An encouraging start to the seaon.
The game hinged on two pivotal moments, one just before half time, the other with 20 minutes to go.
The home team kicked off and soon forced the visitors into touch. Canterbury were penalised in midfield near halfway after the line-out. The kick took Barnes to just outside the 22 and from the second line-out they opted for a driving maul. They defence stopped this 8 metres out and the ball was released to the backs. After 2 recycles the Ref. went back to a penalty 11 metres out. Barnes opted for the 3 points but the kick was wide. A Barnes' error after the 22 drop-out set the visitors attacking. Running the ball they soon got their first penalty, a slightly easier one, which was also missed. Barnes put together some good phases after opposition errors then the game settled into a long period notable only for errors forced by both defences. After the half-hour penalties kicked to touch took Barnes to their line-out 6 metres out. From this their pack drove over the line without difficulty at 36 minutes but the Ref. said the ball-carrier made an error attempting to ground the ball.
Canterbury were attacking when the half-time whistle went.
After the restart Barnes regained an up-and-under and worked their way into the other half. Canterbury were pushed back at a scrum and were penalised 4 metres inside their half. Fullback Coles kicked the points at 3 minutes. Barnes dealt with the restart but good work at the following maul gave Canterbury the next scrum. Soon after Barnes were penalised and the visitors kicked for a line-out 16 metres out. After they recycled 7 times their replacement flanker Nixon broke away and sent wing Rosvall over at 6 minutes. Fly-half Best converted,
The visitors continued strongly after the restart then Barnes intercepted while Canterbury were attacking. A penalty helped the home team get out of their 22 and from the line-out a break by outside centre Holmes led to another penalty 16 metres out in centre field and Coles kicked his second at 15 minutes. After several errors from both teams the visitors lost a man for 10 minutes at 20 minutes. This helped Barnes get out of their half and work their way well into the opposition 22 and on to a scrum 13 metres out. Their pack kept the ball in to get another penalty 5 metres out and not far from the posts. This at 24 minutes.
Before the kick was taken some observers thought this option was a strategic mistake; the kick missed. A stolen line-out led to Coles kicking his third at 29 minutes from inside the 22 and centre field to take the lead.
Canterbury responded well and soon were back to 15 men. Good retention and recycling by them led to the final score at 36 minutes when Best kicked the points for the win.
Conditions: dry, cool, overcast, some wind; the pitch firm.
Previous starts in Nat2S resulted in an away win in 2009-10 and a home loss in 2011-2.