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Rugby League: I can Nick try record - Johnson.


COVENTRY winger Kurt Johnson has set his sights on overtaking Nick Baxter's record of 152 National League tries after joining one of rugby's most exclusive clubs last weekend.

Barbados international Johnson became only the fourth player to reach the three-figure career landmark when he crossed early in the first half of the defeat by Bedford at the Butts Park Arena.

Only Baxter, the Stourbridge and former Worcester and Pertemps Bees winger, ex-Rugby Lions winger Eddie Saunders and Doncaster's veteran scrum-half Dave Scully had got there before him.

Johnson now has his sights set on scoring 100 tries for Coventry in all rugby - he needed only three before this weekend - and 100 for them in league matches. He is 10 short of that target.

But in the longer term he has ambitions to overtake Baxter as the most prolific try-scorer in English league history.

"I think that most wingers are aware of how many tries they have scored and I am no different," Johnson said. "At the start of the season I knew how many tries I needed to get to 100 and I am delighted to have achieved that.

"The next target is 100 tries in all rugby for Coventry, then 100 in league matches for them, then 150 league tries.

"I think that I have got time on my side. I'm 30 this year and I would like to continue playing for as long as Ican.

"I've seen players like Dave Scully and Eddie Saunders carrying on playing into their late 40s. Dave Addleton here at Coventry played late into his 30s so there is no reason for me to think about hanging up my boots at 33, 34or 35.

"If I can stay injury-free then I will continue playing and I would like to take Nick Baxter's record.

"We have had a long-standing rivalry for quite some time but we get on really well off the pitch.

"He's always had the upper hand on me but he's had a few injuries in recent seasons and he's probably coming towards the end of his career.

"Hopefully I've still got a few years left in me and it would be a great achievement if I could finish up as the number one try-scorer in the country before I hang up my boots."

Johnson, who works part-time as an accountant in Coventry, first played rugby at junior school in Slough and honed his skills at Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe - the former school of ex-England pair Nick Beal and Matt Dawson.

Johnson scored his first 10 league tries for Orrell and celebrated his Coventry debut with a try at Rugby Lions seven years ago.

He has since established himself as a cult figure with the club's supporters and has a part of the ground -Kurt's Corner - named after him.

Johnson's landmark try was scored on the opposite side of the pitch but he was still giving a standing ovation to celebrate his achievement.

"We couldn't quite work it so that I scored in Kurt's Corner but it was still a proud moment and the ovation I got was very special," Johnson said. "It made the hairs at the back of my neck stand up.

"I ended the game with mixed feelings, though. On a personal note it was a very big achievement but I was disappointed that we lost."


AMBITIONS: Kurt Johnson is aiming to set a try-scoring record
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Mar 4, 2007
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