A strong performance by a well drilled Canterbury side orchestrated by fly half Ollie Best, proved too strong for a Bees side who ended up on the wrong end of a 17-31 score line without the consolation of a losing bonus point to show for their endeavours.
Conditions were decidedly chilly at Portway, but the visitors warmed to their task by playing the majority of the first period in the Bees’ half. Some solid defence from the home side and an interception try for winger Matt Dight had restricted Canterbury to a 7-10 lead with two minutes of the first half to go. Canterbury’s points to date had come from a try by No.8 Jamie Stephens after 15 minutes, with a conversation and penalty from Best.
However, with the home side down to 14 men with Ashley Scriven in the sin bin, a self-converted try for the industrious fly half on the stroke of half time gave Canterbury a ten-point margin which at the break.
It was Best who further extended the Kentish side’s lead to 7-24 ten minutes into the second period, with the game at risk of slipping away from the Bees. To their credit, Pete Glackin’s men dug in and gave their supporters a glimmer of hope of an unlikely come back with a try for veteran hooker Stewart Pearl, his second in a fortnight.
Canterbury soon hit back though with a catch and drive try for replacement prop Jarvis Otto, with centre Tom Best taking over the kicking duties from brother Ollie. The home side refused to lie down and Matt Dight got his second try of the afternoon with two minutes to go, to reduce the deficit to 17-31.
The Bees then showed some of the “do or die” spirit from last week’s game at Guernsey in an attempt to get a fourth try, and with it one and possibly two losing bonus points. Sadly, it wasn’t to be.
With London Irish Wild Geese winning somewhat unexpectedly away at Clifton, the Bees now find themselves at the foot of National League 2 South – their plight not helped by a 5-point deduction carried forward from last season.
The Sunbury-based Exiles are next up (Saturday 3rd November KO 3pm) for a Birmingham & Solihull side who are still juggling with a high number of injuries in the squad.
Bees v Canterbury: 1. Nick Bingham, 2. Alex Willis 3. Matt Probert, 4. Matt Spink, 5. Andy Weaver, 6. Ed Krawiecki, 7. Ashley Scriven (YC), 8. Marcus Brown, 9. Sean O’Sullivan, 10. Jack Jolly (C) (1C), 11. Matt Dight (2T), 12. Nathan Tilsley, 13. Dan Kelly, 14. Steve Johns, 15. Corey Venus.
Replacements: 16. Stewart Pearl (T), 17. Nick Rigby, 18. Adam Nunney, 19. Ben Phillips, 20. Umraan Jadwat.
Referee:- Jamie Leahy, ARs Paul Carroll & David Myers.