Actually an improved performance from Barnes
Since the end of October Canterbury are a different team, winning everything
Canterbury severely limited Barnes ability to attack with very good retention.
As usual Barnes effort and commitment in defence couldn't be faulted.
Very good retention and recycling causing Barnes to concede penalties led to Canterbury's first try. Not dealing with restarts resulted in the next two scores, a penalty for Barnes and try for the visitors. Penalties conceded by the visitors then led to an excellent individual try by fly-half Williams-Davies; Barnes did not score again. Several stolen line-outs and an interception added 14 points for Canterbury in the last 5 minutes of the first half.
The second half started as the first but without penalties being conceded. Towards the end of the 3rd quarter a good attack forced penalties from Barnes and also a yellow card that led to the visitors' 5th try. The last try came near the end after Barnes had held out further attacks.
The visitors secured the restart then kept the ball advancing confidently with 6 mostly close phases to 8 metres into the other half and get the first penalty. The kick took them to a line-out 26 metres out after which they released centre and soon got another penalty. This one they ran getting close to the line then recycled twice before Barnes knocked on, seeming to go for an intercept. In the scrum 11 metres out the ball bounced off a leg and Barnes heeled it then kicked for territory. Canterbury ran the ball back with 4 phases before kicking towards touch. Barnes' back dealt with this and soon kicked again. Canterbury ran the ball back, recycling twice before breaking through to get the 3rd penalty that was kicked for a line-out 5 metres out. After their drive was stopped the ball was recycled 8 times before the defenders forced an error to get their put-in 21 metres out. Barnes got the ball away under pressure and cleared to touch 29 metres out. From this line-out went wide after 2 recycles and fullback Moss broke through and after 5 more phases Canterbury chipped over.
This was marked in the 22 and the ball was kicked to the other half. Two more kicks followed then the visitors ran out of their 22. Another penalty soon followed and this kick took them to another line-out 6 metres into the opposition half. From it they went soon went wide and broke through at the second recycle then went wide again to get the fifth penalty that resulted in the Ref. speaking to Barnes' captain. The kick took them to 5 metres out and from the line-out their pack set to drive. It went down but they got going again and over with prop Kenny on the ball not far from the post after 14 minutes. Fly-half Best converted.
Canterbury dealt with the restart into their 22 and ran the ball; they were penalised after recycling once 24 metres from their line in centre field and Barnes' fullback O'Toole kicked the points.
The home team did not deal with the restart and Canterbury got the ball. They put together 9 close phases to get a penalty at the 22 which they ran. After a switch of direction of play and recovering a loose ball wing Beaumont went over wide out just before the end of the first quarter. The conversion missed.
The visitors cleared the restart to touch back into the other half. Barnes took a quick line-out but were very soon turned over. This was followed by a penalty against Canterbury. The kick took Barnes to 5 metres into their opponents' half where their line-out was stolen. The visitors advanced a few metres into the other half then were penalised. The next kick went into touch at the 22. From the line-out Barnes pack set for a drive and after the second attempt released the ball whereupon their fly-half stepped and dodged past defenders for an impressive solo try half way between the posts and the corner flag at 24 minutes. The conversion missed.
Barnes soon returned the restart which Canterbury let bounce; the defence was forced backwards until Barnes were penalised 10 metres out. The visitors kicked for a line-out and after it kicked for territory. Barnes fielded this and started a wide attacked that was stopped 13 metres from their opponents' line. From their scrum Canterbury kept the ball close before launching an up-and-under. Barnes dealt with this and centre Cornish made good yards; the ball was recycled close twice before the players indulged in activity without the ball. This resulted in a penalty for Barnes 15 metres into the opposition half. The kick took them to their line-out 6 metres out. This was stolen, having been thrown slightly towards the defence side.
Canterbury's pack started a good drive then the ball was released to be kicked to touch at halfway. Again the line-out was stolen and almost immediately the visitors got a put-in at the same place. From the scrum they quickly went widest and Moss ran down the touchline then in behind the posts at 35 minutes. Best added.
Canterbury cleared the restart to touch and stole another line-out. Next they put together 5 phases before passing forward just before halfway. Under pressure at the scrum Barnes heeled the ball then released it to their fly-half who seemed to dummy his pass then release it. It was intercepted by centre Murray who ran unopposed all the way to the posts for the bonus point try. Best added for an 18 point lead before the whistle of a 39 minute half.
Barnes secured the restart, went wide then launched an up-and-under. Canterbury comfortably dealt with this and advanced putting together 4 phases before breaking through to close to Barnes' line. After another recycle they were held up in a maul giving the defence a scrum put-in 5 metres out. After establishing a better platform Barnes tried another up-and-under; the visitors ran the ball for 5 phases before chipping over the defence. Barnes had to clear to touch just 7 metres out. Canterbury put together 6 mixed phases before again being held up for a Barnes put-in 14 metres out. Canterbury forced an error soon after that to get their scrum at the 22. From it they put together 8 very good attacking phases until the defence forced an error just 3 metres out. Barnes got the ball and soon got the ball wide to wing Martey who broke out. After one pass an error gave the visitors a scrum near halfway. From that they went wide then kicked over to the line for a 22 drop-out. This was taken short and regained then taken on with a good attack until an error was forced 18 metres into the other half. The scrum ball bounced off an opposition leg and Barnes heeled it. They advanced a bit further then Canterbury soon got another put-in 25 metres out.
From this one they kept the ball advancing for 5 phases, including recovering from an error, then kicked through the defence. Barnes started to run the ball but were penalised at their 22. The kick took the visitors to their line-out 5 metres out. After the line-out and recycling twice Canterbury were awarded another penalty that they ran to 2 metres out. The ball was then recycled twice more before another penalty 5 metres out and a man advantage for 10 minutes. Inevitably this led to the 5th try at when the ball was recycled to scrumhalf Smart and he easily touched down away from the posts at the end of the 3rd quarter. The conversion was wide.
The restart didn't go 10 metres; from the scrum Canterbury went wide with a very good attack. The defence held to get a scrum 5 metres out and got a free kick at it that they ran well, out of their 22 with 7 phases, to 13 metres into the other half where they were penalised for not releasing. After their line-out at halfway Canterbury recycled twice before kicking into the 22. They dealt with a Barnes' up-and-under then dropped the ball after recycling twice. Barnes got the ball and after 2 of their recycles Martey ran out to the opposition half. There Barnes made more ground putting together 4 phases. Each team then dropped the ball, Canterbury after undoing Barnes' last advance. From their put-in near halfway Barnes got the ball away under pressure and put together 7 phases to get a penalty but hardly having advanced. The kick took them to 18 metres into their opponents' half. After releasing to centre then recycling 4 times and again hardly advancing they were penalised.
The kick took Canterbury to 9 metres into Barnes' half; the line-out resulted in a scrum for the visitors. From it they broke blind and Moss ran down the touchline to come in and touch down not far from the posts at 33 minutes. A good conversion from replacement fly-half O. Best followed.
Barnes conceded 3 more penalties in the last minutes but there was no further score.
Dry, bright with almost a clear blue sky, some varying wind; the pitch firm while looking rough compared to Old Elthamians'.