection choices even further.
This time it is Anthony Armstrong struck down, not with his shoulder this time, but a hamstring.
How long he will be out is not yet known, but it should be a few weeks and, touch wood, hopefully he will be back in plenty of time for the Siam.
Promotion chasing Canterbury won a tightly-fought match at Footes Lane back in the autumn when the two sides last met and since then their form has been superb and, as expected, they dominated the opening exchanges of the game on a sunny afternoon in leafy Kent.
But Raiders defended well until Canterbury finally broke through their defence 10 minutes in for a converted try under the posts: 7-0.
The green and whites were using the slope well and fought back to lead.
Pinning down the home team into their own 22 a strong scrum from the Raiders sent Douglas Horrocks down the blind side and the No. 8 slipped the ball to Armstrong who in full flow dived over in the corner.
The conversion was missed by Owen Thomas but we were on the scoreboard and it soon got better.
With Canterbury on the attack Anthony Armstrong intercepted the ball in the Raiders 22 and ran the length of the pitch chased by the Canterbury backs to score his second try.
The conversion attempt hit the post but Raiders were three in front.
Canterbury continued to force the pace with continuous attacks and clearance kicks by the green and whites dropping into the Canterbury backs who duly ran it back.
They eventually broke through the Raiders defence for a try and although the conversion was missed they now led 12-10.
Sadly, at this point, just when it looked like Armstrong was going to put in another strong attack effort his purple patch ended in pain and the big man had to leave the field with a torn hamstring.
At this point with 10 minutes left in the half Canterbury inflicted further misery to the Raiders with three quickfire tries, two of them converted, to finish the half strongly at 31-10 ahead.
After the break Canterbury looked to use the slope and wind to their advantage, but they got little joy as gutsy Raiders side repeatedly attacked.
Raiders battered the home side’s defensive line with gusto for 15 minutes before a Canterbury attack saw them increase their lead with a converted try.
Unperturbed by this the Raiders - to their huge credit - continued to take the game to Canterbury whose defence held out well.
Eventually, a fine move saw Daley Aremu tackled into touch going for a try in the corner.
Soon afterwards the Raiders forwards drove over the Canterbury’s try line for Matt Creber to come up with the ball.
Again the conversion was missed by Thomas and the scoring was over for the day.
Both sides made good use of their replacements as cramp and knocks set in, which saw Raiders No.8 Douglas Horrocks put his hand up to give young scrum half Tom Teasdale a rest. The game continued to be about keeping good defensive lines. Raiders continued to force their way into the home side’s half but to no avail and the game ended with the Raiders proving that despite being at the bottom of the league they are no push over.
Our thanks to our vocal supporters who made the journey to Canterbury.
This week they are home at Footes Lane to Old Redcliffians. That game is at 2pm followed, at 4pm, by the big Sussex two title decider between St Jacques Vikings and Barns Green.
It promises to be a great day of rugby, with it also being the annual Ladies Day event.