Scorers: Hari Roblin x2
Following last week’s huge away win at Hailsham (6-0 in case you’re wondering, cheers for the match report Dave Shelly…), the ‘Grims looked to cement their place in the lofty heights of second place with a home game against Crawley, a side steeped in mid-table mediocracy. Things looked to be off to a good start for Wadey’s Warriors when one of the umpires pulled out with illness (probably dizzy at the prospect of trying umpire a match involving the league’s most cut-throat attacking side), meaning the 4’s own Andy Hurst was expected to step in. Unfortunately, a “suitable” replacement was found in time – not that this did anything to dent Brad Lee’s confidence, having enjoyed a swift one prior to push-back.
With pre-match warnings of complacency from the skipper still ringing in their ears, the ‘Grims started the match at break-neck speed, winning a couple of early short corners and keeping Crawley penned in their own half. The young Canterbury side (average age: 20.5, young enough to give certain members of the royal family a wide berth) soon went one up when Hari Roblin coolly converted after a Max Shilling effort was cleared off the line. The Pilgrims kept the pressure up, hounding and harrying the more experienced and, er, much larger away side, and Roblin Jr. doubled Canterbury’s lead with some lovely 3d skills, taking him past the ‘keeper to convert.
2 up at half-time (no Brad, not time for another ‘half’) concerns were raised by some senior members that the Pilgrims had taken their foot off the gas, and there was a need to get stuck in again during the second half. Max ‘just an angry Seth Coode’ Shilling clearly took this to heart, almost flattening one of Crawley’s forwards in Canterbury’s 23 and giving away a short-corner, which the Canterbury defence stood strong against. Inspired by this, Dan Gent got his elbows out, prompting the stand-in umpire to get his cards out. Clearly the excuse for being half the size of your opponent no longer holds any traction.
Canterbury managed to survive the Crawley onslaught, who had got themselves back in the game with a lucky goal from a short corner (congrats to Brad for managing to dodge DOD for that one), and another period of being down to ten men. Another “definitely okay” tackle by Max led to a free hit inside the Canterbury 23 and to Tom Laslett politely shouting to the umpire, from the bench, to enquire whether he’d misplaced his white stick. Needless to say, this didn’t go down well, and Canterbury had to nominate a player for another 2-minute rest. Dan Gent, clearly having enjoyed his earlier sit-down, took the bullet for the side.
Some sterling defensive work from the back two of Paul Crane and Jake Smith, some tactical smarts from Rich Wade who ran the right side of the pitch all game, and some calm defending from the world’s most relaxed man Emil (“that second half flew by”), kept Crawley at bay, meaning Canterbury’s form side stay second, a point off top and 5 above the chasing pack, with by far the best attack and defence in the league.
A good win for the ‘Grims, and more importantly a lovely amuse-bouche for the 3s vs 4s showstopper that followed. Onwards to Gillingham away next week to keep the run going.