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Evergreen Cup Final, Saturday 12th May
posted: May 15 2012

"Why am I always the bridesmaid: never the blushing bride ??? "  (but at least we showed up !!) 

Having contested 4 of the last 5 Evergreen Cup Finals - and now lost all of them, Maidstone's Evergreen squad must wonder what they have to do to win this competition, which is hotly contested by 32 clubs across 3 counties and South London. 

This year's final was no exception, as we lost to serial cup-winners Sutton & Epsom Dodos for a 3rd time, although disappointingly it was a game that was there for the taking had the team been able to muster the kind of intensity and commitment that they showed in either the semi-final vs Blackheath or the 2nd round vs Old Colfeians.

An early break-out from receipt of the kick-off through forwards and backs showed that Maidstone meant business, only to see their assault turned over and a try conceded at the other end, courtsesy of S&Es speedy winger, which went unconverted.

Two immediate converted tries in response from Maidstone,  suggested that despite the early set-back, this was quite a winnable game,a lthough there were some early signs that the Maidstone scrum was not going to have an easy afternoon and also that promising field positions could easily be lost through not releasing on the floor or similar transgressions.

The half finished having seen 2 more  converted tries to Sutton and Epsom with only a penalty in response from Maidstone, leaving the half-time scores quite finely poised at 19-17 to S&E and everything to play for.

Disappointingly, it was S&E that came out of the traps with more gusto in the 2nd half and secured the next score, although a try from Paul Massey kept Maidstone in contention for a period. However, as the half progressed, S&E secured another try until a final scoreline of 35-22 showed that Maidstone were well beaten.

It was a shame to lose another final but no disgrace to lose to a good side and, bearing in mind that we were only there at all because Blackheath had been unable to find enough players to contest the final, the important thing was that we turned up and gave it a go.  Better luck next year perhaps.?

The plate final was contested between Sidcup and Warlingham, with Sidcup the victors.

 

 

 

 



2012/13 Pre-Season Planning Underway - Diary Dates
posted: May 08 2012

Head Coach Andy Foley's preparations for next season are already underway and the first date for the senior squad diaries should be for the initial preseason workout away at London 1(N) club Rochford Hundred RFC on Saturday 18th august.  Rochford finished the 2011-12 season in lower mid-table in their division so will be a good gauge of where we are in preparation for next season's league and cup campaigns.

Planning is currently underway for a Maidsone XV v The 'President's XV' match on Saturday 25th August followed by a final preseason outing befiore the league campaign starts.



Around the Grounds (06 May)
posted: May 06 2012

Only the respective RFU Knockout competitions to cover this week with a big day for Yorkshire potentially on the cards, as they had a representative club in all of the three finals.

RFU Junior Vase.   In what was a tight contest with neither side crossing the whitewash for a try, a crucial penalty 10 minutes from the end that could have tied the scores hit the upright; leaving London based Harrow just short and narrowly missing out on the National Junior Vase.

RFU Senior Vase:  In a high scoring match, victory went to the side that had overcome Maidstone in the semis; Wells started liker a train and had notched up a 23 point lead in the first quarter.  Yorkhire’s Wath on Dearne finally got on the scoreboard in the second half, but another Wells try steadied the ship and despite two further tries for Wath, the result was never really in doubt as the Somerset side ran out 31-22 winners to take the trophy.

RFU Intermediate Cup:  London 2 side East Grinstead came back from 11 points down to win the Intermediate Cup.  Ilkley built their lead in the first quarter but two tries for the G-Force before the interval put their noses in front.  Ilkley regained the lead early in the second half when G-Force had their hooker yellow carded, but two further tries for the Sussex outfit put the result out of the Yorkshire side’s reach as Grinstead took the trophy 34-18.

Finally, as this is the last AtG of the season, at the start of the season the author probably rather rashly made some predictions, so now to look back and see just how far off the mark he was.

Nat 3(SE): Prediction = Prom – Dorking, PO -TJ or Ampthill      Actual = Prom - Canterbury, PO – TJ

Ldn 1(S): Prediction = Prom –Sidcup, PO – Chichester or Beckenham      Actual = Prom – Guersey, PO – Elthamians*

Ldn 2(SE):  Prediction = Prom – E Grinstead, PO – Aylesford or Lewe     Actual = Prom – E Grinstead, PO – Charlton Pk

Ldn 3(SE): Prediction = Prom – Maidstone and Medway     Actual = Crowborough and Medway

Kent 1: Prediction = Prom – Sittingbourne, PO – Anchorians     Actual = Prom – Anchorians, PO – Vigo*

Kent 2: Prediction = Prom Southwark Lancers and Kings Coll     Actual = Kings Coll and Southwark Lancers

*Denotes won promotion playoff



Club connection helps Boks
posted: May 03 2012

Never mind importing foreign coaches to the England setup, perhaps the RFU should look a bit closer to home, as proud club Vice President Jack McFarland can probably tell them; and he has good reason.  Jack’s son John who after a number of years coaching the Super XV Blue Bulls has been appointed as the Defence Coach for Heyneke Meyer’s coaching team with the Springboks.  Also appointed to the Springbok coaching team is Ricardo Loubsher who visited Maidstone Rugby three seasons ago whilst on a coaching update in the UK.

 



Evergreen XV reprieved to appear in fourth final in five years
posted: May 03 2012

Mike Laurenson's Evergreen Xv have received a reprieve and will now appear in their fourth Evergreen Cup Final in five years after Blackheath withdrew from the tournament due to being unable to field a side for the final.   Rumours had been ciculating since the semi-final when they had let slip that they would not be available for the final, which does beg the question of why they bothered with the semi. 

The final will take place at Croydon RFC on Saturday 12th May, KO 3:15pm versus old tournament adversaries Sutton & Epsom.



Club says farewell to the ‘Big Rig’.
posted: May 01 2012

Friday’s Annual Awards Dinner saw the club say farewell to two of the club’s 1st XV regulars this season as both Hayden Mitchell and Nick Cullen are shortly to depart back to their native New Zealand.  Nick joined the club at the end of last season from Bracknell and was having an excellent season until a dislocated shoulder against Folkestone in January ended his campaign.

 

Hayden ‘Big Rig’ Mitchell arrived at the start of the season after a successful campaign in the Scottish Premiership with Melrose to take a role as player coach.  Following the injury enforced retirement of 1st XV captain Jim Walker he also took on the role as skipper and led the team through a relatively successful season finishing fourth in the league after an indifferent start to the campaign and reaching the National Semi-Final of the RFU Senior Vase.  Apart from an enforced 3 week interval due to concussion, he has been an ever present in the side throughout the season.



Annual Players Awards Dinner
posted: May 01 2012

Maidstone Rugby rounded off the 2011/12 season with their annual Players Awards Dinner, this year held at Rianos on Tonbridge Road. Following a season where an indifferent start to the campaign meant that promotion was effectively out of reach fairly early on, the club were able to put together an impressive cup run in the RFU Senior Vase competition, reaching the national semi-finals. 

Amongst the key awards winners on the night were the Bernard Hinks Award winners, with Luke Debnam taking the award for the 1st XV player and Lewis Fagg the trophy for players from the other XVs.  The non playing award went to Carol McKenzie for here significant contribution to the running of the club throughout the season.

The David Arnold Award for the outstanding young player of the season was awarded to Sam Ellis whilst the impressive run in the RFU Senior Vase saw the Centenary Cup for the Team of the Season go to the 1stXV.

In the other team awards Lee Thomson picked up the 1st XV’s Players Player award with Lewis Fagg receiving the accolade from the Mustangs XV, David Ruaux, Matt Cooper and Stephen Skipp were voted best player for the 3rd, 4th and 5th XVs respectively with Dave Jackson receiving the Mike Sharples Plate for the Veterans XV.

Two Vice Presidencies were also awarded on the night, to Julian Debnam and Carol McKenzie in recognition of their service to the club over an extended period of time.  The Harry Green Memorial Cup was also awarded to Paul Ehrhart in recognition of over four decades of service with  the club,both on and off the pitch.



New Youth Chairman Appointed
posted: May 01 2012

The club is pleased to announce the appointment of Ian Wilkinson as Youth Chairman, Ian takes over the role with immediate effect and is also currently part of the coaching team with the U8 age group but has been involved at the club for a number of seasons; many of them spent playing for the club’s 1stXV.

The Youth Chairman role had been filled in the interim by Shaun Neaves and the club is indebted to him for his hard work and efforts on behalf of the Youth Section.

 



Around the Grounds (30 Apr)
posted: April 30 2012

National 1: Solid win sees Blackheath secure third spot.

The ‘Club’ finished the season in style with a bonus point win over Rosslyn Pk to notch up an 11th straight league victory and tie up third place in the final standings.  The only side who could have overhauled them were Fylde who were facing the divisional champions Jersey on their home turf.  The Channel Islands side exacted revenge on the Lancashire side for the defeat they inflicted in early season running out 23-8 winners.

National 2(S): Bonus point win not enough to save Combe.

Combe went into the match needing a bonus point win and other results to go their way if they were to pull off the great escape; they certainly fulfilled their part of the script as they ran out bonus point winners against visiting Southend with a 27-19 result, but it was all in vain.  Although as expected, Hertford went down heavily at Henley (52-0), the match that really mattered was between Lydney and bottom club Barnes and it was a last minute try that finally secured the 17-8 win that Lydney required to keep themselves up, and consign Combe to the relegation that had looked a certainty until their recent performances had kept the candle of hope flickering.  Having finished just four points adrift of safety, the administrative error that cost them a five point deduction earlier in the season now looks to have been extremely costly.

National 3(SE &SW) Playoff:  TJs promotion hopes dashed at final hurdle.

TJs travelled to Thame in Oxfordshire to take on Chinnor for promotion to National 2(S) and in windy conditions a 3-3 half-time scoreline was never enough as they played against the conditions in the second half.  Taking advantage of yellow cards was crucial and whilst Chinnor lost a man to the ‘bin’ early on, TJs couldn’t capitalise and when the situation was reversed early in the second half, Chinnor took their chances to open up a lead that they never lost, to run out 19-8 winners and claim the promotion place.

London 1(S & N) Playoff: Two tries see Elthamians secure promotion.

Two tries were enough to see off the challenge of Ldn 1(N) club Colchester in the promotion playoff for a place in Nat 3(SE)next season, with the home side running out 16-8 winners.

 London 2(SE):  With Dunstonians conceding last week’s fixture, divisional champions East Grinstead were in desperate need of some match practice as they gear up for their RFU Intermediate Cup final next week, Whilst Warlingham were good enough to honour a fixture that was really a dead rubber, the 7-48 scoreline looks as if they didn’t provided too much of a test for the G-Force.

Kent 1 & Sussex 1 Playoff: Villagers prevail as Sussex visitors lose out for second consecutive year.

Vigo hosted Sussex 1s Burgess Hill for a place in London 3(SE); this was the second consecutive season that the Sussex side had made the playoffs, having fallen to Sheppey last time around and the determination not to lose out again meant they were going to be no push over.  In the end, in a match played in difficult conditions, the Villagers had just enough to run out narrow 10-7 winners and take the promotion, with Burgess Hill falling at the final hurdle yet again.

Shepherd Neame Kent Cup Finals

Shepherd Neame Kent Cup: Canterbury 22 v Westcombe Park 14

The city club completed a league and cup double to round off a successful season with a 22-14 win over Combe.  With Combe limited by the limitations imposed on National league sides in the county competition they just didn’t have enough to upset a Canterbury side that wasn’t subject to the same limitations and had swept all before them this season at both 1st and 2nd XV level.

Shepherd Neame Kent Plate: Medway 18 v TJs 26

Playing with the wind Medway took an 8-3 lead into the interval; but a strong performance with the elements in the second half saw TJs score two converted tries along with three penalties to take the trophy 18-26 despite a late rally by the host club.

Shepherd Neame Kent Vase:  Gillingham Anchorians 20 v Dartfordians 9

Anchorians registered their third win of this years campaign over Dartfordians as they capped a fine season to take the Kent Vase 20-9 to accompany the Kent 1 title they secured last month.

Shepherd Neame Kent Salver: Cranbrook 57 v Brockleians 10

The difference between Kent divisions 1 & 2 showed as a Cranbrook side that has had an indifferent season ran riot against a Brockleians side that had performed well in Kent 2 this season.  With the Wealden side playing some expansive rugby despite the conditions, they ran in 57 points for only 10 in reply to take the trophy.



Around the Grounds (21 Apr)
posted: April 21 2012

National 1: The ‘Club’ moves into third spot.

Blackheath travelled to the midlands to take on Birmingham & Solihull knowing that with their respective remaining fixtures there was the opportunity to overhaul Fylde for third place in the table.  A record 10th consecutive league win (27-38) for the ‘Club’ in conjunction with Fylde’s 22-22 draw against visiting Ealing sees them now in third spot with one fixture remaining.  At the head of the division and a classic example of ‘money talks’; Jersey’s continued ascent up the divisions continues as they take the National 1 champions title.

National 2(S): Combe still not buried, despite loss

Combe made the journey to Cornwall in the realisation that nothing less than a win would be good enough to keep them in National 2 next season, and even then they were reliant on other results going their way. Although they went down 21-17  to the Cornish side relegation is still not confirmed, although they will need a big win and require favourable results elsewhere to survive this time round.  Meanwhile bottom side Barnes went down heavily at Henley (11-41) and Richmond despatched struggling Lydney with relative ease (33-12).  The match between Hertford and Dings went the way of the Bristol based side (17-25) which would have helped Combe’s cause had they been able to take the points at Redruth. So the scrap on the last weekend will be to decide which two from Combe, Hertford or Lydney are for the drop.

National 3(SE): Ampthill draw hands the playoff spot to TJs

With the champions already decided and relegation also sorted out, the only match that mattered was the clash of the playoff contenders at The Slade as TJs hosted Ampthill in a contest that would decide the relative success of their respective campaigns, with the winner taking the spoils. In the end there was no winner in a hard fought contest which ended in an 8-8 draw which was enough to give TJs the playoff spot and a trip to Chinnor next week.  Elsewhere, Canterbury travelled to Essex to play a Bishops Stortford side whose late run as playoff contenders had really shaken up the promotion scramble, in the end the city club closed out the league season with only their second defeat of the campaign with the hosts running out 35-24 winners.    Gravesend were also on the road as they travelled to London Irish who like the north Kent club had just done enough to stay out of the relegation battle, with the points going to the exiles with a 36-21 result.

London 1(S): Guernsey take the title with Pompey relegated. Elthamians to face Ldn 1(N) Colchester in playoff contest.

Three key matches remained in the division, leaders Guernsey hosted Hove knowing 2 points would give them the title, in the end the Sussex side were no match for the Channel Islanders on their home turf as Guernsey ran out 39-0 winners to take the divisional title.  Elthamians were three points adrift at the start of the day with the playoff spot against Colchester already secured; however, they needed the leaders to trip up and were themselves facing tricky opposition in Trojans who needed two points to avoid the drop.  Elthamians did all they could and ran out 43-10 winners and will host Colchester next week.    The third key fixture was at Portsmouth as they hosted Dover knowing anything less than a win would see them drop a division, the 26-32 defeat at the hands of the Kent club, made the Trojans defeat academic as Pompey now drop into L2(SW) for next season’s campaign

In the remaining fixtures Beckenham hammered Chichester 37-0, with Cobham winning predictably (64-31) against a visiting S&E; Haywards Heath went down heavily at home to Basingstoke (5-41) whilst Sidcup finally notched up a win as they beat Thanet 25-18 .

London 1(N):  Disappointing finale for Colfes

Having started the season looking for a top four finish, this narrow 20-21 home defeat sees them finishing fifth from bottom and only just clear of the relegation battle at the end of a disappointing season and will probably be hoping that once the promotion and relegation issues have been finalised that they are level transferred back to London 1 (S) for the next campaign.

London 2(SE):  Charlton Park playoff defeat brings disappointing end to the season.

in the end champions East Grinstead’s scheduled fixture against Dunstonians was conceded by the visitors, with the Sussex side awarded a 5-point HWO.  Of more interest and with the top two in the division already settled was Charlton Park’s playoff against Wimbledon which ended in a disappointing 6-18 defeat that sees Wimbledon return to London 1 at the first time of asking.

London 3(SE): County Town club sign off on a high.

Maidstone ended the season on a high in a match where they had wrapped up the bonus point against Sheppey in the first fifteen minutes to run out 45-12 winners; whilst the result doesn’t affect the county town club’s league position, it did affect the visitors league standing as the damage to their points difference sees them drop a place below Bromley.

Kent 1: Vigo win sees them secure playoff spot, as Darts stumble to defeat.

The key matches here involved the battle to host the playoff against Sussex 1 runners up, Burgess Hill.  The leading contenders despite a recent wobble in form were Vigo who hosted Wealden club Cranbrook and needed only a bonus point to secure second place, the 36-11 result was more than enough to secure the playoff berth against Burgess Hill next week. Third placed Dartfordians travelled to fourth club Shooters Hill needing bonus point win and the Vigo result to go their way, in the end they went down 25-22 which ended any hopes thay had plus secured Shooters fourth place in the table.  At the foot of the table Whitstable needed two points to avoid the drop and had the enviable task of travelling to take on the divisional champions Anchorians, crashing to a 51-7 defeat which will almost certainly see them in Kent 2 next season, although the intricasies of relegation in the county divisions are by no means certain at the moment.  For Beccehamians who were left sweating on the sidelines having completed their league fixture card, it looks like after having propped up the division for long periods of the season that they have pulled off the ‘great escape’ and will be playing Kent 1 rugby next season.

The remaining fixtures were largely ‘dead rubbers’ although the results mean a minor shuffling of the mid table positions.  OGs predictably beat bottom side NAG 33-0 whilst Hastings convincingly took the points against HSBC (53-12), a result that sees the Sussex side finish the season in fifth spot.



**IMPORTANT** QBE Autumn Internationals **IMPORTANT**
posted: April 16 2012

Club members who wish to bid for tickets for the coming Autumn Internationals against Australia (17 Nov), South Africa (24 Nov) and New Zealand (01 Dec) are requested to contact Steve Vincent by email via the Contacts or International Tickets pages of the club website.

The closing date for ticket applications is 16 May.



Around the Grounds (15 Apr)
posted: April 16 2012

National 1: Club look to have secured fourth spot

Blackheath took on third placed Fylde in an encounter that was effectively over by the interval as Blackheath despite conceding the first points of the afternoon, then proceeded to notch up 38 unanswered points to end and latent promotion hopes the Lancashire side might have harboured.  The second half appeared more of an even contest although the ‘Club’ maintained the upper hand to run out 59-22 winners, a result that looks to have consolidated fourth place in the table, barring any unforeseen mishap.

National 2(S): Combe still in there fighting

The Orpington based Combe, aren’t ‘dead and buried’ yet, and a narrow 29-28 win over Clifton lifts them off the foot of the table with two matches remaining.  So hope remains although it is reliant on Combe taking points in their last two fixtures and other results going their way.  Elsewhere for the other protagonists in the relegation struggle, Barnes drop to the bottom after a 31-17 defeat to fellow strugglers Dings, who aren’t yet clear of danger themselves.  Hertford lost 33-17 at Launceston with Lydney falling 14-36 to visiting Hartpury College

National 3(SE): Playoff race goes to ‘winner takes all’ showdown on the final day

TJs ran out predictable and convincing 67-17 winners in an 11-try demolition of relegated Havant and would have had one eye on what was happening at Ampthill as the Hertfordshire side took on a Bishops Stortford side that had a slim outside chance of making the playoffs and whilst the Essex side’s hopes had been ended by the end of the afternoon they had done enough woth a 31-27 win to put a major dent in Ampthill’s hopes and hand the initiative back to TJs for next week’s playoff decider between the two sides.    Champions Canterbury hosted CS Rugby and as expected were 48-5 winners on their last home outing of the season, whilst Gravesend hosted  Bracknell and went down 23-24, a result that wasn’t enough to prevent the visitors relegation alongside Havant & Luton.

London 1(S): Title and relegation issues still not decided.

Key battles at both top and bottom of the table with leaders Guernsey travelling to Hampshire club Basingstoke for what could have been a difficult encounter but a 19-31 sees them remain 3-points clear at the head of the table.  Second placed Elthamians were on the road at Hove and a good result was required to keep up the pressure on the top side, a 12-30 win was just what was required as the title race goes down to the last weekend.  At the bottom end of the table both Trojans and Portsmouth were looking for good results to avoid the drop, with Trojans travelling to take on Sidcup and Portsmouth on the road at relegated Thanet.  Portsmouth came out on top on a tight battle with  the 22-30 win, but still occupy the third relegation spot as Trojans put Sidcup to the sword with a convincing 41-0 win at Crescent Farm to give themselves a 3-point buffer over their Hampshire rivals.   In the mid table battles, Chichester hosted Cobham, Dover entertained Beckenham and relegated S&E welcomed Haywards Heath; Chichester were convincing 59-10 winners in their fixture with Dover coming out on top 37-33 what was a hard fought encounter against Beckenham; S&E went down 10-24 to the visiting Sussex side.

London 1(N): Colfes for has slipped of late, and whilst not in any real danger, they do find themselves on the margins of the relegation battle and this 70-24 hammering at the hands of Letchworth hasn’t done them any favours.

London 2(SE):  Charlton Pk to host L2(SW) Wimbledon in promotion playoff, Wells lose out in relegation shake-up.

The only ‘dead rubber’ in the fixture card was a top versus bottom encounter as champions G-Force travelled to relegated OMW and posted an expected and convincing 12-48 result.  The real key matches here were for the playoff spot and to avoid relegation and involved the other five matches on the afternoon’s card.  In the fight for the promotion playoff against Wimbledon from L2(SW); at the start of the afternoon the advantage sat with Charlton Pk as they hosted mid-table Warlingham and it was a late score by the home side that secured the bonus point and playoff spot in their  in their 24-10 win.  All of which meant that by full-time the challenges of both Aylesford and Brighton came to nothing; Brighton’s hopes were probably less than Aylesford’s as they were reliant on more other results and they also faced a Dunstonians side that also had an extremely slim chance themselves if some really ‘left field’ results appeared.  In the end Brighton were convincing 47-22 winners  Aylesford, the most realistic challengers and level on points with Charlton Pk at kick-off, were up against a Sevenoaks side whose form has generally been poor of late, the resultant bonus point win was not unexpected and in the end a 56-6 scoreline was not enough as they missed out on the playoff position by virtue of a points difference that was two less than Charlton Pks over the season.  Slim margins!!!

At the bottom of the table the final relegation spot was still to be decided and the match between Heathfield and Deal would have a real impact on the outcome, with two of the key protagonists involved.   Elsewhere Tunbridge Wells hosted Lewes knowing that they could not rely on bonus points from a negative result.  Deal & Betteshanger won the key encounter 11-16 to leapfrog out of the danger zone, the losing bonus point for Heathfield was enough to save them with Tunbridge Wells going down 27-48 to Lewes to tumble to a second successive relegation.

London 3(SE):

Both promotion and relegation have been decided in this division so all of the fixtures were really for honours only, and to sort out some final mid-table positions.  As expected champions Crowborough signed off with a 38-43 win at Ashford, although not quite the winning margin that might have been predicted.  Promoted Medway went down 31-34 at Folkestone whilst in fourth place Maidstone hosted Bromley and were looking to make amends for a poor performance against them on the opening day of the season and duly ran out 28-6 winners,  Park House entertained Horsham, and the 17-30 result sees Horsham move up to sixth in the final standings.  As expected Sheppey had too much for an already relegated Eastbourne side, running out 20-10 winners to finish fifth.

Kent 1: Vigo a step closer to securing playoff battle with Burgess Hill, although relegation places still not confirmed

With Anchorians having already secured the title, their 6-18 win at Sittingbourne was of secondary interest to the battle for the playoff position.  Vigo had looked to have this sewn up , but a recent wobble means that Dartfordians still have a chance of taking second spot.  Vigo travelled to a Whitstable side that needed to win to avoid the possibility of relegation and the Villagers made no mistake as they ran out convincing 15-48 winners.  Dartfordians had a similar fixture against a Beccehamians side on their last outing of the season and in a similar position to Whitstable in needing a win to avoid the relegation zone but it was Darts that keep up the playoff pressure as they ran out victors 37-12.   Elsewhere Cranbrook put in a good performance as they downed OGs 34-10 whilst Shooters received a walkover against the already relegated NAG.

Kent 2:  As expected the top sides all won, Kings Coll were 15-27 winners at Brockleians, whilst Southwark ran in a convincing 45-26 result against Orpington.  O Wills were 29-6 winners against Askeans and there is no information available on Footscray’s scheduled encounter against bottom club Bexley.



A Message from the President
posted: April 12 2012

My apologies for the delay in posting this message on the website, but now the dust has now settled after last week's fantastic cup match against Wells, it is time to put 'pen to paper' so to speak.   It was a great day for Maidstone Rugby as a whole and we almost made it!!  I want to thank everyone who made it the day it was, there are just too many people to thank individually, both in the preparations and on the day.

You will all know who you are.  However, there are two groups of people who must take real credit; firstly the players and support staff for such a monumental and memorable match; and Carol McKenzie who ensured everyone was well fed and watered, arranged all the volunteers and helpers before during and afterwards etc.  She deserves an especially big thank you, Maidstone is very lucky to have someone like her!


Maidstone Rugby received RFU Accreditation
posted: April 12 2012

The Rugby Football Union recently launched a new Club Accreditation scheme to help all rugby clubs in England become stronger, more effective, more efficient and more enjoyable places to play rugby.

Among the first clubs to be awarded accreditation status was Maidstone Rugby, earning advantages like the Sport England Clubmark recognising the excellence of their mini and youth section together with increased status and credibility with local authorities, educational establishments and potential sponsors.

Accreditation was awarded at Twickenham Stadium as part of the Daily Mail Schools Day, when Community Game Board Chairman Rob Udwin/Chairman of the Board of Directors Paul Murphy presented a plaque for the clubhouse to club President Bob Beney and Executive Vice President Jim Tinsley.

Bob Beney commented that "Maidstone Rugby  is a club at the heart of our community and with a home Rugby World Cup in 2015 we expect to attract even more members. This is a great time for our sport and it’s a great accolade for us to be awarded Club Accreditation. We had a great day at Twickenham and will continue to welcome everyone to Maidstone Rugby, where we can guarantee they will have a marvellous time and make lots of new friends. Whether playing rugby, helping out as volunteers or simply coming along to watch the games everyone is welcome and they can see from the plaque on the wall that we are right up there with the best!”



Shepherd Neame Kent Cups Update
posted: April 08 2012

With a break from league action the last few days have seen the majority of clubs take the opportunity to fulfil their fixtures in the respective Shepherd Neame Kent Competitions.  In the Kent Cup the finalists are already known as Canterbury will take on Westcombe Pk and after last season’s league drama on the final day of the season, and with the clubs swapping leagues next season, there is bound to be a bit of added spice in that one.

In the Plate competition TJs progress although I can find no record of their semi-final match against Beckenham.  They will face the host club Medway who defeated Dover 16-14 in their semi-final and are looking to cap a promotion winning season with some silverware.

In the Vase competition Anchorians proved too strong for Invicta side Ash, running out winners by 10-24.  They will e looking to complete a league and cup double as they take on fellow Kent 1 side Dartfordians who despatched Lordswood 53-0 in their semi-final fixture.

In the Salver competition Cranbrook will face Brockleians after the Wealden side overcame the challenge from Shooters Hill 29-20.  Brockleians took on Metropolitan side Greenwich, running out 29-10 winners in a match played under floodlights at Orpington.

All of the finals will be played on Sunday 29thApril at Medway RFC as follows:

Shepherd Neame Kent Salver Final: Cranbrook v Brockleians, KO 12:00pm

Shepherd Neame Kent Vase Final: Gillingham Anchorians v Dartfordians, KO 1:00pm

Shepherd Neame Kent Plate Final: Medway v Tonbridge Juddians, KO 2:00pm

Shepherd Neame Kent Cup Final: Canterbury v Westcombe Park, KO 3:30pm



Around the Grounds (07 Apr)
posted: April 07 2012

Primarily an RFU cup weekend with the National Semi-Finals of the respective competitions, there are also two postponed fixture from earlier in the season to be fulfilled.

RFU Intermediate Cup:  The G-Force ran riot against visitors Nth Bristol as they ran out easy 58-3 victors in their semi-final.  They now go on to the final to face an Ilkley side that beat defending champions Stoke-on-Trent 24-20

RFU Senior Vase: Disappointment for Maidstone who went down narrowly at The Mote to Somerset club Wells in what was a titanic struggle with the result contested all the way to the final whistle. In the other semi-final Yorkshire club Wath upon Dearne were too strong for Stourbridge Lions, running out comfortable 52-7 winners.

RFU Junior Vase: Home advantage told for Harrow as they beat South West challengers Brockworth 38-6 and will meet Baildon in the final after they overcame Old Wheatleyans 10-23.

National 1: Blackheath hosted seventh placed Blaydon on Good Friday and after a solid 45-22 bonus point win look to have consolidated fourth place in the table, with an eight point gap between themselves and fifth placed Rosslyn Pk with three games to play.

London 2(SE):  Aylesford travelled to Sussex club Lewes knowing that nothing less than a bonus point win would keep their outside chances of the playoffs alive.  They had to come from behind but ran out 17-32 winners with the much needed bonus point to now sit third in the table but level on points with second club Charlton Pk and a point clear of Brighton.

I have also noticed that D&B have quite literally been told to ‘pull their socks up’ by the RFU, although the entry was dated April 1st, so somehow I think the apparent 5-point deduction can be taken with a ‘pinch of salt’.

Finally, the author is on tour with the Veterans XV next week so in the interests of accuracy and correct grammar the next edition of this weekly blog will a little bit later than usual, whilst I ‘sober up’!!!!!



Saracens coaching U15s at The Mote on 15th Apr
posted: April 06 2012

Maidstone Rugby's U15’s will be training with Saracens courtesy of QBE, Official Business Insurance Partner of Premiership Rugby. They are one of twelve grassroots rugby clubs across the country to be awarded a training session with top Premiership Rugby players and coaches. in addition to a number of their well known players being in attendance, their community team will be bringing the Aviva Premiership Trophy.

 

Get your photo taken with the trophy.

Ady Shaw will be taking photos with the trophy for those that want them.  The cost is £12 per photo and they will be A4 photos in a laser cut mount.  All profits will be shared between the club and the U15s tour fund.



Around the Grounds (31 Mar)
posted: March 31 2012

National 1:  With other results going their way, Blackheath move into fourth place in the table following a 23-36 win at Coventry

National 2(S):  Despite Barnes, Dings and Hertford all losing, Combe’s 24-18 loss at Albanians has realistically (if not mathematically) ended any faint survival hopes they may have harboured.  Barnes looks certain to join them with one of Dings or Hertford taking the last relegation spot.

National 3(SE):  Canterbury take the title - Bracknell, Luton and Havant relegation confirmed.

With Canterbury only needing a point at struggling Luton, the champagne was probably already on ice for the travelling supporters to start the celebrations as the city club duly delivered with a 15-61 win to tie up the league title and the accompanying promotion; a result that sends them straight back to Nat 2(S) at the first attempt.  After last week’s loss at Gravesend, TJs hosted a Dorking side that had ended Bishops Stortford’s faint hopes of the playoffs.  TJs couldn’t afford to trip up again and a 49-8 result puts their challenge back on the rails: although with Ampthill winning 17-52 at CS Rugby, the Hertfordshire club will still be favourites to take second place.  Gravesend went down 27-18 at Tring.

London 1(S): Title not yet decided but Thanet Wanderers to go down alongside S&E.

The competition here looks like ‘going down to the wire’ to decide the champions with only 3 points separating the top two sides.  With Guernsey entertaining the already relegated S&E a big score was always on the cards and the Channel Islanders duly delivered as they ran out 90-0 winners.  On the other hand, Elthamians had a completely different prospect as they hosted third club Basingstoke, Whilst they didn't pick up the bonus point the 24-10 win for the home side all but confirms the top two promotion places.  At the foot of the table Thanet’s 32-7 loss at Beckenham all but confirms their relegation to Ldn 2(SE) and with Portsmouth’s win (27-24) against Sidcup and Trojans victory (29-17) over Hove it looks like the third relegation spot may be decided on the last day of the season.  In mid-table Cobham lost to visiting Dover 16-29 whilst Haywards Heath went down 5-21 at home to Chichester, a result that moved the visitors back into third spot.

London 1(N):  Colfes entertained London 1(N) champions elect Thurrock and as expected went down heavily in a 7-48 defeat.

London 2(SE):  East Grinstead seal top spot, OMW's relegation partners still not sorted.

Whilst at the top of the division the contest between East Grinstead and Charlton Pk was intriguing, a large amount of the interest is centred around the teams involved in the relegation battle.  At the top however, G-Force’s 31-10 win over the second placed club handed them the league title although Charlton Pk still sit in pole position for the playoffs.  At the bottom end D&B failed to move out of the drop zone despite a convincing 60-0 thrashing of OMW, whilst Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks and possibly Heathfield all needed positive results to survive; Sevenoaks turned their recent dismal form around to beat Lewes 46-43 at Knole Paddock and now look to be safe, whilst Tunbridge Wells went down 38-31 at Dunstonians.  Heathfield also lost heavily (31-5) on their travels to Aylesford.   Mid-table Warlingham hosted Brighton and a 19-27 win for the visitors keeps their slim playoff hopes alive.

In London 2(SW) it looks as if Gosport & Fareham have taken the title; in second spot are Wimbledon, who were relegated last year and are looking to move back into London 1(S) at the first attempt via the playoffs.

London 3(SE):  Crowborough take the title, Uckfield relegated along with Eastbourne (tbc)

Another top two clash saw the league leaders gain revenge for their mid-season loss to Medway as they took the match and the league title with a 29-25 scoreline, regardless of the score both sides will find themselves playing London 2 rugby next season as the follow up last season’s 3rd & 4th place finishes with 1st & 2nd this time around.  The other match that resolved the relegation issue was the battle at the foot of the table as Uckfield hosted Park Hse, both sides had won last week as Park Hse thrashed Eastbourne and Maidstone had somehow contrived to lose at home to Uckfield.  Crawley’s withdrawal meant that this was Uckfield’s last league outing this season and even a positive result would have left them relying on other results for survival. In the end a narrow 19-21 home defeat sees them relegated and after being runaway champions of Sussex 1 last season they will find themselves back there for the next campaign.   All of the other fixtures were essentially dead rubbers, although Ashford travelled to Bromley for a contest that could see them take fourth place if Maidstone tripped up at Horsham.  In the end home advantage told as Bromley ran out 18-12 winners, whilst Maidstone were 10-16 winners at Horsham.  Elsewhere , Sheppey and Folkestone played out a 19-19 draw at ‘The Ditch’, Eastbourne had no fixture.

NB: Although in the past 3 sides have been relegated from L3(SE) with the winners of Kent 1,Sussex 1 and the runners up playoff winners between those two divisions promoted, current information on the London RFU website is showing only 2 confirmed relegations.  Crawley and Eastbourne with Uckfield being shown as safe within  L3(SE); this may be due to level transfers within respective divisions. For more information click here.

Kent 1:  Playoff spot and relegation places still not confirmed

Division champions elect Anchorians had no fixture this week and Vigo looked to secure the playoff berth against Sussex 1 club Burgess Hill as they hosted Sittingbourne, they will have to wait a bit longer as they went down 17-19 to the Swale side.  Only Dartfordians harboured any hopes of overhauling Vigo and they travelled to Hastings for what was a tough encounter, with Darts coming out on top (10-15) to keep their challenge alive.   At the foot of the table Beccehamians were looking to league survival as they hosted NAG knowing a win could ensure Kent 1 rugby next term, especially if Whitstable couldn’t post a positive result on the road at OGs. The 22-10 win for Beccs may yet not be enough to keep them up following Whitstable 31-38 win at OGs.   In mid-table Cranbrook travelled to Shooters Hill for a rehearsal of their Kent Salver semi-final with Shooters cashing in on home advantage to run out 36-25 winners.

Kent 2:  Kings College pierce Lancers hopes to take the title.

The big match here was yet another top two clash as Southwark travelled looking for revenge for an earlier defeat to Kings Coll, the result would almost certainly hand the league title to the victor and for the second time this season Kings Coll had enough to take the match and the league title 17-7.  Southwark remain second, 11 points clear of Brockleians who won 12-22 at Askeans whilst Lordswood consolidated fourth spot with a 22-11 win at O Wills.  In the local derby Orpington went down 12-31 to visiting Footscray.



U6s Sponsored Ball Pass in aid of Sport Relief
posted: March 27 2012

U6's Sport Relief "How Many U6's Rugby Passes In A Mile"

Doing their bit for Sport Relief, Sunday 25th March saw the U6s take on a sponsor 'Ball Pass' over the distance of 1 mile. The mile worked out at 4 laps of the first team pitch. All the children raised sponsorship  and each sponsor was also asked to estimate the number of passes they thought would be made during the event.  A prize of a £25 gift voucher was donated by the club's Tag Rugby sponsor for the sponsor estimating the number of passes closest to what was actually achieved.

In total the U6s made1440 passes raising an amazing £109 for Sport Relief.  David Siddaway was closest with his number of 1422 taking the prize.
 
Well Done to All Involved.
 
 
 
 
 


Shepherd Neame Kent Competitions Update
posted: March 26 2012

With everything else that has been going on the state of play in the other Kent Knockout Competitions appears to have been a bit on the back burner, so here is a brief resume of where things are at the moment in the various county competitions.

Shepherd Neame Kent Cup

Both of this last weekend’s semi-finals were close fought battles; Westcombe Pk hosted Aylesford and after the heroics of the visitors in the last round when they beat Blackheath, this time they lost out narrowly (20-17) to Combe.  The other semi-final was also keenly contested between Canterbury and a determined O Dunstonians, with the city club just coming out on top by the odd point in the 18-17 scoreline and progressing to the final on 29thApril.

Shepherd Neame Kent Plate

The semi-final line-up for the Plate competition has now been decided; following TJs narrow win over Ashford some time ago and Medways recent 20-19 win against Thanet, those clubs will now host Beckenham and Dover in their respective semi-finals.  Both Beckenham and Dover received walkovers in their quarter-final ties.

Shepherd Neame Kent Vase

In the Vase competition the first round matches have been completed with Cranbrook’s exit at the hands of Invicta League side Ash the only real upset.  The second round matches have also largely been completed with Ash again defeating Kent 1 opposition as they downed Sittingbourne 13-8.  Elsewhere the other matches pretty much ran to form and in the semi-finals Ash will now face Kent 1 leaders Anchorians, whilst Dartfordians host Lordswood

Shepherd Neame Kent Salver

In the first round Shooters Hill received a bye, whilst Brockleians defeated Askeans and Cranbrook proceed through the withdrawal of Whitstable.  In the remaining fixture Kent 1’s Beccehamians went down 22-0 to Greenwich, meaning there is non-league representation in both the Vase & Salver competitions as Greenwich face Kent 2’s Brockleians in one semi-final, with Cranbrook hosting fellow Kent 1 club Shooters Hill in the other.



Around the Grounds (25 Mar)
posted: March 25 2012

As we get to the business end of the season some ‘make or break’ fixtures across a number of the divisions, some that would confirm respective divisional champions, others that would end any realistic promotion hopes and those that could confirm relegation or put sides in real relegation jeopardy.

National 1:  Blackheath put in a great performance to register their sixth consecutive bonus point win as they downed a Macclesfield side that occupied fifth spot at the start of the afternoon by 41-27.  The result sees the ‘Club’ move above the visitors into fifth spot and level on points with Rosslyn Pk.  If they continue the momentum then a top four finish is on the cards.

National 2(S):  Westcombe Park’s slim survival hopes received a boost as they beat visiting Taunton 39-20, Combe’s form has picked up since their loss three weeks ago to fellow strugglers Barnes, and whilst they still prop up the division it is apparent that the club won’t be going down without a fight.

National 3(SE):  Canterbury’s narrow 17-21 win over Staines pretty much confirms them as champions of National 3(SE), but behind them the battle for the playoff spot is as fierce as ever.  With Gravesend entertaining TJs in the county derby fixture and posting a surprise 27-26 win the initiative now seems to be with Ampthill who hosted a Luton side that look certain to go down and a 4-try bonus point was always on the cards, the 32-3 result moves them 3-points clear of TJs with three matches remaining.  Bishops Stortford’s late challenge faced a stern test as they travelled to Surrey club Dorking, whose own promotion bid has faded in recent weeks but a 40-26 win would now appear to have ended the Essex sides late challenge.

London 1(S): The big clash here was the battle between Chichester and league leaders Guernsey, and the 10-27  loss at home would appear to have ened the Sussex sides promotion hopes as they slipped to fourth in the table. With Elthamians away at relegated S&E a win was always on the cards and an 8-52 result keeps them in the playoff spot.  At the foot of the table none of the relegation threatened sides had easy fixtures; Trojans who a probably in a more secure position faced Basingstoke and went down 34-17, whilst Portsmouth hosted Beckenham in what was a high scoring match but lost out 31-36 to the visitors  Thanet who desperately need the points hosted mid-table Cobham and also lost narrowly as they went down 22-26  Elsewhere, in the mid-table battles Dover entertained Haywards Heath winning 18-6,  whilst Sidcup poor form continued as they faced Hove and lost out 7-38.  With just three matches remaining it is very much between Thanet, Portsmouth and Trojans as to which will occupy the two remaining relegation places.

London 1(N):  Colfes remain in a solid mid table position despite going down 35-11 at Rachford Hundred.

London 2(SE):  A number of key games here; leaders East Grinstead travelled to take on Brighton, one of their toughest opponents this season.  Inconsistency means that the south coast outfit, despite a late charge had only an outside chance of the playoffs, and a narrow 33-39 loss to the G-Force looks to have effectively torpedoed that opportunity. Second placed Charlton Pk faced a D&B side that have been tough opposition recently and were looking to lift themselves clear of the relegation zone, both sides needed the win and it was Charlton Pk that maintained their playoff hopes as they ran out 26-14 winners, a result that drops D&B back into the relegation zone.   Dunstonians were also looking to maintain their playoff challenge as they travelled to Lewes but went down 48-24 to the Sussex side and now slip to fifth in the division.  Already relegated OMW hosted an Aylesford side that could not afford to drop points, although the Bulls outside chance of the playoffs was never really going to fall foul of the already basement side as they ran out 18-44 winners.

A key battle in the relegation area was the confrontation between Heathfield and visiting Sevenoaks; things have gone off the rails a bit in recent weeks for the Kent side and both clubs needed a positive result to avoid the ‘drop zone’, but is was the sussex outfit that took the points with a convincing 42-12 result, leaving Oaks flirting dangerously close to the relegation zone.  Both sides will probably have had a keen eye on the result from Frant Road and Tunbridge Wells’  29-22 at home to Warlingham will not have eased their relegation worries as the second automatic relegation spot now looks to be decided between D&B, Wells and Oaks..

London 3(SE):  Big matches here involving both ends of the table; Folkestone hosted leaders Crowborough and anything less than a win effectively ended their promotion challenge, especially with Medway picking up an expected win (37-18) against visiting Bromley. In the end Folkestone hopes were left in tatters as the Crows ran out convincing 14-53 winners, a result that pretty much assures them of the league title.  The remaining matches of interest involved the relegation battle, Park Hse hosted bottom club Eastbourne, the Sussex coastal side have competed hard all season but Park House were not in charitable mood as they ran out convincing 76-10 winners.   Meanwhile, Uckfield travelled to take on fourth placed Maidstone who featured a number of changes since last week’s cup win, the county town side struggled to find any rhythm and it was the Sussex side that took the points 13-18 but still look favourites for the drop with only one match remaining for them.   With Crawley’s withdrawal from the league, Sheppey had no fixture this week although with both Uckfield and Park Hse winning they will be keen to get back on the park next week.   In mid-table the battle between fifth placed Ashford and sixth club Horsham convincingly went the way of the Kent side 41-7.

Kent 1:  Apart from the clash bewteen the top two sides, the big news was the withdrawal of Guys Hospital from the league and the subsequent expunging of all of their results.  The outcome of the clash between Anchorians and Vigo effectively hands the Gillingham club the title as they just had enough to run out 23-10 winners.  The result means that Vigo aren’t yet certain of the playoff spot as Dartfordians stay just seven points behind, but reliant on results going their way to overhaul the village side.  Hastings closed the gap in fourth spot as they ran out 8-29 winners at NAG, whilst Shooters stay fifth after a narrow 11-15 win at Whitstable.  That result combined with Beccehamians surprise 17-22 win at Cranbrook sees them move above the ‘Oystermen’ in to tenth spot but still well adrift of ninth place but potentially out of the relegation zone following Guys Hospital's withdrawal.  In mid-table Sittinbourne downed OGs quite convincingly by 39-8.

Kent 2:  Promotion challengers Southwark made amends for their earlier loss to Askeans that they may have thought had scuppered their title hopes, with a 45-10 hammering that keeps up their promotion challenge.  Meanwhile Footscray were doing the Lancers a favour as they downed the league leaders 14-12, a result that reduces the gap between the front runners to two points and makes next week’s clash between them look like a ‘winners takes all’ confrontation.  Brockleians remain in third spot following a 29-19 win over O Wills, whilst Lordswood were 17-12 winners over bottom club Bexley.



Evergreen XV make it Five in a Row
posted: March 21 2012

Mike Laurenson’s men made it to their fifth consecutive semi-final without having to cross the whitewash as Tunbridge Wells were unable to field a team by the due date.  The side will now host Blackheath at The Motefor the semi-final, in a repeat of what was last season’s final.  Club Fixtures Sec, Richard Ewence is already looking to identify an appropriate date, which will be announced in due course.

 

 



Around the Grounds (17 Mar)
posted: March 18 2012

This is a scheduled RFU Cup weekend, the only league fixtures played were those still outstanding from the adverse weather in February.  In the RFU cup matches both the Intermediate Cup and the Senior Vase featured clubs from London SE divisions with particular interest for Kent in the Senior Vase as the county town club faced Suffolk based Newmarket.

RFU Knockout Competitions

Intermediate Cup:  I had heard through the grapevine that the L2NE Enfield Ignation’s coach went to watch East Grinstead in their league fixture against Tunbridge Wells last week, and was a bit disconcerted as he watched the G-Force rack up the 4-try bonus point inside 20 minutes.  In this regional final his worries were well founded as Enfield went down 42-0 to the visiting Sussex club who now host North Bristol in the National Semi-Final.

Senior Vase: The county town club travelled to take on a Newmarket outfit that overturned Norwich in the last round.  The county town club got of to a slow start and were a try down inside two minutes but whilst the 15-18 scoreline in favour of the Kent club looks close, on balance on balance of possession and creativity, Maidstone deserved to win this hard fought encounter against a dogged and determined Newmarket side that stuck to a limited 10-man gameplan.  Maidstone now host Somerset based Wells in the National Semi-Final.

Junior Vase:  In the last of the RFU knockout competitions regional finals Harrow beat London Exiles 33-20 and now face Gloucester based Brockworth in their National semi-Final.

London 2 (SE):  Aylesford maintain their challenge for an outside chance at the playoffs as they were made to work for their 36-27 over relegation threatened Tunbridge Wells; in part through unforced errors but also due to the pressure applied by a young Wells side.  Elsewhere, Charlton Pk move back into second spot following 7-40 win at relegated OMW, a result that puts them back in the box seat for the playoffs.

London 3 (SE):  Before covering the outstanding London 3(SE) fixture between Folkestone and Eastbourne, it would appear that last weekend’s rumours of Crawley’s withdrawal from the league were founded on truth, as a glance at the RFU website during the week showed that their name had been removed from the roster and results for the various that had already played them expunged and the appropriate points adjustments made.  The major impact is at the bottom end of the table and its effect on the relegation battle.  Anyway, getting back to the on-pitch action; as expected third placed Folkestone, despite an injury list that makes an episode of Casualty look like a small sticking plaster job; had too much for an Eastbourne side that have competed hard all season, despite the adverse results; with the Kent side convincing 54-5 winners.

Kent 1:  I was led to believe that the outstanding Guys Hospital v HSBC fixture was scheduled for this weekend, but no evidence of a result can be found on either the official RFU or club websites.

NB:  Next weeks blog will be delayed slightly as the author is away attending an Ex-sevices reunion and will be consuming large amounts of alcohol with c400 like-minded individuals!!!



Maidstone to host RFU Senior Vase National Semi-Final
posted: March 18 2012

Following victory a tight encounter at Newmarket in the London & SE Regional Final, Maidstone will play Somerset based Wells in the National Semi-Final on Sat 7th April (Easter Saturday).

 

 



Crawley RFC withdraw from London Div 3 (SE)
posted: March 15 2012

It would appear that last weekend’s rumours of Crawley’s withdrawal from the league were founded on truth, as having refered to the  RFU website during the week it shows that their name had been removed from the league roster and results for the various clubs that had already played them expunged with the appropriate points adjustments made.  Whilst this had little impact on the top half of the league, the major impact is at the bottom end of the table and its effect on the relegation battle, particularly with those sides  that were still scheduled to face them.

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Luke Debnam on the Freedom Trail for charity
posted: March 13 2012

1st XV front row forward Luke Debnam will be walking the Freedom Trail on behalf of the Royal British Legion between the 3rd and 10th of July.

The trail across the Pyrenees from France into Spain retraces the notoriously dangerous but beautiful escape route of British and Allied Service men during WWII.

Luke is hoping the monies will go towards the 'Help for Heroes ' campaign. Donations can be made via 'Just Giving' (click here) or through the British Legion collecting box on the bar at the club.



Court & Social take the Trophy
posted: March 12 2012

So now we know; the real brains of the club are the senior squad!!!!  In what was an enjoyable evening, Saturday saw the annual quiz competition for the 125 Cup, with questions covering a wide range of topics the victors, in what was a close competition were members of the senior squad (ably assisted by the fairer sex) under the guise of ‘Court & Social’.  Hot on their heels but just edged out were ‘Loose Ends’ and the ‘Welsh Dragons’ in what was a high scoring contest between the three front runners.



Around the Grounds (10 Mar)
posted: March 11 2012

National 1: Blackheath haven’t won on the road at Tynedale since the 08/09 season and matches between the two sides are normally tight encounters.  This time however, the ‘club’ were convincing 17-34 winners to keep them in touch with both Macclesfield and Rosslyn Pk at the top end of the table, but still well away from the promotion battle, although a fourth place finish is still a real possibility.

National 2(S): After last week’s disappointment against Barnes, Combe produced a good performance on the road to beat fellow strugglers Hertford 13-22.  Barnes also lost and also look to be destined to go down, whilst the third relegation spot looks like being contested between Dings and Lydney who faced each other this weekend with Lydney coming out 29-10 winners

National 3(SE):  Quite a compact little grouping for this report as the big hitters in the division were involved in just 3 matches; although there is little chance of catching the league leaders, Ampthill needed a positive result to stay in contention for the playoff place and duly inflicted the city club’s first defeat of the season as the ran out 24-33 winners at Merton Lane to stay hard on TJ’s heels.  Elsewhere both TJs and Bishops Stortford won as TJs remain in second spot on points difference following a convincing 41-17 win against visiting Westcliff; whilst Gravesend couldn’t dim BishopS Stortfords charge with the Essex side running out 40-28 winners to stay in fourth spot just 3 points behind.

London 1(S): The key match at the top of the table was between challengers Elthamians and visiting Chichester, a good result for either could potentially end the others challenge.  It was the Kent side that came out on top, and convincingly so judging by the 34-12 scoreline, a result that drops the Sussex side to third place, three points off the pace.  At the head of the table Guernsey had too much for visiting Dover as they ran out easy winners 53-10, a result that could still put the Kent side in relegation danger.  In fourth spot Basingstoke got the better of hosts Hove 15-34.  The local battle between Beckenham and Sidcup saw the hosts get the result that they needed to alleviate some relegation fears, as they beat a visiting side whose form has dipped since mid-season by 28-14.  At the foot of the table S&E’s relegation is confirmed following a 67-7 defeat at the hands of Trojans, whilst Thanet look favourites to join the Surrey side following a 37-21 defeat at Haywards Heath, although Portsmouth’s 47-24 loss at Cobham means they also remain very much in the relegation zone.

London 1(N):  Colfes faced second placed side Colchester and went down 11-36 to the promotion chasing Essex club.

London 2(SE):  Having had a severe dent put in their playoff chances last week, Aylesford had the opportunity to inflict a dent of their own as they hosted second club Charlton Pk and a 13-7 home win drops Park to third in the table with Brighton now the playoff favourites in second spot following their 13-16 win at Deal & Betteshanger.  As expected East Grinstead were too strong for visitors Tunbridge Wells, posting a solid 36-12 win to stay well clear at the head of the table. A 13-27 win at Sevenoaks for Dunstonians keeps them in the hunt, whilst Lewes bounced back from last week’s loss to the league leaders with a convincing 5-37 win at Warlingham.  In the relegation battle, Sevenoaks now look to have been drawn into the fight after two consecutive defeats, especially as Heathfield turned in a resounding 61-0 home win against OMW; there are now only seven points covering the sides trying to avoid the last relegation spot making for an interesting run in to the season finish.

London 3(SE):  At the start of the day there were rumours of Crawley’s withdrawal from the league, but they say you should never listen to rumours, as the already relegated Sussex side duly hosted Park House, but went down heavily 12-72.  Elsewhere, Folkestone’s website was asking for both Sheppey and Horsham to do them a favour against their respective opposition, in the end both failed to provide, as Sheppey went down 3-31 at home to league leaders Crowborough, whilst Horsham lost 10-34 to visiting Medway.  As it happened Folkestone didn’t do themselves any favours, going down 17-5 at Bromley, a result that effectively ends their promotion challenge.  Maidstone stay fourth as they ran out 17-31 winners at Eastbourne, with Ashford moving into fifth spot above Horsham following their 13=37 win at Uckfield.  The battle for the last relegation spot now looks like a battle between Uckfield, Park House and possibly Sheppey.

 Kent 1:  At the head of the table Anchorians moved a step closer to the title with a solid 17-29 win at OGs, whilst second club Vigo had no fixture; in third spot Dartfordians were convincing 3-62 winners at Guys Hospital with fourth placed Hastings posting a similar result (62-13) as they hosted Cranbrook.  In mid table Shooters Hill were convincing 32-5 winners against visiting Sittingbourne with HSBC bouncing back from last week’s defeat with a resounding 74-14 win over NAG.  At the foot of the table Beccs did themselves a power of good with a 40-15 win against visiting Whitstable, a result that lifts them above bot NAG and Guys.

Kent 2:  With title favourites Kings Coll having no fixture this week, second club Southwark kept up the pressure as they took on third place Brockleians, but the Lancers were made to work for the points as they took the result 19-26.  Fourth placed Lordswood ran out easy winners as they posted 56 points for only 10 in reply at Orpington, seeing them drop to second from bottom following wins for O Wills against Bexley (34-7) and Askeans over Footscray (36-31)



1st XV Shirts presented to Club Sponsors
posted: March 06 2012

Representatives from some of the club’s sponsors were on hand at the weekend to be presented with the 1st XV shirts carrying their company logos.  Long term sponsors Glosrose represented by Chairman Tony Butcher and Crowe Clark Whitehill by partner Mark Anderson were also present for the club’s formal presentation of the RFU Seal of Approval.  Both companies have been long term supporters of grassroots rugby with the county town club.

 

Photos:

Top - Tony Butcher from Glosrose and bottom – Mark Anderson from Crowe Clark Whitehill are presented with Maidstone Rugby shirts by 1stXV player Ben Williams and Chairman Andy Golding.



Maidstone’s Ollie Newton and Jamie Owen selected for Kent U20 squad.
posted: March 06 2012

Maidstone 1st XV squad players Ollie Newton and Jamie Owen have been selected for the Kent Under 20s squad for this weekend’s National U20 County Championship Quarter-Final against Hertfordshire.  This is likely to be Ollie’s last outing in the Uk for some time as he departs for New Zealand on the 18th March.

Both Ollie and Jamie are two of a number of talented young players in the club currently playing at 1st XV and senior squad level.



Maidstone Rugby – Shepherd Neame Kent Cup
posted: March 06 2012

It is with regret that the club has to inform the members that it has been forced to make the decision to withdraw from its Quarter-Final fixture against Old Dunstonian RFC in the Shepherd Neame Kent Cup.  The pressure on the playing calendar created by a postponed league fixture and the club’s continuing run in the RFU Senior Vase meant that even if it had been successful in its fixture against Old Dunstonians, it would have been extremely difficult to honour the subsequent semi-final.

For reasons of competition integrity the club also felt it had to maintain its league campaign on a competitive basis as well as maintain its challenge in the RFU Senior Vase.

This is not a decision that the club has taken lightly and Kent RFU have been extremely understanding of the circumstances and our decision.



Club presented with RFU's Whole Club Seal of Approval
posted: March 05 2012

There’s nothing quite like making a day of it, and in addition to the club’s ‘Old Boys’ day, Saturday saw Kent RFU’s Immediate Past President, Robin Taylor visit the club to formally make the presentation of the RFUs prestigious Whole Club Seal of Approval. The presentation was made to Chairman Andy Golding and Seal of Approval Coordinator Wendy Pound, both of whom were the driving force behind the project. In addition to a large number of the members being present, a significant number of the club’s sponsors were on hand to witness the presentation and see first-hand what their support has helped the club to achieve. To round the day off, and with the 1stXV’s fixture against Crawley having been conceded by the opposition, the large crowd also had the pleasure of watching the Mustangs XV put in a good performance to post a win in their league fixture against Blackheath.



Around the Grounds (03 Mar)
posted: March 03 2012

National 1: A good win for the ‘Club’ at the Rectory Field as they beat Cambridge 48-33 in a high scoring match.  The result sees them remain in sixth place but closes the gap on fifth and fourth places with Macclesfield losing 48-23 at Fylde and Rosslyn Pk who drew 19-19 with visiting Coventry

National 2(S): Combe really needed a win against fellow strugglers Barnes to maintain any hope of a late survival act but went down to the visitors by 23-24, with Dings winning at Henley and Lydney picking up a losing bonus point at Launceston, things now look bleak for the Orpington based outfit.

National 3(SE):  The weekend saw all of the promotion hopefuls facing bottom half opposition.Bottom vs top was always going to be a 5-point win for the visitors and the expected avalanche of tries for Canterbury at Havant happened as the city club ran out 15-90 winners.  Second club TJs were also convincing winners as the posted a 15-34 score at London Irish, whilst third placed Ampthill posted a similar 10-36 score at Staines.  Bishops Stortford stay in touch with the top three with a 13-19 win at Westcliff.  Dorking’s big 60-7 win at Luton keeps them in fifth spot, but there challenge is realistically all but over.

London 1(S): In the tight promotion battle at the head of the division, leaders Guernsey travelled to East Kent to take on a struggling Thanet side and as expected were convincing 21-56 winners to stay at the head of the division.  Chichester stay in second spot on points difference following a 38-10 against visiting Trojans; Elthamians travelled to The Crabble to face mid-table Dover and posted an equally convincing score 15-30 scoreline to stay in thrd spot, just two points adrift of the top two, Sidcup’s promotion challenge may have faltered but a good result against visiting Basingstoke would effectively derail their aspirations but the Hampshire side had enough to post a 7-18 win to stay fourth.   At the bottom end Hove got back to winning ways, despatching the already relegated S&E 7-31, with Portsmouth doing their survival chances a power of good with a 19-13 win against Haywards Heath.  Beckenham hosted a resurgent Cobham side that has found some consistency in the second half of the season and the hosts were desperate for a positive result to edge clear of the relegation battle, the 40-18 scoreline would appear to register that the Kent ckub have enough to keep them out of trouble.

London 1(N):  With Nth Walsham struggling to get out of the relegation zone and visiting Colfes comfortable in mid-table’ it was apparent from the 40-3 scoreline in favour of the Norfolk club that they were far more ‘up’ for the game than the visitors, although they’ll need a couple more results like this to avoid the drop.

London 2(SE):  The realistic battle in the division is for the playoff position, and the main game affecting that was Brighton vs Aylesford, a win for the hosts would be a setback for the Kent clubs hopes and also significantly enhance Brighton’s chances with the 15-3 scoreline appearing to cement Brighton’s credentials for a playoff spot.  The other key battle was Dunstonians against visiting Warlingham, the visitors hopes have faded in the second half of the season, but OD’s are still in the playoff battle although the 26-32 result in favour of the visitors would have appeared to have given ODs playoff hopes a setback.  At the foot of the table Sevenoaks needed to post a good win against relegation favourites OMW to relieve any fears they were harbouring and the 36-20 score in favour of OMW would appear to have drawn the Kent sode into the relegation scramble. The battle between Tunbridge Wells and D&B could go a long way to deciding the second relegation spot and a narrow 6-7 win for D&B has relieved some of their fears but will really start Wells worrying about league safety. In the other fixtures, leaders East Grinstead were convincing 22-42 winners against  Lewes, whilst Charlton Pk stay in second spot with a 27-13 win over Heathfield, who now look relegation candidates after D&B’s narrow win.

London 3(SE):  As expected the top three all posted winning results with Crowborough beating Bromley 40-6, Medway downing Uckfield 39-0 and Folkestone getting the much needed win over Horsham 33-13 to stay in contention.  Maidstone received a HWO against relegated Crawley and will move into fourth spot (when the RFU tables catch up on events) and both Ashford & Sheppey eased their fears as they beat Eastbourne (53-7) and Park Hse (5-7) respectively.  Overall the results now leave one of Uckfield or Park Hse in real relegation danger, so their clash at the end of the month could have real survival significance.

Kent 1:  Favourites for the title, Anchorians faced visiting Shooters Hill and ran out 27-7 winners.  Second placed Vigo had a similarly difficult encounter against OGs and posted a 27-10 win and with Dartfordians in third spot having no fixture this week, it looks very much like the top two places for the division are set, unless something unexpected happens.  Hastings are now the best of the rest as they were 10-37 winners at Whitstable with Sittingbourne moving into sixth spot after a narrow 22-19 win over Beccehamians. Cranbrook were 31-21 winners over HSBC to consolidate a mid-table finish whilst NAG went down heavily (17-45) in the relegation battle against Guys and drop to twelfth place.

Kent 2:  At the top the two promotion favourites both won as Kings College were convincing 10-39 winners at Lordswood whilst Southwark Lancers posted a 41-11 score at home to O Wills. As expected Brockleians had a bit too much for hosts Footscray as they ran out 0-17 winners, whilst Bexley stay bottom despite a good 28-24 win against visiting Orpington.

NB:  Website Match Reports - On a slightly different note, and given the sad existence of the author who does spend time surfing a range of club websites across the region when he assemble this weekly blog; it is noticeable how a certain spin is put on the way in which clubs post (or don’t) their match reports. 

Some are the same day, others the following day or certainly on the Monday.  Some club’s post a report come win, lose or draw; whilst some club’s reports only appear intermittently and others only post a match report when they win, leaving a void when they don’t.  Also noticeable is how some club’s reports are normally always up quickly except when they lose, and then their appears to be a two or three  day hiatus, normally followed by  report containing a host of reasons why they lost and normally missing the key point of ‘the other team scored more points on the day’!  Normally because they had injuries or they missed the tackle, but seldom because the opposition stretched the defence or the opposing player fended or broke the tackle.

Some are written in an informal manner whilst others tend to be very much match summaries; in contrast some read like Tolstoy’s War & Peace and contain a ‘blow by blow’ account where everybody gets a mention.  Although to be fair the overwhelming majority of reports are fair and objective and written with as much impartiality as one should expect from the club writing it.

Of course there are those websites where nothing seems to appear, and one wonders why they have a website.  After all, a website’s value is its content and its currency.



QBE Autumn International Tickets, England v Fiji, Sat 10th Nov 2012
posted: February 29 2012

England face four Test matches in 2012s QBE Autumn International programme announced by the RFU.

They start against Fiji on Sat 10th Nov, then host Australia seven days later (17th Nov) before tacking South Africa on 24th Nov with the programme culminating in an encounter with current world champions the New Zealand ’All Blacks’ on Sat 1st Dec.

Tickets for the England v Fiji international are available on a 2 for 1 basis for Adults. The prices are; Category 1 - £30 (reduced from £60) and £10; Category 2 - £20 (reduced from £40) and £10. The £10 ticket level is for Juniors (15 years and below). From the example application form the adult tickets must be bought in pairs or multiples of 2, i.e. no odd numbers.

 To benefit from this offer the application must be submitted by 19th March 2012.

If members are looking for an opportunity to watch England play and take the familly then please contact Steve Vincent as soon as possible in order for him to submit the application to meet the 19th March deadline..



Shepherd Neame Kent Cup Update
posted: February 28 2012

With Aylesford already through to the Semi-Finals after overcoming Blackheath, the past week has seen two of the other Quarter-Final ties take place.  In the first played on a Tuesday night under floodlights, Canterbury look to be on course for a possible league and cup double as they overwhelmed a dogged Sheppey side 51-0 at Merton Lane.  In the second, played on Sunday at Crescent Farm, Sidcup hosted Westcombe Pk and in a hard fought contest and for the second year running Combe just edged the result by the odd point, with an 11-12 scoreline    The remaining tie in this round sees Dunstonians travel to The Mote to take on Maidstone for the last of the Semi-Final places on Sunday 11th March.

The semi-final draw for the competition has already been made and Aylesford will travel to Goddington Dene to face Westcombe Pk, whilst the winners of the outstanding Maidstone v Dunstonians tie will host National 3(SE) club Canterbury.  Semi-Final matches are to be played on or before the 7th April.



Welcome back Ben
posted: February 27 2012

The club is pleased to announce the return of Ben Williams from Chester. Although regularly seen at the club when back in Maidstone, front row forward Ben has been playing his 1stXV rugby with National 3 (North) club Chester 1st XV in recent seasons whilst completing his studies at university. Ben began his rugby playing career with the county town club and was part of the age group coached by Pete Barford.

He last played for the club six seasons ago before departing to Gloucester and Hartpury College. Ben then moved to Chester where he has been locking horns with clubs such as Bradford & Bingley, Birkenhead Pk, Darlington Mowden Pk, Waterloo and West Hartlepool on almost a weekly basis.


Ben intends to see out the rest of the season with his home town club and due to the level that he has been playing at, he is not ‘cup tied’ from either the RFU Senior Vase or Kent Cup competitions.



Senior squad develop the U12 youngsters.
posted: February 27 2012

On Sunday the Under 12’s squad were joined by 3 guest coaches from the 1st team. Shaun Neaves, assisted by Ben Williams and Josh McKenzie delivered a rucking and mauling master class for the squad. They then took the forwards off to the scrum machine to learn and develop there scrummaging technique.

The coaches were impressed with the development they saw in the session and in the game at the end.  All the boys all really enjoyed the session and certainly looked like they had been put through their paces by the end!!

Thanks very much to Shaun, Ben and Josh for their efforts particularly after celebrating a big 1st team cup victory on Saturday



Tuggys Testimonial Game
posted: February 27 2012

by Nic Cracknell, manager, reporter and ex skipper to a number of the “Old Farts" (OF) on display.

It was a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon, and over 50 players and a large crowd turned out at the Mote to celebrate David Tugwell (Tuggy to all that know him) testimonial game, celebrating 35 years of playing rugby at Maidstone.

Tuggy a archetypal scrum half, started playing junior rugby with the under 7’s and through his time at Maidstone has played at every level including many seasons in the 1stteam which on occasions he still has a run out for.

Sundays testimonial game however pitched his all conquering Mustangs side of a decade ago against players both old and new who had played with Tuggy in the past. The game was divided into 4 quarters of 20 minutes allowing all players to get a run out, and was officiated by two club stalwarts Mr Simon Wright (the smaller) and Mr Steve Whiteside an ex society referee who now lives in the midlands; in fact it is worth mentioning that many players had come from far and wide to support and participate in the match.

The game kicked off with the Mustangs attacking an “old farts” 15, many of the olds (and to be fair some of the Mustangs) having not picked up a rugby ball in anger for 10 years; so it was with some surprise and much pride for this reporter that the “OF” scored the first try of the match following a number of phases of play, in fact one of the oldest members on the day, Mark Curry (MC), was the scorer “flopping over the line from 1 yard (meter)”. The Mustangs, stung into action soon responded with a try of their own but at the end of 20 minutes the scores were 7:5 to the Mustangs. The OF’s came off to rapturous applause, the medical staff on standby were stood down and the next 15 took to the field to pit their wits and skills.

The next 20 minutes proved a lively encounter, Tuggy in control of his team and pulling the strings started to get the Mustangs moving with some incisive running and adept passing, but facing them now were a different crew and led by the Charlton brothers they were equally up for the challenge, at the end of the 2ndquarter nobody had scored but the play on display had been impressive.

As we rolled into the 3rdquarter some of the guests 15 were replaced with new recruits including the entire back row and on rolled the South Sea islanders Tim, Api and Lee. Tuggy seeing this addition and knowing the affinity back row players have with scrum halves did what any sensible person would have done and changed sides, his excuse being he wanted the opportunity to play with everybody. Well the game was fast flowing and tries were scored on both sides including one by Russell Evens who found himself on the wing and in space. Not since 1998 had he scored a try (or in fact played) and his sheer delight was palpable, unfortunately his good lady despite supporting had not witnessed the event and he was somewhat crestfallen by her omission; well ladies do have a tendency to chat amongst themselves on occasion.

The 4thquarter arrived, and with the Mustangs only 3 points ahead it was going to be an interesting last 20 minutes. Many of the “OF” now having had a good rest re-entered the fray bolstered by anyone who hadn’t yet played including a couple of hard hitters, however it was the Mustangs who scored with incisive and devastating running through their backs. They followed this up with another try and it was only after the 3rd try blasted in that as guest team manager I realised that my opposite number, a Mr Shaun Neaves (clearly a man with far more experience in these matters than me) was using his full complement of substitutes, without the substitute bit. Parity was restored as anyone still in a shirt was put onto the field, and despite 20 aside the rugby was still entertaining. The game ended with a Mustangs win, no complaints were registered with the officials, who in reality claimed not to have noticed any increase in playing numbers.

Players from all sides warmly congratulated each other and Tuggy was cheered off the pitch by players and crowd alike.

A small presentation after the match presented Tuggy with an engraved cut glass Port decanter (and a bottle to match) inscribed with the words To Tuggy from everybody at Maidstone Rugby Club. The throng then returned to the club house for a well-earned drink and to regale in story’s both old and new. Long lost friends reacquainting themselves children played and ran excitedly through adults legs, truly it was a fantastic day, for a great guy and a true stalwart of Maidstone Rugby Club.

Well done Tuggy!

Finally my thanks to the club for facilitating the match and especially the bar staff who worked tirelessly, the kitchen staff that provided some hot sustenance, Roger and Andy for touch judge impartiality and all the players and supports who turned up on the day.   I’ll close with a parting comment from Nick Smith as he walked out “God I ache, that was fun though and I’d like to do that again......but not for another 10 years”.

2022 ! most of us will have a Zimmer frame, but Zimmer or not I bet Tuggy will still be playing rugby for Maidstone.

A message from Tuggy:

Thanks very much to everybody that played and watched my Testimonial game, many of whom travelled a long way to be there.
It was better than I could ever of imagined and so grateful for past and presents players laying on a festival of rugby!
I had re assured players who had not been on the pitch for many a year that is was a bit of fun and people would be going easy. Clearly from the first kick off it was going to be full on – with the many of the old 4th team setting the pace, intensity and high tackles!!
 
We all have many memories of shared victories and tales of skill and brilliance, I think that Ian McGeehan summed both this and for me yesterday in his speech to the Lions in 97 when 2 hours before the game he said -
 
‘I can tell you that these are the days that you never believe will come again. It has.
And I can tell you that I’ve given a lot of things up. I love my rugby. I love my family.
And when you come to a day like this, you know why you do it all.
You know why you’ve been involved in this.
It’s been a privilege, it is a privilege, because we’re something special.
Because you’ll meet each other in the street in 30 years time and they’ll just be a look and you’ll know just how special some days in your life are.
 
Somebody away from the club (who clearly doesn’t know me well!!) said, ‘what are you doing when you stop playing rugby after your testimonial’.....with a look of shock on my face I said ‘STOP, I have only just started....training Tuesday bring it on!’
 
Here’s to many more years rugby and friendship – thanks to you all for the crystal decanter and a great day.


Around the Grounds (25 Feb)
posted: February 25 2012

Primarily a weekend for the RFU Knockout competitions, the opportunity was also there for most clubs to play those outstanding fixtures postponed due to the adverse weather on  what the RFU terms a ’Next Available weekend’.

National 2(S): On paper and despite home advantage this should have been a rather one sided affair but to their credit Combe made fifth placed Hartpury work hard for the points in their 13-15 win and picked up a losing bonus point themselves; although it may be too little, too late as they remain five points adrift at the foot of the division.

National 3(SE):  The Canterbury juggernaut rolls on as they continue theior unbeaten run with a routine 20-47 win at fellow Kent club Gravesend.  A 44-17 win at Tring for TJs sees them move back into second spot, with Ampthill third, only on points difference after their 17-21 win at Dorking, a result that effectively ends the home side’s promotion challenge. Bishop Stortford’s  promotion challenge continues as they posted a 12-18 win at Bracknell.

London 1(S): Just four matches in this division, and all with some bearing on the relegation zone.  Sidcup got back to winning ways with a 27-13 win against bottom club S&E, whilst Thanet did themselves a favour with a convincing 32-15 win against visiting Trojans, although the East Kent side remain one place off the bottom. Dover alleviated some of their worries with a narrow 21-20 win in good result against in-form Hove.  The last of the battles was in mid table where a resurgent Cobham despatched Haywards Heath 43-17

London 1(N):  Bury St Edmunds may be below Colfes in the table but that is only due to a large points deduction, and it was the onfield form that showed as the Suffolk side ran out convincing 59-11 winners.

Note: In some cases not a full card of rearranged fixtures from London 2 downwards due to some clubs involvement in the RFU Competitions.

London 2(SE):  After last week’s cup defeat Charlton Park got their league challenge back on track as they beat Sevenoaks 45-32 in a high scoring match to move back into second spot in the table. Dunstonians despatched D&B 38-10 to maintain their playoff challenge in fourth spot.  Tunbridge Wells eased their relegation fears with a 26-9 win over visiting Heathfield & W, a result that now puts the Sussex side in the relegation danger zone.

London 3(SE):  The main matches here appeared to have more impact on the question of the relegation zone rather than decide anything on the promotion front.  As expected Crowborough hammered visiting Uckfield 64-7, a result that keeps the visitors involved in the struggle to avoid the last relegation spot.  Another key matchup in that battle was the clash between hosts Ashford and Park Hse, with the visitors desperately needing a positive result after last week’s defeat, in the end Ashford ran out 31-17 winners to ease their own fears and  leave Park Hse with real relegation worries. The final fixture was a mid-table battle as Bromley hosted Horsham with the Sussex side looking to build a buffer between themselves and Maidstone before they take on the second and third placed clubs in the next couple of weeks.  In the end home advantage told as Bromley ran out narrow 16-13 winners to remain sixth in the table

Kent 1:  Leaders Anchorians took on a visiting Hastings side that could of had the capacity to dent their title aspirations, the home side were in no mood to let their title bid falter as they ran out 19-7 winners. Vigo stay in second spot as they ran riot against visiting Beccehamians, winning 90-3, third club Dartfordians also won but by a more modest 11-15 result at Cranbrook.  OGs posted a solid 16-12 result against Shooters Hill, whilst Sittingbourne went down 28-42 at home to HSBC. Whitstable conceded against Guys Hospital and NAG had no fixture.

Kent 2:  At the head of the table Kings Coll were 27-3 winners at Orpington and now have an 11-point advantage over Southwark who didn’t have a fixture this weekend.  Brockleians remain third following a good 11-24 win at Lordswood, Footscray beat O Wills 24-0 whilst surprisingly bottom side Bexley overturned Askeans 34-15.

I gather there have been several comments on the Lancers’ website about the author’s intuition on the promotion situation from Kent 2.  All that can be said is that 2 went up last season. With there being 13 clubs in Kent, It is likely that the ‘powers that be’ may look to rebalance Kent 1 with 12 clubs and for possible new entrants to Kent 2.  How they achieve that I can’t say, as the crystal ball is beginning to cloud up a bit at the moment; so keep on winning and it could all be academic anyway.

RFU Knockout Competitions (Ldn & SE Regional Semi-Finals):

RFU Intermediate Cup: Teddington recorded their first loss in RFU cup competitions for three seasons as they went down 29-13 at Enfield.  The north London side will now face East Grinstead who gained revenge for an earlier league defeat at Aylesford, running out 11-25 winners against the Kent side to end the county’s involvement in the competition.

RFU Senior Vase: The Mote saw 13 tries scored in the match between Maidstone and Folkestone and with a 50-0 advantage the home side rather took their foot off the gas to allow a spirited Folkestone side back into the game before running out 55-33 winners.  They will face Newmarket in the regional final as the Suffolk side beat Norwich 28-22

RFU Junior Vase:  Although there is no county involvement left in the competition, it would be wrong not to include a summary; north London side Harrow overcame their south of the thames opposition in Croydon with a solid 32-7 win.  In the other semi-final London Exiles beat Cambridge based club Cantabrigians 22-12.



MAIDSTONE RUGBY CLUB WIN QBE RUGBY PRO COMPETITION
posted: February 23 2012

   Maidstone Rugby Club today celebrate the news that its players will train with Premiership Rugby stars after QBE announced the winners of this year’s Rugby Pro competition.

Maidstone Rugby Club under 15’s will be training with Saracens courtesy of QBE, Official Business Insurance Partner of Premiership Rugby. They are one of twelve grassroots rugby clubs across the country to be awarded a training session with top Premiership Rugby players and coaches, as well as £1,000 worth of training equipment. The QBE Rugby Pro training sessions will offer specialist advice on technical and physical rugby skills which have been identified by each winning club as areas for their improvement.

QBE, the specialist in business insurance, awarded the prizes to clubs who demonstrated how winning the training session and equipment would benefit the development of the club. The judges were impressed by Maidstone’s community spirit and their resilience and determination to encourage more youngsters to play rugby. Their ambition to develop the club’s youth system also shone through.

Sean McGuire, Maidstone Rugby Club Youth Chair said: “We are so proud to win this fantastic prize. Maidstone is a rugby mad club so it’s great to give something back to our players after all their hard work this season.  This will undoubtedly benefit our players and coaches to train with professionals from Saracens by improving all aspects of rugby across the club”.

Elliot Miller, QBE General Manager UK National, said: “We are delighted that Maidstone Rugby Club has won. Their entry was a great example of how sport helps inspire the community, and we hope that the contribution of a specialist training session and new equipment from QBE will help the club to develop and introduce more people to the game.”

In its second year, and going from strength to strength, the competition was judged by a panel which included members of the media, Premiership Rugby and QBE.

 

For more information on the winning clubs and further details on QBE Rugby Pro visit www.qberugby.com.   



Club Featured in Rugby Club Magazine
posted: February 22 2012

The club is one of the featured club’s in this month’s edition of the online Rugby Club magazine, to read this edition click here.  Page 33.



Around the Grounds (18 Feb)
posted: February 18 2012

National 1: Probably a closer contest than it looked on paper with bottom club Barking making Blackheath work hard for the 23-29 winning score.

National 2(S): After a win against Lydney last time out Combe were hoping for another positive result, although table toppers Richmond were a totally different proposition.  In the end Combe ran them very close, only losing out 13-6 but still anchored to the foot of the table and six points adrift of fellow strugglers Barnes who also lost.  Lydney now complete the bottom three, with Dings having put together a couple of winning results in recent weeks, the latest their 18-8 win against mid-table Southend.  Hertford aren’t totally out of the relegation battle but their 9-5 win over Clifton keeps them safe for the moment.

National 3(SE):  With most of the promotion chasers playing lower table opposition, the big game was at Merton Lane as runaway leaders Canterbury put a severe dent in Dorking’s promotion hopes with a convincing 44-19 win.   Ampthill as expected were resounding 66-0 winners against lowly Havant, with TJs also running in a convincing 29-0 score against Bracknell.  Bishop Stortford’s charge continued as they beat visiting mid-table London Irish 23-13   Kent’s Gravesend travelled to face bottom club Luton and the 16-9 win for the hosts’ moves them off the foot of the table, although they still remain relegation favourites alongside Havant

London 1(S): Although Hove’s promotion aspirations will have now faded there recent good form meant they still had the opportunity to put a dent into the league leaders hopes, as they entertained Chichester ; and in a close contest the 14-13 home win knocks Chichester off the top of the table  Of the chasing pack, second placed Guernsey despatched visiting Portsmouth with some ease (53-0) to take over top spot, whilst third club Elthamian’s 57-16 win against Thanet also maintains their challenge and keeps the East Kent side deep in relegation trouble.  In mid-table the battle between Haywards Heath and Beckenham was important to avoid being dragged into what is a congested lower half of the table in terms of the relegation battle; with the 15-7 win for Heath going some away to easing any fears they may have had as the season goes into its last quarter.  Then same applied at Eastleigh as Trojans entertained a Dover side that has lost some of its consistency this season, and the 13-13 draw probably did neither side any real favours.   Sidcup’s promotion challenge has realistically now faded but for their hosts Cobham, again the incentive was not to get dragged into the relegation battle; the 25-20 win for Cobham now moves them comfortably into mid table.

London 1(N):  Visiting Norfolk side Diss really needed a good win to keep alive any promotion play-off hopes so a 13-5 defeat  at the hand of Colfes has realistically ended any faint hopes they may have harboured and keeps Colfes in a solid mid table position.

London 2(SE):  Not a full card of fixtures due to the involvement of Aylesford, Charlton Pk and East Grinstead in the Intermediate Cup, meaning that Dunstonians, OMW and Tunbridge Wells had to sit out an additional week to that caused directly by the cold spell.  Sussex side Brighton took full advantage of the opportunity to reshuffle the placings at the head of the table and were solid 5-18 winners at Heathfield to move into second spot.   Lewes failed to cash in as they unexpectedly went down 33-26 at Deal & Betteshanger, a result that moves the Kent side out of the relegation zone for the time being.  In the last of the fixtures, mid-table sides Sevenoaks fell to a heavy 0-32 defeat at the hands of Warlingham at Knole Paddock, a result that sees clear water developing between the bottom five clubs and the rest of the table.

London 3(SE):  The wet conditions appear to have narrowed all of the scorelines in the division, although league leaders Crowborough had too much for Sussex rivals Horsham, as they ran out 10-30 winners to stay clear at the top of the table.  A positive result against in form Medway was always a big ask for Eastbourne as they went down 17-42  to the visitors whilst third club Folkestone had to work much harder for their points at mid table Uckfield, eventually running out narrow 3-10 winners.  Ashford, Park House and Sheppey all needed positive results to move clear of the relegation battle, on paper Ashford had the easier task as they travelled to Crawley who mathematically are already relegated, and ran out 20-0 winners, Sheppey  entertained a Bromley side three places above and ran out 11-0 winners to temporarily ease some relegation fears.  Meanwhile, Park Hse suffered a second defeat to Maidstone, going down 15-17 at home to the visitors in what was a scrappy match.

Kent 1:  Anchorians now look odds on favourites for the title’ and a 7-72 win at Beccehaminas can only reinforce that view.  Second placed Vigo now look favourites for the play-off spot following a 5-42 win at fourth club Shooters Hill, whilst third placed Dartfordians were also convincing 39-11 winners against NAG. Hastings and Bexhill take over fourth spot following a good 37-5 win against visiting Sittingbourne, whilst HSBC relieved some relegation zone fears with a 32-5 win over visiting Whitstable, a result that does nothing for the Oystermen’s survival hopes.  Guys Hospital remain in deep relegation trouble following their 5-12 defeat to visiting Cranbrook.

Kent 2:  At the head of the table the top two are well clear of the rest and convincimng wins for Kings Coll (32-5) at Bexley, and a 27-7 win for Southwark against Footscray means they both look a cast iron bet for promotion.  Orpington were solid 22-5 winners at O Wills, whilst Askeans just lost out to the only score of the match in a 0-3 defeat at Lordswood.

RFU Knockout Competitions:  A number of the county’s clubs are still involved in the RFU competitions, which are currently all at different stages.  With the regional semi-finals in all the competitions scheduled for the 25th Feb, both the Intermediate Cup and Junior Vase postponed fixtures took precedence in order to bring all the competitions to the semi-final stages, although the county has no clubs still competing in the Junior Vase.

RFU Intermediate Cup

Of the four matches taking place the county had an interest in two; Charlton Park travelled to East Grinstead and with the clubs currently heading London 2(SE) the Kent side were keen to avoid a second defeat at the hands of the Sussex club, in the end the Sussex side had too much for the SE London side and ran out 35-15 winners.  Aylesford were scheduled to travel to London 2 (NE) leaders Romford & Gidea Park, for a repeat of what was last year’s regional final and with the Essex club looking for revenge for last year’s defeat; in a hard fought contest the Kent side ran out 0-14 winners and will host East Grinstead in the semi-final next week.

In the other matches Enfield who sit just below Romford in their table hosted a Chiswick side that are in the chase for the playoff position in London 2(NW); Enfield had too much for their opposition and ran out 31-18 winners.  In the last of the fixtures Teddington, who are unbeaten in RFU competitions in the last three seasons, but struggling in London 2(SW) managed to maintain their three seasons of unbeaten cup form as they narrowly defeated  Tabard from London 2(NW) 22-16 and travel to Enfield to complete the regional semi-final line up.

RFU Junior Vase:  In the Junior Vase there are still some familiar faces from last season’s competition, most notably Cantabrigians who defeated Sheppey last year.  Another side of some local interest is Croydon, who organise the Evergreen Cup each season, they were 20-25 winners at Uxbridge and will face a Harrow side who defeated Bec OB in next week’s regional semi-final.  The remaining semi-final line up sees London Exiles host Cantabrigians.



Discussions Opened on Formation of Mote Sports Federation
posted: February 13 2012

Maidstone Rugby Club and Mote Cricket Club have opened discussions on the formation of a new, joint organisation, to be called, Mote Sports Federation, which will run the facilities shared by the two clubs at The Mote. By pooling efforts in this way, the aim of both clubs is to provide a better environment in which sport can be played on the ground.

While the intention is to reach an agreement as soon as possible, no timetable for completion has been set, to allow ample opportunity for discussion of any issues which may arise.

Members of both clubs will be updated of progress on a regular basis.

                                              ____________________

Joint Committee of Maidstone Rugby Club and Mote Cricket Club

Bob Beney, President                                        Dennis Fowle, Chairman Development

Trevor Langley, Chairman Development              Bill Hickling, Treasurer



Evergreen Cup Update
posted: February 13 2012

The club’s Evergreen Xv now know who they host in the Quarter-finals of the competition; as a result of Dartfordians withdrawal from the competition Mike Laurenson’s men will now face Tunbridge Wells.  Fixtures are due to be played by the end of February, although speaking with the Fixtures Sec, he believes that due to the bad weather, there may be a degree of latitude in the deadline plus there is also the possibility a staging the match during midweek and under floodlights.



Fixtures Update - Postponed Fixtures
posted: February 11 2012

Due to the disruption of this weekend’s fixtures, which have affected both league and RFU Cup competitions the following instructions have been issued.

RFU Cup matches (Intermediate Cup & Junior Vase) that were scheduled for this weekend (11th Feb) will now take place on the 18th Feb, League fixtures that were postponed on the 4th & 11th Feb will now be scheduled for the 25th Feb in most cases.  For those clubs still involved in the RFU Cup competitions on the 25th Feb (which includes Maidstone), postponed league matches will be played on the first available weekend; dependant on cup results on the 25th Feb, for some sides this will be the 17th Mar or 21st Apr. 

 

To the unitiated that is probably as ‘clear as mud’; so now the simple version as it affects us.  Our fixture against Folkestone in the regional semi-final of the RFU Senior Vase goes ahead on the 25th Feb as scheduled.  If we win then we play the winners of the other semi-final (Newmarket v Norwich) on the 17th Mar; as a result our first available weekend to play the postponed match against Sheppey will be the 21st Apr.  Should the result go against us on the 25th Feb against Folkestone then we play Sheppey on the 17thMar

 

Obviously somehwere in this busy schedule and before the 11th Mar we also have to fit in a Shepherd Neame Kent Cup Quarter-Final against O Dunstonians, who probably have the same fixture congestion as a number of clubs are now facing.

Full details of League and RFU Cup fixtures updates will be available on the London RFU website via the links page of the website.



Around the Grounds (11 Feb)
posted: February 11 2012

Another very brief blog, as yet again the weather has decimated this weekend’s fixtures with what looks like pretty much a whitewash right across the board for rugby in the county, if not the South East as a whole, with only five fixtures taking place across the region.  The consequences are that not only has it impacted on the leagues but also the RFU Cup competitions.  All of which means that the RFU Intermediate and Junior Vase fixtures due to take place this weekend will now take place next week (18th) due to the regional semi-finals being scheduled for the 25th.  League matches postponed from the 4th/11th will now take place on the 25th for those sides not involved in the cup competitions.  League matches that have to be moved from next weekend will now take place on the first available date after the 25th Feb.  For some sides this will be the 17th March, but in some cases it could be as late as the 21st Apr.  Clear as mud I know, but from information published on the London RFU website, they will be publishing a revised fixture list to take account of both RFU Cup and league fixtures in the very near future.

http://rfulondon.com/



Piers Francis moves to Super 15’s Waikato Chiefs.
posted: February 10 2012

Whilst former 1st XV player Piers Francis was home from New Zealand for the holiday period he informed the club that he has recently moved to play for Waikato in the upcoming season.  Piers still plays his club rugby with the Marist group of clubs and has been able to move one of the Waikato based teams within the club set up.   As well as being part of the Chiefs ITM Cup squad for later in the season Piers has also been selected as part of the full Waikato Chiefs squad for this season’s Super 15 competition and will find himself lining up alongside team mates Sonny Bill Williams, Liam Messam & Richard Kahui.

For full details on the Chiefs for the upcoming Super 15 season go to: http://www.chiefs.co.nz



Shepherd Neame Kent Cup - Fixtures Update
posted: February 09 2012

Due to the prevailing weather and the knock on effect of postponed league fixtures for most clubs; the deadline for completing the Quarter-Final fixtures in the Shepherd Neame Kent Cup has been extended until Sunday 11th March.  Details on when the club’s outstanding fixture against Old Dunstonians will be played will be announced once a date has been finalised.



Caption Competition
posted: February 07 2012

The photo (left) was due to appear in this last weekend’s match programme for the fixture against Sheppey, it will now be in the coming week’s programme (weather permitting).  Martin Arnold is inviting appropriate captions to accompany the photo; entries will be subject to meeting the stringent entry criteria.  The best responses will be published in the 25th February match programme

 Suggestions please to Martin Arnold at (click here).



Rearranged League Fixtures
posted: February 04 2012

The following instructions have been received from the London & South East Division of the RFU:

"Following the severe disruption to fixtures for 4th February the following instructions are given to clubs whose fixtures were postponed

1. The Cup matches (RFU Knockout Competitions) already scheduled for next Saturday  WILL GO AHEAD as scheduled.

 2. All other fixtures postponed on 4th February will be played on 11th February in accordance with Regulations.

Full details and the revised fixture list for next week can be found on the London & SE RFU website (click here)

 

The impact on the club is that with both ourselves (v Sheppey) and Old Dunstonians (v Deal & Betteshanger) now having league fixtures next weekend, the Shepherd Neame Kent Cup Quarter-Final will be rescheduled.  The new date will be announced through the club's website.



Around the Grounds (04 Feb)
posted: February 04 2012

Well a much shorter blog this week as the freezing weather had an enormous impact on the league fixture programme; although there are probably some clubs out there that will have looked at their pitch conditions during the afternoon and felt them to be eminently playable.  In large part the day’s weather was milder than on Friday, but at this level even with pitch inspections on Saturday mornings, the call has to be made in good time so that teams don’t travel if playing conditions look unsuitable.

National 1 & National 2(S):    No programmed Fixtures

National 3(SE):  The weather saw all of the matches in this division postponed until next weekend, so the big clash of the day between Dorking and Ampthill, as well as the Kent derby between Gravesend and league leaders Canterbury will now take place next Saturday.

London 1(S):  Some of the scheduled fixtures did manage to beat the weather, with all of the top four managing to play.  The key match at the top of the division this week was  leaders Chichester hosting fourth club Basingstoke in a match that could have thrown the title race wide open, Chichester were in no mood to make life difficult for themselves and in what was a closely contested match they just edged the result  15-14 and remain four points clear at the head of the table.  Second placed Guernsey recorded a convincing 15-51 win at Beckenham, with Elthamians still in third place after a 11-27 win at Portsmouth; a result that doesn’t help the Hampshire sides survival hopes at the bottom end of the table.

London 1(N):  All of the fixtures in the division, including Colfes trip to Bury St Edmund were lost to the weather.

London 2(SE):  Only one fixture survived the ‘cold snap’ as Brighton move into third spot above Aylesford following an annihilation of OMW by 121-0.

London 3(SE):  As in the division above, again only one fixture beat the conditions and with a similar outcome, as second placed Medway did their points difference no harm with a 115 point rout of basement side Crawley.

Kent 1 & 2:  All of the Kent division’s fixtures were postponed



"Bobby Dazzler" - Forwards Coaching session by Blackheath Coach Bobby Howe
posted: February 02 2012

Blackheath’s Forwards Coach, Bobby Howe took the time on Tuesday evening to come down to Maidstone and conduct a coaching clinic for the forwards from the club’s senior XVs. This also provided a chance for the club’s coaching staff to tap into Bobby's wealth of knowledge gained through 11 years coaching in National League rugby. The session included techniques for scrum, line out and also loose play including the ruck and maul. With 20 plus players to manage, Bobby concentrated on individual and unit skills and did so with great enthusiasm.  

 Much was learned from the session. The challenge now is to turn Bobby's words into deeds and if the players can apply half of what was demonstrated then it should stand them in good stead for the remainder of the Club’s League and Cup campaigns.



Evergreen XV favoured with home draw in the cup
posted: January 31 2012

The draw for the Quarter-Finals of the Evergreen Cup has been announced and sees Mike Laurenson’s men receiving a home draw against the winners of the outstanding Tunbridge Wells v Dartfordians fixture.  The other match in the eastern half of the draw sees near neighbours pitched against the defending champions Blackheath. 

In the western half of the draw some familiar names remain, with Sutton & Epsom drawn against Haywards Heath and the last of the matches sees Purley John Fisher take on Old Alleynians. 

If the competition runs on the same basis as last season then the winners of the respective Quarter-Finals then go into an open draw involving both eastern and western group clubs for the Semi-Finals. 

Quarter-Final matches have to be completed by the end of February.



Around the Grounds (28 Jan)
posted: January 28 2012

National 1:  Blackheath were solid 30-37 winners on their travels to Manchester to play Sedgley Pk, Jersey remain clear at the top of the division followed by Ealing, with fellow promotion candidates Fylde, Rosslyn Pk & Macclesfield all suffering narrow defeats.

National 2(S):  Three of the bottom five in the division won this weekend which means that Combe’s 5-17 win over fellow strugglers Lydney was not quite as beneficial as it could have been; although Barnes went down heavily (7-45)at O Albanians, but Dings won 26-22 against visiting promotion candidates Worthing and Hertford were narrow 30-28 winners over Taunton.

National 3(SE):  All of the promotion contenders faced lower table opposition this weekend with runaway leaders Canterbury hosting Essex club Westcliff and were comfortable 33-19 winners to maintain their unbeaten grip on the division.  Second placed Ampthill kept themselves at the head of the chasing group as they faced a Gravesend side that has never really got going this season although they were made to work hard for a 35-26 home win.  TJs and Dorking made amends for last week’s slip ups as they both ran out convincing winners against Staines (50-17) and Havant (10-40) respectively.

London 1(S): As expected, Chichester stay clear at the top following a 41-0 win at basement side S&E with second placed Guernsey thumping visitors Cobham 55-7 to stay in touch.  Third placed Elthamians were 48-23 winners over an inconsistent Beckenham side with fourth placed Basingstoke 21-14 winner against Dover.  Sidcup’s challenge for promotion really appears to have dissipated as they went down 24-19 to tenth club Haywards Heath. Hove had too much for Thanet and the 43-15 win sees the East Kent side in real relegation trouble whilst Trojans did their survival chances no harm with a convincing 45-10 win over fellow strugglers Portsmouth.  Whilst S&E now look certain for the drop, Thanet look the next likely candidates but the third relegation spot could go to any of the sidescurrently bewteen seventh and twelft places, with only the points from a bonus point win separating the six sides.

London 1(N):  A solid 35-17 win for Coles over Braintree sees them consolidate their mid-table seventh spot.

London 2(SE):  The last three matches between league leaders G-Force and Sevenoaks have yielded in excess of 50 points, and whilst this encounter didn’t quite live up to that free scoring tally, there were still 47 points scored and with a far more even result than previous scorelines.  However, the league leaders East Grinstead had enough to come out on top by one score 21-26 to stay clear at the top with a losing bonus point probably better than their hosts were expecting.  Charlton Pk are now clear in second spot following a narrow 23-20 win over fourth placed Brighton.  Dunstonians move up to fourth and level on points with Aylesford, their opposition for the day after they registered a good 19-24 win at the Jack Williams Ground.  Lewes remain in sixth spot following a convincing 7-31 win at Heathfield & Waldron with Warlingham in eigth place despite going down to strugglers D&B 33-30.  At the foot of the division as expected OMW lost out to fellow strugglers Tunbridge Wells, although the West kent side are still very much in danger of the drop.

London 3(SE):  Leaders Crowborough ran out winners at Eastbourne, although the 0-29 margin was not quite as convincing as might have been expected.  Second placed Medway hammered tenth placed Park Hse 0-76 with Folkestone also racking up a big score (5-66) against basement side Crawley to stay in third spot, two points adrift of Medway.  Fourth placed Horsham won 3-22 at Sheppey with Maidstone now level on points following a bonus point 27-20 win against Ashford. In mid table Uckfield and Bromley switch places following Bromley’s 7-14 win over the Sussex club.  At the foot of the table Sussex sides Crawley and Eastbourne must now be resigned to drop, although the third relegation spot could still realistically go to any one of four, possibly five sides.

Kent 1:  Anchorians are now nine points clear at the top following their 29-15 win at HSBC and Vigo’s 39-17 defeat away at Hastings.  Dartfordians remain in third place after a resounding 47-7 against Whitstable, and whilst fourth placed Shooters are eight points adrift, they had no fixture today and now have three games in hand.  OGs remain sixth following a 10-27 win at struggling Beccehamians, with Cranbrook also posting a solid 0-17 win at NAG.  Bottom club Guys Hospital went down by the narrowest of margins 20-21 at home to Sittingbourne.

Kent 2:  The key news in Kent 2 is the withdrawal of Erith from the league, a shame that nobody thought to tell the referee who I gather travelled to Footscray for their scheduled fixture against Erith.  Apparently having not been able to get in touch with anyone (and them not confirming with him) he assumed it was better to be there and find no match than the other way round.  In the fixtures that did take place Kings Coll kept their grip on top spot with 6-26 win at O Wills and Southwark Lancers stay hot on their heels after hammering third club Lordswood 42-0.  Brockleians now move above the ‘woodsmen’ following a 31-3 win against the now bottom club, Bexley.  Askeans continue their best season in quite a while and sit in mid-table after a 14-10 win over Orpington.



Shepherd Neame Kent Cup & Plate Competition Update
posted: January 27 2012

 

The first of the 3rd Rd (QF) matches took place last weekend as Aylesford took advantage of the break from league action to travel to Blackheath.  The hosts were probably the favourites for this tie but it was the visitors who dug deep, even when reduced to 13 men to grind out a 15-6 win to progress to the semi-finals.

In the Kent Plate competition, TJs, who must be classed as tournament favorites, received a scare at the weekend as they found themselves 24 points down against London 3 club Ashford in the first round of the competition.  In the end cool heads saw them through, as they pulled back to win the tie by the narrowest of margins 24-25. The next fixture in the competition is Maidstone’s home tie against London 2 club O Dunstonians, with the remaining 3rd round ties scheduled for the 25th Feb,

Elsewhere in the plate competition the bulk of fixtures still have to be played, with the preliminary round fixture between Dover and O Colfeians programmed for Sat 11th Feb.  It is likely that other outstanding fixtures will be scheduled for the weekends of either 11/12 Feb or 25/26 Feb.

Ashford  24 v  25 Tonbridge Juddians
Beckenham  v  Bromley
Medway  v Thanet Wanderers
Dover or O Colfeians v  Charlton Park



David Smiley: Service of Thanksgiving details
posted: January 24 2012

The funeral for David will be a private familly ceremony; however, to celebrate the life of David there will be Service of Thanksgiving at St Mary’s, Faversham at 12.30pm on Friday 3rd February to which everyone who wishes to attend is invited. Flowers are nor expected but if desired, donations should be made to CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) or the Tennis Foundation, via Hogben and Partis, Faversham.



The Mall Chequers - Local Club ‘RewardMe’ promotion - Support your Club
posted: January 23 2012

Did you know we could be nominated as a favourite club here in Maidstone?

Local clubs could become Maidstone’s Mall Chequers Local Champions and benefit from a one-off donation of £5000.

Starting on 20th February every customer that spends £20 or more in The Mall will a receive special  token from the Ask Me point, which can be put towards one of three local sports clubs or associations. The club with the most token by September will receive a cheque for £5000. The runners up will receive £300 each.

RewardMe members will get two tokens instead of one for every £20 spent. 

First, local clubs must be nominated to be included. The nomination process will last three weeks and people will be able to nominate at The Mall or following the link http://www.themall.co.uk/sign-up/mall-champions-nominations.aspx

The final date for submitting a nomination is the 6th February. Three organisations will then be chosen from nominations to benefit from the in Mall token collections from the 20th February (although their website states that tokens can be collected from 13th February)

PLEASE SUPPORT YOUR CLUB BY NOMINATING IT FOR THIS SCHEME



Club’s Evergreen XV progress in Cup competition
posted: January 23 2012

Maidstone’s Evergreen XV continued their bid for silverware in this season's regional Evergreen Cup competition this Sunday against an Old Colfeians side that had already convincingly seen off a Sevenoaks Acorns side that are certainly no slouches.  In what was a hard fought match the side managed to overhaiul an early 12 point deficit to take the tie 33-27 to progress to the last eight in the competition.

The draw has not yet been announced, but with TJ’s yet again withdrawing from the competition there is the possibility of being drawn against near neighbours Aylesford.

For the full match report click here.



Maidstone Rugby in the 'Spotlight'
posted: January 22 2012

Maidstone Rugby is featured in the February edition of Rugby World as part of the ‘Spotlight’ feature for the London & South East section (page120).  After seeing former player Nick East in the last edition as part of the spotlight on Burgess Hill, this month the club is in their in its own right with a small piece and a photo of U18 Dan Eastwood as he is in the process of picking up one of the ‘hat trick’ of tries he scored at Crawley.



Around the Grounds (21 Jan)
posted: January 21 2012

National 1:  The ‘Club’ got back to winning ways with a resounding 41-27 win over Stourbridge at the Rectory Field to stay in sixth spot in the division.  Elsewhere, leaders Jersey beat Cinderford whilst Ealing move up to second with a 43-17 win against Wharfedale and Fylde slip to third following their 10-34 home defeat at the hands of Blaydon.  Rosslyn Pk also tripped up as they went down 23-37 to Tynedale whilst Macclesfield closed the gap in fifth spot with a 43-19 win at home to Cambridge.

National 2(S):  Combe’s woes continue as they entertained fifth placed Henley and went down 24-41, a result that sees Henley move up to fourth spot following Hartpury’s defeat at Clifton..  Elsewhere the other relegation threatened clubs Barnes, Dings & Hertford all fared no better as they all lost heavily in their respective fixtures, 37-12 at Taunton, 34-9 at

National 3(SE):  On paperTJs probably had the stiffest test of the weekend as they took on fifth club Bishop Stortford and so it proved as they went down 31-45 at The Slade, the visitors were 31-17 up at one point in the second half before TJs got back themselves on level terms, however, they could not sustain their comeback and shipped 2 late tries to succumb to their fourth defeat of the season.  Elsewhere their nearest rivals Dorking failed to capitalise as they also lost 23-9 at 10th placed Staines, and with Ampthill convincing 15-39 winners at Westcliff they move into second spot with TJs slipping to third and Dorking fifth with Bishop Stortford moving up to fourth.  At the top of the division Canterbury’s unbeaten run continues as they won 6-36 at London Irish to create an eighteen-point cushion for themselves.  Meanwhile Gravesend went down to a disappointing 8-14 home defeat as bottom club Havant recorded their first away win this season, and whilst the Kent club stays in eighth spot, the result lifts Havant of the bottom of the table, although still in deep relegation trouble.

London 1(S):  The big match here was the clash between leaders Chichester and early season contenders Sidcup in a match where the outcome could either pull Chichester back into the clutches of the chasing pack or potentially end Sidcup’s tilt at promotion for this campaign,  In the end the 5-17 scoreline fell in the league leaders favour leaving the Kent side looking like it is falling off the pace for promotion this season.  Guernsey stay in second spot after a thumping 43-0 away win at Haywards Heath, with Elthamians still in third spot after a high scoring 31-39 win at Cobham.  Fourth placed Basingstoke were too strong for Thanet, running out convincing 17-43 winners at St Peters.

Upper mid-table Beckenham went down to a narrow but surprising 13-15 defeat at Balmoral Ave by visiting Trojans, a result that sees them edging towards safety, but currently still looking very much relegation candidates. As the best of the pack chasing the promotion candidates, Hove were 25-28 winners at Portsmouth, whilst at the foot of the table S&E went down 52-7 to Dover at The Crabble.

London 1(N):  In what was very much a mid-table battle Brentwood and Colfes switch places from seventh and eighth place respectively following Colfes 11-15 win.

Kent 1:  What look likes now being a march to the league title continued for Anchorians as they hammered Guys Hospital 63-6 to stay four points clear of Vigo who beat HSBC 38-15.  There is then a 10-point gap to Dartfordians who got back to winning ways with a narrow 5-7 win at Sittingbourne.  Fourth placed Shooters were convincing 31-17 winners at Beccehamians.  In mid table the battle between OGs and Hastings was a close affair with the Sussex visitors just shading the result 18-21, whilst in the basement battle Whitstable were 27-20 winners over NAG.  Cranbrook had no fixture.

RFU Knockout Competitions:  Entry levels for the London & SE regional element of these competitions meant that they are all at different stages of completion, as a consequence there was no county involvement this week, whilst fixtures were going ahead in the RFU Junior Vase the county’s last representative in this competition, Brockleians, went out in the last round which took place in November.  In the Intermediate Cup there were no fixtures and the 4th round of the competition will take place on the 11th Feb, when amongst the four fixtures to be competed Charlton Pk and Aylesford will take on East Grinstead and Romford & Gidea Park respectively.

Clubs competing in the Senior Vase have even longer to wait as they are at the regional Semi-Final stage to be played on 25th Feb, with Maidstone hosting London 3(SE) league rivals Folkestone and the other match also being an all division affair between London 3 (NE) clubs Norwich and Newmarket.



Around the Grounds (14 Jan)
posted: January 15 2012

National 1:  The long trip north to Yorkshire for Blackheath to take on eleventh placed Wharfedale ended up with a result similar to last September’s encounter, with the advantage going to the home side by a solitary point (31-30), although the bonus points for the ‘Club’ keep them in the upper table mix.  Especially as it was all change at the top with Jersey now heading the table following their 20-18 win over third club Rosslyn Pk, Fylde remain second after a 13-29 away win at Sedgley Pk with early season leaders Ealing now in fourth spot after a 27-24 loss at Cinderford.  Macclesfield beat bottom club Barking 12-48 to stay fifth.

National 2(S): Things are beginning to look bleak for Combe as they went down 32-18 at fekllow strugglers Dings.  Combes problems weren’t helped by a convincing 37-21 win for Barnes over Hertford, a win that didn’t help the visitors cause in staying clear of the relegation zone.  Combe now find themselves ten points adrift at the foot of the table with Dings and Barnes still looking the other favourites for the drop.

National 3(SE):  The city club stay fifteen points clear at the top of the table after another bonus point win, in a match that the 50-35 scoreline demonstrates was an entertaining affair at Merton Lane.  TJs stay in second spot after a stern test at mid-table CS Rugby, just edging the score 19-23.  Dorking closed the gap in third place to just two points as they registered a 59-10 thumping of Gravesend who now sit just in the bottom half of the table.  A 52-12 win for Ampthill over London Irish see them also keeping up the pressure on second spot, now laying just a point behind Dorking and three from TJs.

London 1(S): As expected, leaders Chichester had too much for Dover, running out 37-14 winners to stay at the head of the division.  Guernsey stay six points behind after a convincing 34-7 win over a Sidcup side whose mid-season form has seen them slip off the pace to fifth spot.  Elthaminas remain third following a 36-15 win against visitors Haywards Heath, whilst fourth club Basingstoke thumped fellow Hampshire side Portsmouth 46-6.  In mid-table Hove were convincing 47-12 winners against visitors Beckenham; whilst in what were very much two basement battles the honours went to the two visiting sides as S&E were just shaded 10-11 by Thanet with Cobham 24-25 winners over Trojans.  The results move Cobham into mid table in what is a tight division where several clubs could get dragged into the relegation dogfight, although S&E now look certain for the drop with the other two looking favourites for the other spots.

London 1(N):  A 14-5 home victory over eighth placed Ruislip who were just one place above them at the start of the day, sees Colfes exchange positions with their opposition.

London 2(SE):  With leaders East Grinstead up against strugglers D&B, a return to winning ways after last week’s shock defeat was always on the cards, and the ‘G-Force’ ran riot, running in 70 points for only eight in response.  In what is looking like the battle for the playoff position second placed Charlton Pk were 0-15 winners at a struggling Tunbridge Wells whilst Aylesford were also made to work hard as they were narrow 17-20 winners at sixth placed Warlingham.  Brighton consolidated fourth spot with a 55-17 win over a Sevenoaks side that is struggling this season, whilst Lewes’s 25-0 win over bottom club OMW was probably not as convincing as they would have liked.  Dunstonians remain in fifth spot after a 25-3 win against a visiting Heathfield & Waldron

London 3(SE):  Leaders Crowborough had a week off and are now seven points clear, having been awarded a HWO by bottom club Crawley.  Medway now look like the favourites in the battle for the other promotion place with a 34-0 win over a Maidstone side with a growing injury list.  Folkestone were convincing 47-0 winner against Park Hse.  Horsham swap places with Maidstone after they ran out 38-12 winners against sixth placed Uckfield whilst Sheppey lost 20-11 on the road at Ashford. Bromley were 34-7 winners against Eastbourne who are now 21 points adrift of the 10th placed club and look certain for relegation alongside Crawley, although the third relegation spot is still very much wide open.

Kent 1:  Leaders Anchorians did themselves and Vigo no harm as they were convincing 5-36 winners at third placed Dartfordians.  Vigo capitalised on that result to move nine points clear in second spot with a 12-28 win at Guys Hospital.  Shooters Hill remain in fourth spot after a 15-20 win against Hastings and Bexhill; and with two games in hand could still have a big say in the promotion race.  OGs just lost out 21-17 on their travels to HSBC, whilst with Cranbrook and Sittingbourne convincing winners over Whitstable (37-0) and NAG 13-30) respectively.  Basement club, Beccehamians had no fixture this week.

Kent 2:  Kings Coll stay at the top of the division after a 36-0 win over an Askeans side whose form had been much improved in recent weeks,Southwark also ran out easy winners as they ran in 29 points at Bexley (5-29).  In third and fourth spot Lordswood move up a place after a 36-12 win at Footscray, whilst Brockleians drop to fourth despite a 17-24 win at Orpington.  Fifth club O Wills had no match as home side Erith conceded the fixture.



Kent RFU Youth Forum
posted: January 14 2012

The Annual Kent RFU Youth Forum will take place at Gravesend RFC, The Rectory Field, Milton Road, Gravesend, DA12 2PP on Wednesday 25th January, 7.00 pm for a 7.30 pm start. Light refreshments will be available and the main topic of the evening will be to discuss the changes to the Youth game.

The Kent Mini Forum will be part of the Kent Club Development Support Evening on Monday 30th January (see Notices for details), at the Village Hotel, Maidstone.



Tom Hughes - Update & Thank You
posted: January 14 2012

The following message from David & Diane Hughes was received by club President, Bob Beney just prior to Christmas and he has asked that it be passed to the club via the medium of the website (Web HQ apologises for the delay in publishing which was due to other conflicting events):

“I wanted to say thank you so much to you and everybody at the club for your support and best wishes.  Tom was really grateful for the prompt action of Anna and Sean Charlton’s support for Diane and his girlfriend Hannah, and also says thanks.  He continues to be in great spirits and is determined to get over his accident”.

Several members of the club have visited Tom at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and can confirm that he is indeed in good heart with an extremely positive attitude to overcoming this injury.  He is also visited regularly by Dave Phillips from the RFU’s Injured Player Foundation as well as representatives from the Army Rugby Union.

The following update on Tom’s progress was received on Wednesday (11 Jan) from Dave & Diane:

“As you know, but the Kent RFU guys may not, Thomas accidentally suffered 2 prolapsed discs in the neck while playing for Maidstone 2s against Dunstonians on 30 October, resulting in paralysis from the lower chest down. Following a successful operation to remove the discs at King's College Hospital, Thomas was sent to the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville at the beginning of November, and he is likely to remain there at least until March this year. Since November he has been undergoing some pretty intensive physiotherapy at the NSIC as part of his rehabilitation, and has been making very good progress with some sensation returning to his lower body and legs, although he remains paralysed. 

As you would expect of somebody who is a serving soldier, Thomas remains very positive about his situation and is determined to make a recovery although it is far too soon to say when that might be and whether he will make a full recovery. What is certain is that this is likely to be a long haul and a lot of hard work by him. He is getting a lot of support from the Army and in particular from Dave Philips of the RFU's Injured Players Foundation, who and which I cannot speak too highly of. Finally, I wanted to sing the praises of our very own Anna Rook, the club's physio whose actions on the day probably prevented Thomas's injury becoming much more serious - I know the Army and RFU are already aware of her very professional actions and I believe may already have thanked her themselves”. 



Club Sponsors support Senior Squad Training
posted: January 11 2012

For some reason January always finds people in the gym, apparently something to do with New Year’s Resolutions and burning off the excesses of the festive season.  For the senior squad it appears the same rule applies thanks to Club Captain Matt Plowman, who has arranged a series of grueling Tuesday night ‘spin sessions throughout the month with club sponsor David Lloyd Fitness.

Around 30 of the senior squad were in attendance for the first of those sessions, as fitness instructor Nikki put the lads (including Head Coach Andy Foley) through their paces in a demanding cycling routine lasting just over an hour.



Shepherd Neame Kent Cup - Round 3 Fixtures Update
posted: January 10 2012

Members will know from the previous update that Round 3 fixtures in the Kent Cup are to be played by Sun 26th Feb.  Now that our Senior Vase Semi Final against Folkestone has been confirmed for Sat 25th Feb the club has arranged with Old Dunstonians that our Kent Cup Round 3 (Q-Final) fixture will be played on Sat 11th Feb, KO 2:00pm.

Dates for the remaining Kent Cup Round 3 matches are as follows:

Blackheath v Aylesford – Sun 22nd Feb

Canterbury v Sheppey – Sat 25th Feb

Sidcup v Westcombe Pk – Sat 25th Feb



Maidstone’s Jamie Owen selected for Kent U20 squad.
posted: January 08 2012

Maidstone 1st XV player Jamie Owen has been selected for the Kent U20 squad.  He made his county level debut on the wing against a Kent President's Invitation XV on 27th December last year, and scored one of Kent's two tries despite a 34-12 defeat.  Jamie is part of the squad who will represent the county in a series of matches in the National U20 Championship, including fixtures against Essex, Middlesex and Eastern Counties.

Jamie is  just one of a number of talented young players in the club currently playing at 1st XV and senior squad level.



Maidstone Rugby awarded RFU’s prestigious Seal of Approval
posted: January 07 2012

The club is pleased to announce that it has been awarded the RFU’s prestigious Whole Club Seal of Approval; Maidstone is only the fifth club in the county to achieve this and among approximately 60 across the country.  The project was spearheaded by Chairman, Andy Golding and Wendy Pound who in conjunction with a number of other club members, most notably Des Diamond and Charlotte Walker on the coaching coordination and safeguarding aspects, have worked hard to achieve all the organisational standards and criteria to meet the rigorous RFU award.

The RFU Seal of Approval accreditation recognises the effort and achievement of the club and its volunteers in reaching the standard required in the development of rugby across the whole club, and to plan for the long term sustainability of both the club and the sport. Kent RDO Andy Pratt commented that “After a difficult few months this accreditation should highlight the excellent work that volunteers at Maidstone Rugby do every week.”

The Seal of Approval scheme was originally introduced by the RFU several years ago and originally focused on Mini & Youth sections, and was a response to the development, by Sport England, of the Clubmark award (designed to recognise safe and quality provision for young people), the Seal of Approval is recognised by Sport England as qualifying clubs for that award.  The Whole Club Seal of Approval process was subsequently introduced to extend the process, and the accreditation, beyond the Mini & Youth section and into the Whole Club.



Around the Grounds (07 Jan)
posted: January 07 2012

National 1:  Despite the difference in their league standings, the ‘Club’ surprisingly went down 18-20 to lower mid table visitors Cinderford, although Blackheath remain in sixth spot despite the defeat.

National 2(S): For their first fixture in 2012 Combe hosted a Cornish All Blacks side that had comfortably defeated them (48-7) in the September fixture.  That result was Launceston’s first win of the season and since then they have steadily climbed to a respectable upper mid table position.  However, there was no New Year’s cheer for Combe as they were reduced to 14 men after 10 minutes and went down 12-18 to the visitors, the loss means they stay anchored to the foot of the table. Things weren’t helped by a good 30-35 win for fellow struggles Barnes and also a bonus point loss for Dings at the hands of Redruth (24-23); and as we move into the second half of the season Combe, Dings and Barnes are looking favourites for the drop.

National 3(SE):  League leaders Canterbury resumed their campaign with a trip to Herfordshire club Tring, a side whose challenge at the top end of the table had faded in the run up the mid-season break, although a narrow loss to Dorking had been their only home defeat this season prior to the city club’s visit.  In the end Canterbury ran out 22-33 winners and remain 14 points clear at the top.   TJs had what on paper was a much more comfortable return to league rugby as they hosted a struggling Luton side currently second from bottom of the table and a 50-3 hammering sees TJs remain in second spot.  Elsewhere third placed Dorking travelled to Essex side Westcliff to record a 23-30 win to keep up the pressure on the promotion places.  Gravesend travelled to tenth placed Staines looking maintain their pre Xmas form for a third consecutive win but came unstuck as they went down 21-17 but remain in eighth place.

London 1(S): The big fixture here was between two sides in good form before the mid-season break as third placed Guernsey hosted second side Elthamians; the September fixture was a close affair with the SE London side taking the honours 28-24 and this encounter was no different with home advantage telling as the Channel Island side ran out 32-22 winners to move above their visitors into second spot. Leaders Chichester had too much for a struggling Thanet as they ran out convincing 8-32 winners, whilst Sidcup beat Dover (17-6) to maintain their challenge after a mid season dip in form.  There is a 13-point gulf between fifth and sixth in the table and Beckenham needed a good start to the new year to try and reduce the gap as they took on fourth club Basingstoke, in the end the Hampshire side had too much firepower and ran out 18-36 winners to maintain their promotion challenge. 

The remaining fixtures involved mid-table or relegation zone battles; with Cobham looking to create some breathing space in their battle with Sussex side Hove but falling short as they went down 15-20 to the visitors.  Haywards Heath hosted strugglers Trojans who did themselves no harm as they ran out 0-7 winners in a tight encounter and swap places with Thanet, whilst Portsmouth did their survival chances a power of good with a solid 35-20 win over basement club S&E.

At the mid-season point the fight for promotion is really a five way battle, with current leaders Chichester probably still favourites for the title although the chasing pack consisting of Guernsey, Elthamians, Basingstoke & Sidcup are hot on their heels and any one of them could take the playoff spot.  At the foot of the table S&E are looking certain to do down with Thanet or Trojans looking like the other candidate as both begin to fall adrift of the eleventh placed side.

London 1(N):  Colfes travelled to Eton Manor to take on the seventh placed side but went down 27-18 to  drop to ninth in the division with the hosts moving up to sixth.  At the top of the table Thurrock still look favourites to win the division with the playoff place being a competition between Colchester, Bury Sty Edmunds and last season’s strugglers Letchworth.

London 2(SE):  There are no easy fixtures in this division but the match that catches the eye is the visit of the unbeaten ‘G-Force’ to third placed Aylesford, the visitors have enough of a buffer at the top of the table to afford dropping the odd points, but the hosts really needed a win to maintain their push for a play-off position; in what was a hard fought encounter Aylesford came out on top 21-14 but remain in third spot with second side Charlton Pk beating Lewes 23-18. Tunbridge Wells proved no match for a combative Brighton side that was looking to maintain its top four position as they went down heavily (42-5) to the hosts.   Dunstonians started the day in fifth spot and the visit to basement side OMW was a formality as they ran out 5-52 winners, Warlingham were looking to arrest their slide down the table as they travelled to H&W and took the honours 6-22 to move up to sixth place. Sevenoaks were looking for a bright start to the New Year as hosted struggling D&B and ran out narrow 32-26 winners. 

So as we enter the second half of the season the ‘G-Force still look the promotion favourites with any of four sides in contention for the playoff spot; favourites for the drop look to be OMW, D&B and Tunbridge Wells unless there is a real change in form.

London 3(SE):  With Crowborough as expected taking the bonus point win in their match at Park Hse(7-50), second side Folkestone were looking to keep up the pressure as they travelled to The Mote to take on Maidstone and apart from the opening quarter there was really only one side in it as the hosts ran out convincing 26-3 winners.  Medway travelled to mid Kent side Ashford, and the 10-17 win means that they leapfrog Folkestone into second spot.  Horsham drop below Maidstone to fifth despite a routine 0-19 win against Eastbourne, whilst the tussle between Sheppey and Uckfield at Stupple Field went the way of the visitors 15-19.  Bromley travelled to bottom club Crawley looking for a positive result in their efforts to move away from the drop zone and ran out 8-30 winners. 

In summary, at the halfway point Crowborough look odds on favourites for the title with Medway and Folkestone the only realistic contenders for the other promotion place, although the four clubs immediately behind them could still have a significant say in the promotion battle despite looking out of contention themselves.

Kent 1:  Anchorians couldn’t have wished for a better start to 2012 than the 49-10 result against NAG to stay at the head of the table.  The big battle however, was between Vigo and Dartfordians, which was a combative affair with Vigo narrow 11-7 victors to give them some breathing space in second spot, especially with a game in hand over third placed Darts.   Both Shooters Hill and Hastings keep up the pressure on the top three with wins against HSBC (32-27) and Beccehamians (17-23) respectively.  In mid table Sittingbourne were too strong for Cranbrook as thay ran out convincing 45-5 winners, whilst OGs continue their good form as they had too much firepower for Guys Hosp, running out 28-10 winners. 

Still a long way to go but Anchorians are certainly in the ‘box seat’ for the title with Vigo probably favourites for the playoff spot over Dartfordians.  The relegation battle is between four club although both Guys and Whitstable will feel more comfortable in having games in hand over the bottom two of Beccehamians and New Ash Green

Although still a long way off; in respect of the playoff situation, that match will be against the runner up in Sussex 1, which looks like being East Grinstead 2s, although they may not be allowed to compete above county level, in which case Burgess Hill look the most likely candidates.



Club moves to Direct Debit system with First Capital Cashflow
posted: January 07 2012

In an exciting and very important development for our club, we are at last bringing our subscription system into the 21st century by switching to collection by Direct-Debit.

The importance of this move cannot be over emphasized. 

For players, our Membership Fees provide exceptional value, bearing in mind that we do not collect a Weekly Match-Fee.  However, it is extremely important that all of our players actually pay their subscription and thereby their fair-share towards the club's running costs.  Our experience shows that where players are asked, they are usually happy to pay but there are far too many who prefer to operate "under the radar" and hope to get away with paying nothing. 

Our collection system in the past has been far too "hit and miss" and has has been hopelessly labour intensive when it comes to reconciling bank-statements with the membership lists. As a result, the time and effort involved in signing up new players and tracking their payments through the system has been prohibitive and has cost our club a great deal of annual revenue.

With the new system, it takes a couple of minutes for a member to sign up for payment via the membership page on the website and both the player and the club receive instant confirmation. 

The Treasurer and Membership Sec will have access in real-time to a completely authoritative list of paid up members. Moreover, they will be notified instantly, if a mandate is cancelled (or bounces).

The aim is to get all members converted to the new system by 5th Feb, ready for the 1st Collection on 15th feb.  (As soon as you have joined the system, you should cancel your Feb standing order - but please not before as we cannot afford to have a cash-flow crisis in February).

Clearly, one of our aims is to round-up habitual non-payers but in order to identify them, it is vital that all good loyal regular payers convert as soon as possible please. 

Where this system has been piloted at other clubs, they have seen massive increases in Revenue, which of course benefits all players and members by enabling improved facilities etc. It should also enable us to improve internal communications and reduce our costs, whilst relieving club officers of vast amounts of tedious administration.

Please support us in this vital new venture and reap the benefits for yourselves.  It can't get much better than that.  Please go straight to the membership page  where it will take you less time to change than it did to read this item.



*Sad News* David Smiley
posted: January 03 2012

It is with great sadness that the club has been informed of the sudden and unexpected passing of David Smiley, son of former player and club Vice President Steve Smiley.

David played junior and youth rugby with Maidstone as a centre, full back and fly half, he was was an elegant runner with ball in hand with an ability to beat players in confined spaces with his stepping ability..  Unfortunately a serious shoulder injury curtailed David's rugby playing career and he went on to play tennis, subsequently developing a career as a successful tennis coach.

On behalf of its members the club extends it's condolences to David's family and friends; in particular our thoughts and prayers are with Steve and other members of the immediate family.



RFU Senior Vase, Regional Semi-Final draw confirmed
posted: January 03 2012

Since the beginning of December when the draw was made there has been an air of uncertainty about the club’s opposition in the regional Semi-Final due to match card issues from Folkestone’s tie against East London. These issues would appear to have now been resolved following the announcement (see below) on Folkestone’s website:

Were still IN

Most of our supporters didn't realise that the club were about to be chucked out of the RFU Senior Vase. This was because the RFU had not received our match card. But it's all sorted now thanks to Mike Ward's help at HQ. He has accepted a letter from chairman, Andy Dagger, listing the team for the match against East London.
So in the London South East Regional Semi Final we are set to play Maidstone away in February

The fixture will take place at The Mote on Saturday 25th February.



The Season so Far: A View from the Touchline
posted: January 02 2012

With the festive season in full swing and a two week break in matches, it gives us all an opportunity to review where we stand before embarking on the second half of the season. And to consider, not just where we are in the league, but where we stand as a team, including our plans for the future.

Let me stress, this is a spectator’s analysis, so consideration of the style of rugby being played, as well as the outcome, is an important part of this review. While winning brings its own enjoyment, there are other factors that go into this mix, and playing to a style that looks good is important.

So where are we? After the last two season’s traumas and the subsequent relegation we were forced to accept, getting back to focusing on rugby alone brought its own pleasures. After a good pre-season, including a number of new faces in the mix, the season’s start was much anticipated.

But what a disappointing opening month ensued! Losses to Bromley, Crowborough and Folkestone started to raise early doubts and the style was distinctly ‘stock car’ rather than ‘Formula 1’. Lots of crash ball up the centre, playing into the hands of the opposition, rather than finding weaknesses and probing them, seemed to be the norm.

But as is often the case, serendipity, mainly in the form of injuries, played its part and with some tyros in the Mustangs strutting their stuff, a handful of new players moved into the team. Now, with speed in the back three, and the realisation that open space on the wings gave everyone the ability to get behind the opposition’s defence more easily than through the heavily populated regions near the pack, a new strategy has emerged. Was this deliberate? Who cares! Once the penny had dropped, the team adopted the approach wholeheartedly and success emerged.

The high point of the season, so far, was the drubbing of Harlow in the RFU Vase competition; a side in the equivalent league in London NE and, at the time, riding high in second place, with only one league defeat. This was a team that came to The Mote expecting a tough encounter and perhaps a victory but who were sent packing, in style, as eight tries were scored by Maidstone. The combination of forward and back play was, at times, breathtaking. To this I would add the ‘backs-to-the-wall’ defensive display at Crowborough, just before the break. While the losing margin was finally comprehensive, the spirit displayed throughout to repulse a well organised attacking unit for three quarters of the match, spoke to the growing team spirit.

It is worth mentioning a few individuals, as, by their efforts, the team has prospered. Starting in the front row, Steve Stoppani, an import from Lordswood, has begun to impact the side after spending the early weeks out with injury. Until a rib injury sidelined Luke Debnam, a solid front three combination was emerging, with Sam Bailey at hooker. Injuries have already reduced options, with skipper Jimmy Walker and veteran, Matt Plowman, long-term casualties and the second half will depend on continuing service from this small band of stalwarts.

In the second row, Kiwi, Hayden Mitchell has consistently shown his value, both in his partnership with Andy Bacon, also back to his best, and as a free ranging runner in the loose, only too pleased to get on to try scoring passes.

The star of the piece, so far, though, has been No 8, Lee Thomson. As part of a light but mobile back row combination, that seems to be able to perm any three from five, with Jack Lamb, Luke Day, Dan Cummins and new recruit, Ben Wilson, sharing the workload, Lee has shone, with innumerable breaks from the tight and loose. What is most heartening is his increasing ability to link with supporting players to keep moves alive and stretch defences.

The revelation in the three quarter line has been the introduction of a number of under -18 players who have stepped up to accept the challenge of first team rugby. Joining Olly Newton, who had already demonstrated his innate abilities last season, has been Sam Ellis, at stand-off and Ally Moss and Dan Eastwood on the wings. Recruits Gareth Bramwell and Jamie Owen have complemented these home grown players, with speed out wide.

The wise heads of Neil Graves, Olly Rogers and Nick Cullen, until his ham string injury, have cemented these talents into a potent attacking force. Also in this mix have been a few veterans who have stepped up, when called upon, to remind us of bygone days. While the odd yard of pace may have disappeared, their determination was undiminished.

So, there are many positives that have emerged from the season, so far. With promotion even an unlikely possibility, the question is, what should we be looking to do to build on the base that has been formed, to make us a better side for this league next season? We are still in the Kent Cup and RFU vase, so there is still plenty to play for to show others our strength by upsetting teams from higher leagues.

Looking to next year, we will need a new captain and the concept of building around a potent leader is the ideal. Coach Andy Foley is already turning his thoughts to this and a number of names have been suggested. Andy has recruited strongly since his arrival and, while not all have integrated as we would have hoped, others have and are making the side stronger.

Regaining a goodly proportion of those players that have left us at eighteen or have gone on to play rugby at a higher level, has not been a strong point: reversing this trend could give us the base line of experience we need to progress back up the leagues.  We certainly have a pool of players that can play fast, open rugby, which is effective and good ‘on the eye’. Adding an inner core of experience to this vitality is the aim: simple to state but difficult to pull off.

2012 holds many unknowns but, with a fair wind, our club can look forward with optimism. A number of building blocks are in place and, with that odd bit of luck to complement the hard work, we can contemplate improving fortunes on the field.

Let me stress, this is a spectator’s analysis, so consideration of the style of rugby being played, as well as the outcome, is an important part of this review. While winning brings its own enjoyment, there are other factors that go into this mix, and playing to a style that looks good is important.Your Touchline Correspondent

Trevor Langley



Brian Moore comments on the Grassroots Game
posted: January 02 2012

Interesting article in the Daily Telegraph about grassroots clubs and the threat of paying players.

click here

Not a million miles away from the article by Steve Tervet in the Kent on Sunday in Nov 2010 (see below).

 

 

Rugby clubs mull over future idea of going semi-professional (KoS 20 Nov 2010)

Money has never talked more loudly in regional rugby but while the majority of Kent clubs still operate strictly as amateurs, the sport is stepping ever closer to a new era of semi-professionalism.  While several sides have made no secret of their desire to move quickly up through the divisions, others are placing a greater focus on maintaining their management model above any promotion wishes.

Cranbrook, having made the step up to London 3 South East this season, are holding to the same principles which served them so well in the county league.  President Mike McMinnies welcomed their recent success but insisted nothing would persuade the club to change its ethos in a quest for further silverware.  "We want to play at a level where we’re capable of competing," he said. "If other clubs have got sugar-daddies prepared to pay huge sums of money, what’s going to happen when the bloke gets fed-up?  That’s been the case at one or two clubs.

"Once you start paying players, it doesn’t encourage people coming up through the minis and juniors. You can only do it if you’ve got a sugar-daddy or a fantastic number of companies prepared to pay for having hoardings around your pitch."

Five Kent clubs ply their trade in London 1 South, a division which has been considerably strengthened this season by the introduction of powerful sides from the leagues immediately above and beneath it. Tonbridge Juddians, setting the early pace, are hunting a third consecutive promotion as they bid to bring National League rugby to the market town. Jon Maidman, TJs chairman, said: "Some clubs are acutely aware they’ve got to have a fantastic infrastructure in place whereas others are content to stay in the league they’re in. My personal view is that a lack of ambition is a dangerous thing and we’re constantly striving to do the best we can with the resources which are available”.

"To say our league is becoming more semi-professional would probably not be unfair. While we’re aware we need to up our game, we’re still tied to the amateur ethos and everyone at the club has jobs."

Last season’s London 1 South runners-up, Dover, are in danger of being left behind this term as they battle to keep pace with the sides who have invested to bolster their chances of promotion.  The Sharks’ meteoric rise through the divisions was achieved with a team full of local players but Chairman Richard Catt admits something may need to change if they are to progress any further. "At the end of the season we’ll have spent three seasons in London 1 and it would be remiss not to discuss all the possibilities," he said. "At the moment, though, we have neither the plans nor the finance to change the way we do things. We understand several clubs are paying players but ask them directly and they’ll say no."



New Years Eve: Over 30s v Under 30s
posted: January 01 2012

After a couple of weeks of no competitive rugby, there was no shortage of players stepping forward for a New Year’s Eve Over 30s v Under 30s fixture, plus the added bonus of some game time for several senior squad players returning from injury.  With the over 30s bearing a remarkable similarity to the Evergreen XV the match was rather one sided with the Overs looking to put width on the ball at every opportunity and were 12-0 up with barely 5 minutes on the clock and it wasn’t until the second quarter of the match and with a 26-point deficit that the Unders finally got on the scoreboard.  With a 38-10 scoreline at the interval, the Overs started the second half in much the same vein and despite some determined defending the Unders never quite had enough of a grip on the game to make their younger legs count; with the Over 30s running out convincing 66-15 winners.

Despite the one sided scoreline the fixture was a great success and provided an excellent and enjoyable opportunity to blow away some of the Xmas cobwebs that had developed from no competitive rugby since 17th  Dec.

Photos now available to view on the Gallery.



500 Club Winners
posted: December 22 2011

The draw for the clubs internally lottery the 500 Club has been completed for December and the lucky winners are:

£25 - Debbie Bailey
£50 - Martin Arnold
£250 - Richard Ewence
 
Debbie Bailey is the newest 500 Club member, proving that it is never to late to get involved and that other great line 'you have to be in it to win it'.
 
Martin could very well be the clubs newest father with the stork due to arrive on Jan 2nd so I am sure the £50 will be invested wisely for the future or maybe go on 'wetting the babies head' - I am sure you all wish them well over the next few weeks.
 
Player, musician, all round organiser and 'good egg' Rich Ewence picks up Santa's big prize - he is a long time member of the 500 club and congratulations to him.
 
Treasurer Ben Court promises me he will be writing the cheques (which may look like a scene from a Christmas Carol) and sending them out in due course.
 
Well done to all the winners. There will be another draw at the end of the season, remember it is just £5 per number per season which is entered into both draws.
 
Application forms and details are at the club or please ask - it would be great to see some new members be that at £5 or multiples there of!


President's Xmas Message
posted: December 21 2011

‘I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

In particular I want to remember those of you who will be having difficult times this year'.

Bob Beney



Veterans XV retain Memorial Trophy
posted: December 21 2011

Winning the trophy was not really the priority of the day as the Veterans and 5th XVs took to the pitch for their annual clash in the traditional Memorial Match.  The match is traditionally scheduled for the festive season and is held to remember those friends and team mates that are no longer with us.  This year’s fixture held particular poignancy with news of the recent and sudden loss of veteran and friend Dave Hughes; and as a mark of respect all four of Maidstone’s home XVs for the day gathered for a minutes silence followed by a round of applause prior to all the fixtures taking place.  This act of respect was also conducted by the 1st XV and their opposition at their away league fixture and the club extends its thanks to Crowborough RFC for their courtesy in doing so.

As ever the clash between the Veterans and 5ths was as full blooded as ever, with the traditional toast to ‘absent friends’ during the half time half time interval.  Whilst both the day and the fixture are conducted on a traditional basis, this year’s match saw what must be a first for both the Veterans and 5th XVs with a very competitive and tense match decided by a Mick Walker drop goal to provide the Veterans with a 13-10 victory. Something that we will probably never hear the last of!!



Around the Grounds (17 Dec)
posted: December 18 2011

National 1:  Along with Rosslyn Pk who beat leaders Ealing 22-23, Jersey keep up the pressure for the top spot with a convincing 32-5 win over Blackheath who remain in sixth place with Cambridge and Coventry close behind.

National 2(S): Worthing’s 39-20 win over Combe moves them into second spot, whilst Combe’s fellow strugglers Barnes and Shelford both lost, although Dings recorded a 20-15 win over Clifton and Hertford pulled off a good 22-24 win at Hartpury, which with Worthing’s result sees the college side drop to third place.

National 3(SE):  The big clash of the day saw the top two in action at Merton Lane with the Canterbury looking to make it three from three over their closest challengers TJs, and with a similar scoreline (34-15) to the earlier league clash, the city club are now 14 points clear at the head of the table.   Gravesend, the county’s other side in action were looking to build on last week’s win as they hosted eleventh club Westcliff and took the points 37-30 to sit comfortably in mid table at the halfway stage in the season. Elsewhere Ampthill faced Tring, with both sides needing a positive result to stay in touch with the top of the table, with Ampthill running out comfortable winners 33-6 to stay fourth.  Dorking were also looking to stay in third spot with a win over visiting L Irish and a 36-7 win coupled with TJs result sees them close the gap on second place to three points,  whilst CS Rugby who have fallen off the pace recently faced Staines and ran out winners by 41-26

London 1(S):  The key battle here was between Elthamians and Sidcup, with both sides needing a positive result to stay on the heels of a Chichester side that thrashed visiting Portsmouth 55-0; the 20-3 scoreline keeps Elthamians a point off the leaders, whilst the defeat sees Sidcup drop to fifth. Guernsey travelled to take on a Trojans side that had upset Sidcup the week before and took no chances as they ran out 19-0 over the Eastleigh based side and move to third in the standings.  Basement club S&E went down 17-34 to a mid-table Beckenham that have had an inconsistent first half of the season.  Also at the wrong end of the table Dover hosted Thanet in the east Kent derby with the home club taking the honours 22-12  In mid table Basingstoke took on a resurgent Cobham, whilst Hove hosted Haywards Heath with the host winning both encounters 13-10 and 30-5 respectively.

London 1(N):  Having dropped to tenth after last week’s defeat, Colfes were looking for a good result as they hosted Hammersmith & Fulham who are just one place below them, and the 45-10 win will have eased some worries as they move up to eighth.

London 2(SE):

With leaders East Grinstead and third placed Aylesford recording expected wins at Heathfield (33-13) and D&B (8-17) respectively, the key game was between fourth placed Dunstonians and Charlton Pk, with Park taking the spoils 32-39 in a high scoring contest to stay second. Another top half battle was between Sussex rivals Lewes and Brighton, as both look to stay in touch with the battle for the play off position, with the coastal side taking the spoils 22-29 to move up to fourth place.  At the bottom end of the table the local derby between Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks was important for both clubs as they struggle to stay clear of the danger zone, Oaks took the match 22-27, a result that will have eased some fears as we move into the second half of the season.  Elsewhere, Warlingham arrested their recent slide as the overwhelmed basement club OMW by 37-10.

London 3(SE):  Whilst there is a clear gap between the top three and the rest, one of the key battles going into the second half of the season was between leaders Crowborough and a Maidstone side that has won its last six outings, in the end a well organised home side had too much up front for the visitors and ran out 35-0 winners.  Medway looked to capitalise on last week’s win over the leaders as they hosted fifth placed Sheppey and ran out 17-0 winners whilst Folkestone hosted an Ashford side against whom they weren’t exactly convincing last time around and were again held to a similar score as they won 23-15 after trailing at half time.  Uckfield were looking to get back to winning ways after recent losses as they hosted Eastbourne and were fortunate to squeak a narrow 13-11 win, whilst Horsham expectedly won against bottom club Crawley (58-7).  In what is very much a local derby Park House made the 100yd trip across Barnet Wood Rd to face neighbours Bromley, last time out they won 30-10, but this week’s 13-13 draw was a much tighter encounter.

Kent 1:  The shock of the day was the 38-0 home loss to OGs by Dartfordians, a result that sees them surrender second spot to a Vigo side that beat struggling neighbours NAG12-27.  Leaders Anchorians won 9-17 at the Tomlin Ground against Cranbrook and are now three points clear at the top.  The encounter between Whitstable and visitors Sittingbourne was a close contest with the away side taking the spoils by the odd point (13-14).  HSBC were convincing 33-19 winners over Beccs whilst the match between Shooters and Guys Hosp was postponed; Hastings had no scheduled fixture this week.

Kent 2:  Kings Coll move six points clear at the head of the table as they recorded a solid 12-23 win against a Southwark Lancers side whose form has taken a dip in recent outings.  Askeans demonstrated that their recent win over the Lancers was no accident as they beat third placed Brockleians 3-9 in a hard fought contest.  Mid table Orpington lost 13-10 at local rival Footscray, whilst Lordswood and O Wills switch places in fourth and fifth after the Medway side took the spoils in what was another narrow scoreline in the division.  At the time of publication there was no record of the score in the fixture between Erith & Bexley (or indeed info on whether the fixture actually took place)

P.S: With there being no scheduled competitive fixtures over the festive period the author of this weekly blog would like to extend the season’s greetings to you all, and enjoy your break.



*Sad News* Dave Hughes - Veterans XV
posted: December 12 2011

It is with great sadness that the club has been informed of the sudden loss of Dave Hughes of the Veterans XV and a club Vice President.

On behalf of its members the club extends it's condolences to Dave's family and friends; in particular our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Ann and children Sarah & James.

Dave has been a long standing member and supporter of the club and coached one of the club's most successful youth age groups in recent years, latterly he had become a stalwart of the club's Veterans XV.

Details of the service to remember Dave will be published in due course and as they become available.



Club thanks its Digital Partners – Vivid Associates
posted: December 12 2011

Gary Clement, owner and director of Vivid Associates the club’s digital partner and host to the website, on behalf of the club today presented Senior Web Developer, Alistair Steger-Lewis, with a Maidstone ball and 2011/12 1stXV shirt in recognition of the time and effort spent improving the Maidstone Rugby website via a dedicated content management system (CMS) which has dramatically improved the speed and delivery of weekly news and content.

Websites are now a key tool in both promoting the club and also keeping members up to date with current events.  Al’s efforts in developing the CMS have been a major factor in enhancing both the content and the currency of the club’s site; and have been a key factor in allowing Maidstone Rugby to maintain a high quality bespoke website and buck the trend of ‘en masse’ migration to a generic templated website.

Photo: Gary Clement (L) presents Al Steger-Lewis with a Maidstone Rugby match ball.



Club says farewell to Andrei
posted: December 10 2011

Saturday’s league fixture saw the club say farewell to Romanians 1st XV squad player Andrei Toma; Andrei joined the club in the summer of this year and has featured in a number of matches at both Mustangs XV and 1st XV level where his strong running and solid defensive play have been a key feature of his game.  Perhaps his most notable performance was in the RFU Senior Vase fixture against Harlow, where he scored an excellent try under the posts as the team recorded an excellent 50-0 win.

 Skipper and Player/Coach Hayden Mitchell presented Andrei with a couple of items of club memorabilia, most notable of which was a 1st XV shirt signed by a number of members of the squad and wider club.

Andrei leaves the club with our best wishes as he returns to Romania to be reunited with his wife and baby daughter.



Club hosts St Simon Stock Pupils
posted: December 10 2011

As a follow on to the successful coaching conducted by Dave Tugwell and colleagues in conjunction with the school’s Head of PE, Luke Anderson at St Simon Stock in the last few months, the club’s U12s played host to a number of pupils from the school at this Saturday’s league fixture against Horsham.

The opportunity allowed the lads to see some high level senior rugby and get a real taste for the atmosphere and ethos of club rugby.  We hope to see a few of them running out in club colours for the youth section in the coming weeks.



Around the Grounds (10 Dec)
posted: December 10 2011

National 1:  Blackheath(5) v Ealing (1)27-27 despite holding the league leaders to a 27-27 draw at the Rectory Field, this wasn’t enough to stop the ‘club’ dropping to sixth in the table and  starting to fall off the promotion pace as Rosslyn Pk, Fylde, Jersey and Macclesfield all won to keep up the pressure on the leaders.

National 2(S): A 21-16 win over mid table Shelford was a welcome result, but not enough to move the Orpington club off the bottom of the table; although they are now just one point behind Barnes who lost heavily to Hartpury (26-46), and fellow strugglers Dings Crusaders who were hammered 62-3 at O Albainians, whilst Hertford were 46-23 winners at home to Lydney.

National 3(SE):  At the halfway stage in the season nine points remains the gap at the top of the division as Canterbury extend their unbeaten league run to ‘lucky’ thirteen following a 20-37 win at CS Rugby, with TJs hammering bottom club Havant 89-5 at The Slade to stay eight points clear of the chasing pack.  Dorking move into third spot following an 18-23 win at Tring, whilst Ampthill went down 28-22 at Bishop Stortford and drop to fourth in the standings. Gravesend brought their run of four consecutive defeats to an end with a narrow 20-21 away win at Bracknell, a result which sees them stabilise their position in mid-table.

London 1(S):  Leaders Chichester were held to a 23-23 draw at ninth placed Cobham, and as has been the case earlier this season Sidcup failed to capitalise as they surprisingly went down 30-26 at second from bottom Trojans and now drop to third.  Elthamians again move into second spot, just one point behind the leaders, courtesy of a 33-17 win against visiting Hove. Guernsey and Basingstoke swap places and are now fourth and fifth respectively following the Hampshire club’s heavy 40-3 loss to the Channel Island team. Dover drop a place to eleventh despite a 6-13 win on the road at Beckenham, whilst Portsmouth’s 40-25 bonus point win against Thanet moves them to tenth spot. Haywards Heath take over sixth spot following an expected win against basement club S&E (43-17).

London 1(N):  Colfes went down narrowly (32-35) at home  to Letchworth, a result that sees them drop two places to tenth spot, but still clear of relegation danger.

London 2(SE):  The battle between the top two comfortably went the way of the league leaders as Charlton Pk suffered a 20-31 home defeat to the ‘G-Force’, a result that leaves East Grinstead fifteen points clear at the top of the table at the halfway stage and with promotion looking a formaility unless the 'wheels really fall off'.  Third placed Aylesford closed the gap on the second club with a not entirely convincing 25-32 result at eighth placed Heathfield, although the visitors forte is in being able to grind out winning results.  Dunstonians remain fourth after a 5-22 away win at Tunbridge Wells, whilst fifth club Warlingham went down 28-11 at Brighton and drop two places. Lewes racked up 71 points for only 10 in reply as they hammered Sevenoaks, whilst eleventh placed D&B did their chances of survival no good at all, as they went down 32-13 to bottom club OMW

London 3(SE):  The big result here was the first league defeat of leaders Crowborough (16-13) at the hands of a third placed Medway side that has steadily been building momentum, with Folkestone recovering from last week’s defeat to stay in second spot with a tight 28-23 win over visiting Sheppey.  Maidstone take over fourth spot following a comfortable 24-10 win against visiting Horsham.  In the bottom half of the table Park Hse recorded a convincing 30-11 win over visiting Uckfield and Ashford were 39-29 winners over Bromley.  Crawley’s woes continue, as they have been deducted another 5 points by the RFU and also suffered a 13-29 defeat at the hands of an Eastbourne side  who looked like the Mid Sussex side’s best chance of recording a win.

Kent 1:  Four points separate the top three sides in the division, with Anchorians top by virtue of points difference plus they have a game in hand.  All three pacesetters won this week, with Anchorians 29-5 winners over sixth club Sittingbourne, Dartfordians scored 45 points at Beccs but worryingly still conceded 25, and Vigo were 32-15 winners over visiting Whitstable. At the other end of the table, basement club NAG went down 42-10 at fourth placed Shooters Hill, whilst OGs were narrow 18-13 winners over Cranbrook.  Guys hospital conceded their away fixture at hastings whilst HSBC had no scheduled fixture this week.

There were no scheduled fixtures for Kent Div 2 this week.

As we are now around the halfway point for the majority of divisions, for those who are interested a comprehensive view of the divisional standings (for Nat 3SE and below) can be found at http://rfulondon.com/Tables_1012.pdf



Wales coach shows off his colours
posted: December 05 2011

This weekends Sky Spoirts coverage of the Wasps v Harlequins Aviva Premiership fixture saw Wales coach Shaun Edwards finally show his true colours.  Live on nationalTV and in front of the country he was seen sporting his Maidstone Rugby tie.

Whilst the past haseen occasional photos of him with Pete Baefordm this is the first time he has so prominently "come out of the closet" to demonstrate his support.

Photo: Wales Coach, Shaun Edwards sporting his Maidstone Rugby tie. (although it also looks like Dewi Morris has been awarded a Vice Presidency)



Around the Grounds (03 Dec)
posted: December 03 2011

National 1:  Blackheath stay in fifth spot after a resounding 32-5 home win of Birmingham & Solihull, Ealing stay top after a narrow 31-29 victory over Fylde who drop to third to be replaced by Rosslyn Pk.  Jersey remains in fourth place after a 29-3 win over Coventry.

National 2(S):  Combe’s 33-10 home defeat at the hands of mid-table Redruth keeps them at the foot of the table, 5-points adrift of Barnes, who lost at Henley.  Dings won at home to Hertford and move up a place and four points behind their opposition for the day.  Hertford are 5-points adrift of the next club (Shelford) with Clifton, Taunton and Lydney now beginning to move clear of the danger zone.

National 3(SE):  With leaders Canterbury as expected taking the points in a convincing win over struggling Luton (49-8), TJs needed a win against fifth a placed Dorking side that have stumbled of late if they were to keep up the pressure at the top of the division; alas it was not to be as the Surrey side regained their form to run out convincing 29-8 winners, a result that leaves TJs nine points off the pace.  Gravesend could also do the top two a favour if they could get back to winning ways against third placed Tring and although they ran the visitors close they just lost out 14-16.  In the other top of the table battle CS Rugby were visiting Ampthill in a match where both sides needed the win to stay in touch with the promotion race, the home side took the points with a 35-23 scoreline. 

London 1(S):  In the big battle in the division Elthamians travelled to third placed Basingstoke looking to stay in second spot and a 14-14 draw dib neither of them any favours as they both slip a place as a result.  Chichester were looking to get back to winning ways after two consecutive defeats as they hosted mid table Haywards Heath and normal service looks like it has been resumed as they were resounding 59-10 winners.  Sidcup were also looking for a good result after slipping up at Hove last time out and a 29-17 win over visitors Portsmouth sees them back in second spot.  Guernsey stay in the mix after a convincing 14-40 win at bottom club S&E, whilst Hove continued their winning form as they beat struggling Trojans and from the 11-10 score it looks like it was a hard fought contest.  A narrow 23-26 win for Cobham over Dover relieved the relegation pressure for the time being and in another battle from the bottom half of the division Thanet hosted Beckenham and lost 12-34 to drop back into the danger zone

London 1(N):  Colfes ambition of a top four finish is visibly disappearing following a trip to league leaders Thurrock which ended in defeat, as they went down heavily 61-3 to the Essex side.

London 2(SE):  The top two maintained their momentum as they both won; East Grinstead beating visitors Brighton 17-11 and Charlton Pk proving too strong for hosts D&B in the 0-20 scoreline.  Third placed Warlingham drop to fifth after a 10-28 loss to visitors Tunbridge Wells who move up a place to tenth , whilst fourth placed Lewes lost 29-19 on the road at mid table Dunstonians and drop to sixth, with Dunstonians moving into fourth spot.   As expected Aylesford took maximum points in their encounter with bottom club OMW (33-0) move into third place, five points adrift of Charlton Pk.  A win for either side in the battle between Sevenoaks and H&W at Knole Paddock would relieve some relegation zone tensions, with Sevenoaks taking the points 27-22, although other results mean that they remain in eighth and ninth places. 

London 3(SE): The big match here was the top of the table battle between the two undefeated sides in the division as Crowborough hosted Folkestone in what everybody was expecting to be a close battle; however, a 38-0 scoreline in favour of the home side doesn’t lie, although it would appear that the visitors got very little in the way of a favourable bounce, although there are those that would say ‘you make your own luck’.   Third placed Medway had too much for Bromley as they won 10-30  Sheppey got back to winning ways after their 75-point drubbing at the hands of the league leaders last time out, when they hosted a Crawley side that looks destined for the drop, this time they dished out the whitewash and fell just short of three figures as they posted a 91-0 score.  Maidstone’s resurgence continued as they won on the road against Uckfield (20-14).  Horsham hosted Ashford in what was another big scoreline as they won 37-0.  Eastbourne hosted tenth club Park Hse in what was a real opportunity to post their first victory of the season, and they fell just short, losing out 7-9 to the visiting club.

Kent 1:  Not all the clubs had a week off as some played their Kent Vase fixtures last weekend; fourth placed Shooters Hill still haven’t recovered from their cup loss to Sittingbourne last week as they went down 26-12 at Cranbrook.  With Anchorians having no fixture this week, Dartfordians could have taken over top spot, but a 5-13 loss to visiting H&B sees them stay second.  Third club Vigo had a tremendous tussle at Sittingbourne, winning out 3-14 to stay just behind the leaders.   In the other fixtures the basesment battle saw NAG come out on top against Beccs (26-12), whilst Whitstable went down 8-45 at home to OGs.  At the time of going to press there is no word on the score between Guys Hosp & HSBC.

Kent 2:  Southwark’s undefeated run came to an end as they surprisingly went down 17-15 at Askeans, with Kings Coll now in top spot in the division following their convincing 41-12 win against Footscray.  There was nothing to separate third placed Brockleians and fourth club O Wills as they played out a 12-12 draw.  Lordswood won 12-31 against Bexley whilst Orpington were awarded a HWO against bottom club Erith.



U13s Mini World Cup
posted: December 02 2011

Imogen Golding, 10 yr. old daughter of Chairman Andy and her 12 yr. older sister Hannah, were selected to play in an u13 ‘mini world cup’ tournament at Staines RFC last Saturday (26/11/11). The tournament consisted of teams from around the country, who were assigned a world cup ladies team name to compete. Imogen’s team represented France and was made up of players from Old Alleynians, Beckenham, Old Whitgiftians and Maidstone, coached and put together by Gwyn Edwards, Beckenham u13 girls Lead Coach. As a collective, they managed to beat USA, England (no surprise there) drew with New Zealand and lost to eventual joint winners Sweden to gain third spot.

The tournament was organised by La Toya Mason, England Scrum Half in her RFU capacity as London Rugby Activator for women’s and girl’s rugby. The key aim of the event was to promote the game of girls rugby by giving all the clubs that have put together an U13 girls’ team a day to enjoy recreating the Women’s Rugby World Cup and allowing for the participants, coaches and supporters to experience International Women’s Rugby between England and New Zealand afterwards at Twickenham.

Imogen said “it was a fantastic day out. I got to play against girls of a similar age and also got to meet England players. Watching them at Twickenham has inspired me to want to play for England. Rugby is great sport for girls to play- it is great fun as well as being competitive and rewarding and something we can do as well as boys

The u13s girls are seen as a key age group to focus on, particularly for those such as Imogen, who have played mixed contact rugby but are only allowed to play girls/women’s rugby once they reach 12 yrs. It is also an important age group for those who then wish to move into the u15 and u18 teams, which are reasonably well established. For the women’s RFU it creates a rugby continuum and ‘pipeline’ for entry into the senior game, given that the many of the current England side, were only introduced to women’s rugby through University. So, who knows, those who are now playing u13 girls rugby may well be the rugby stars of the future!

At Maidstone, we are also keen to promote girls rugby and currently Charlotte Goodbody (u6 Lead Coach) is looking to recruit girls to play at u12 level. This presents a fantastic opportunity for new and experienced players to learn and develop skills, be part of a team and play at one of the most iconic clubs in Kent and the SE. So if you know someone, who would like to play rugby at this age group, please contact Charlie at charley@maidstonerugby.org.uk or on M: 07554998334



RFU Knockout Competitions, 4th Round Draw
posted: December 01 2011

County interest in the RFU Competitions now rests with just four clubs; in the Intermediate Cup Aylesford and Charlton Pk progressed following narrow wins.  In the Senior Vase the county's hopes sit with Folkestone following a battle against East London in the last round, and Maidstone who breezed past Harlow with something to spare.

RFU Senior Vase:  For members this is the draw of interest, and whilst it may only be the 4th Round, it is also the London & SE Regional Semi-Final.  The competition remains a battle between the L3NE & SE divisions and this is likely to continue as Newmarket who had a bye in the last round host Norwich in one semi final, whilst Maidstone are likely to host Folkestone at The Mote; although it would appear that the south coast side has some match card issues to resolve before their place in the draw is confirmed.  The matches are scheduled for  Sat 25th February 2012.

RFU Intermediate Cup:  The clubs to avoid in the draw were obviously those that currently sit atop their respective divisions, East Grinstead and Romford & Gidea Pk are obvious favourites, along with Teddington who are now into a third season of undefeated cup rugby..  Our own Charlton Pk and Aylesford are also in with a real chance given a favourable draw.  Unfortunately it would appear that fortune hasn't smiled on the Kent sides as Aylesford travel to London 2NE leaders Romford & GP, whilst Charlton Pk  are drawn away at London 2SE leaders East Grinstead.  In the other fourth round fixtures Enfield Ignations take on Chiswick and Teddington will be looking to maintain their three year undefeated cup run  as they host Tabard.  Matches in this competition are to be played on Sat February 11th 2012.



Shepherd Neame Kent Cup Update (Kent Vase) - Updated 04 Dec
posted: November 29 2011

The last weekend saw the vast majority of clubs take advantage of a weekend free of league commitments to complete their Kent Vase first round fixtures.  Only Brockleians had a fixture clash as they faced Surrey side Chipstead in the RFU Junior Vase; as a consequence their Kent Vase fixture against Kent 1 highflyers Dartfordians is now rearranged for the 11th December.

One fixture in the first round had already taken place as Ash from the Invicta League made their first foray into the county competition. The  Invicta 3 club  hosted Kent 1s Cranbrook on the 5th November and any aspirations of silverware Cranbrook had ended up on the bonfire; as in a match strewn with penalties and handling errors the East Kent side's defence held firm as they progressed to the next round after a hard fought 14-3 win.

In an all Kent 1 fixture, fourth placed Shooters Hill  hosted fourth place club Sittingourne, with the visitors coming out on top.  Whitstable were due to take on current Kent 1 leaders Anchorians, but conceded leaving the Gillingham side to move forward to the next round.  They will face O Gravesendians who played their fixture with Askeans on an artificial surface, and had too much firepower for their Kent 2 opposition, running out 48-5 winners.  Last years finalists, Kent 2 leaders Southwark Lancers travelled to take on Kent 1 basement club Beccehamians and will be hoping for another good cup run after a 10-29 win..  Greenwich were another side from the Kent junior leagues in the competition but went down 27-15 at Bexley,so now move to the Salver competition along with the other unsuccessful firts round sides..  The outstanding result  of the Lordswood fixture against Orpington is that Lordswood were awarded a HWO and now progress to the next round.

With all but one of fixtures now completed the draw for the 2nd round is as follows (ties to be played by 11th Feb):

Brockleians or Dartfordians v Southwark Lancers.

Ash v Sittingbourne

Anchorians v O Gravesendians

Bexley v Lordswood



Around the Grounds (26 Nov)
posted: November 26 2011

National 1: With leaders Ealing going down narrowly at Coventry, a 28-22 home win for second placed Fylde allowed them to close the gap on top spot,  Blackheath remain fifth although the clubs around them have shuffled after Rosslyn Pk’s convincing win and Jersey beat Macclesfield.  Cambridge also slipped up as they lost at home to Wharfedale.

National 2: Combe really needed to get back to winning ways as they travelled to SW club Clifton, but a 24-8 defeat keeps them at the foot of the table; fellow strugglers Dings also lost at Barnes (28-19) , whilst Hertford lost heavily at home to Launceston.

RFU Intermediate Cup:  The county’s interest lay with Aylesford and Charlton Park as they travelled to Wimbledon and Chelmsford respectively.  Both opposition sides are going well in their respective London 2 divisions, although on the day the Kent sides had just too much for their hosts as Aylesford ran out 23-34 winners and Charlton Pk winning 22-29.  The other ‘big guns’ in the competition are the respective London 2 divisional leaders, L2SE’s East Grinstead and L2NE’s Romford & Gidea Pk; the ‘G Force’ were due to host L2NE strugglers Woodford, but the 2NE side withdrew the day before the match due to not being able to field a front row.  Romford travelled to Welwyn who are anchored to the bottom of L2NW and the difference told as Romford were convincing 8-44 winners.  As expected Enfield Ignations despatched L2SW strugglers Tottonians in the London 2N battle between two mid table sides, but not by the margin that might have been expected as they squeaked home by 36-27.   Chiswick ended up with a HWO against Saffron Walden.  Suffolk side Lowestoft hosted a Teddington club looking to make its third consecutive Twickenham appearance and their undefeated cup run continues as they ran out 15-23 winners.  In the last of the third round pairings Tabard welcomed O Reigatians, and ultimately had too much in locker for their Surrey opposition, taking the match 36-14 to progress to the next round.

RFU Senior Vase:  Still contested at regional level, the third round of the competition was a battle between L3SE and L3NE although two of the ties went the way on the NE division without a ball being kicked or a whistle blown although the remaining ties went the way of the Kent clubs.  Of the two  ties actually played both Maidstone & folkestone were making their first outings due to byes & withdrawals.   Maidstone’s home match against Harlow, currently second in L3NE, looked like being the most competitive of the fixtures.  However, a Maidstone side whose stuttering start to their league campaign seems to be well behind them were always in the driving seat as they ran out convincing 50-0 winners against the Essex side and haven’t now conceded a point in over 260 minutes of league and cup rugby.

On paper East London’s visit to the New Burlington Field always looked a ‘big ask’ for the struggling metropolitan side, as a Folkestone team that has found some real depth and consistency this season were the obvious favourites, but as the 27-16 scoreline demonstrates, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Kent coast side.

After playing two cup fixtures in two days when they played in the last round, Sheppey this time withdrew from their fixture at Norwich in the week before the tie, citing injuries and distance as the reasons for forfeiting the match.   In the last of the ties, L3NE basement side Newmarket ended up with a bye as match card issues from Horsham’s win against Cheshunt in the previous round were not resolved.

RFU Junior Vase:  The county’s only interest came through Brockleians as they hosted Surrey 2 club Chipstead who are currently going well at the top end of their division, in what was a competitive fixture, county involvement in the trophy ended as the home side lost out 14-18.

Comment:  It seems very coincidental that clubs can’t field front rows for cup fixtures, but seem to manage it for league matches on every other weekend!!



RFU Injured Players Foundation
posted: November 23 2011

On Tuesday Dave Phillips, a Welfare Officer from the RFUs Injured Players Foundation took the time to come to the club to speak with members of the committee and also a number of players about the recent injuries suffered by Tom Hughes in a Mustangs XV fixture at Old Dunstonians.  Dave’s comments and update on Tom’s progress were helpful and informative, but it raised the issue of what is the RFU Injured Players Foundation, an organisation probably not widely known about unless these sorts of circumstances occur.

For many years now, and uniquely amongst sport’s National Governing Bodies, the Rugby Football Union has insured all amateur players for serious and catastrophic injuries.  The RFU Injured Players Foundation is a charity that supports people who sustain what are termed catastrophic injuries whilst playing rugby. The charity provides help and support for both players and their family in the early months of these injuries as well as in the long term to empower them to live a full and independent life, and incorporates the former SPIRE Rugby Trust charity.  In addition to this support, the charity takes a more active approach to conducting and supporting research and education aimed at preventing injuries; and identifying how injured players can be helped more effectively.

Further information on the RFU Injured Players Foundation can be found at: http://www.rfuipf.org.uk/index.php



Young Talent Feeds Senior Squad
posted: November 21 2011

 

Following in the footsteps of Ollie Newton and Jason Smith who burst into the senior squad last season; this year has seen a number of the current U18s making an impact at senior level.  This past Saturday saw Sam Ellis make his full 1st XV debut following a replacement appearance in the Kent Cup against Sevenoaks last month.  Sam is by no means alone as U18 team mates Ally Moss and Dan Eastwood have also made their 1st XV debuts in recent weeks, having also featured in the Kent Cup fixture against Sevenoaks.  Playing on the wing Ally has seen himself on the scoresheet with tries against Sheppey and Park House whilst Dan narrowly missed out on a hat trick of scores as he ran in a brace of tries in the recent defeat of Crawley.

Along with other players like Jack Lamb, Sam Bailey & Josh McKenzie who have come through the club’s youth system in recent seasons, there is certainly plenty of opportunity for young players to make an impact at the club.



Around the Grounds (19 Nov)
posted: November 19 2011

National 1: A bonus point 34-25 win for Blackheath puts the momentum back into their campaign as they move up to fifth in a division where the outcome of matches is everything but predictable, and normally tight. Table toppers Ealing went down 24-35 to visiting Macclesfield allowing the chasing pack to close the gap on the leaders.

National 2(S):  Four penalties was all that Combe could muster as they went down 12-31 at home to O Albanians, a result that sees them back at the foot of the table, although all the other candidates in the relegation zone also lost although both Dings and Clifton did pick up valuable bonus points in defeat.

National 3(SE):  Top side Canterbury’s unbeaten run continues as they had too much firepower for tenth placed Staines, running out easy winners 55-14.  TJs stay in touch in second spot as they comfortably took the honours in the Kent derby against Gravesend 35-3.  Of the chasing pack, on paper Dorking had the stiffest test as they travelled to  Bishop Stortford and so it turned out as what looked like being a mid-season stumble last week has turned in to more on a trip as they went down 32-24 to the home side and slip to fifth in the table.   Tring faced Westcliff and were 31-14 winners to hold fourth place with Ampthill travelling to struggling Luton and running out 18-33 winners to take third place in the division.

London 1(S):  Some weeks the results can be quite predictable but on odd occasions the form book seems to go completely out of the window; this looks very much like one of the latter.  Top side Chichester lost for the second week on the trot as fifth placed Guernsey looked like comfortable winners 22-12, the Channel Islands remain a difficult venue for visiting sides.  Sidcup also slipped up, losing 19-15 at Hove and drop to fourth as a result.  The main beneficiaries were Elthamians who were 27-6 winner against bottom side S&E; and Basingstoke who nilled hosts Trojans by 57 points and move to third. Elsewhere Beckenham’s inconsistentcy returned as they went down 19-29 to visiting Portsmouth, whilst Cobham were 43-14 winners against Thanet.  Haywards Heath move up a place to sixth as they defeated Dover 27-12, all of which leaves Dover the bottom of a group of four clubs who look like candidates for the third relegation place, although it is still a bit early for that sort of talk.

London 1(N):  Colfes move up three places to seventh spot following a convincing 50-25 win against Rochford Hundred.  At the head of the table, leaders Colchester slipped up as they went down 18-16 at Eton Manor.  Thurrock takes over first place following a 59-3 win at Chingford, whilst Bury St Edmunds stay in contention after a 49-3 thumping of hosts Braintree.

London 2(SE):  The expected mauling of Tunbridge Wells by visitors East Grinstead never took place although despite a staunch performance from Wells, the league leaders still took the points by 10-24.  Most of the matches in the division were both top or bottom half clashes with the big fixtures being the all Kent matchup between second placed Charlton Pk who played host to Aylesford and the clash between Warlingham and Lewes.  Charlton Park stay second after a solid 23-16 win that drops Aylesford to sixth, whilst Warlinham were nilled by a Sussex side for the second time this season as they collapsed to a 48-0 defeat by Lewes.  In the bottom half of the table Sevenoaks travelled to Dunstonians and lost out 19-16, H&W visited OMW and were 10-24 winners whilst D&B travelled to mid table Brighton and lost out 23-15.

London 3(SE):  Folkestone keep up the pressure on the top of the table following agood home performance against Bromley to run out convincing40-10 winners.  If Sheppey were looking to make amends for last week’s home defeat to Park Hse at leaders Crowborough then they came unstuck in a big way as they were thrashed 75-5 by the home side.  With Medway winning at 29-15 home against fifth placed Horsham there is no change at the top of the division.  In mid table Maidstone move up three places to fifth, after a 32-0 victory against winless Eastbourne.  With all of Crawley’s current trauma’s following a points deduction, the bottom club put in a creditable performance in defeat at Park House, eventually losing out 14-5.  In the clash of last season’s county division winners, there was nothing to separate the sides as Ashford and Uckfield shared the points in an 8-8 draw.

Kent 1:  No change at the top of the table , with leaders Anchorians narrow 6-8 winners at third placed Vigo, Dartfordians also won 15-23 at HSBC to keep up the pressure on the leaders.  Fourth placed Shooters Hill were 24-10 winners against Whitstable and fifth placed Sittingbourne lost heavily (30-10) to OGs, sixth placed Hastings were convincing 48-19 winners over NAG, with Cranvbrook climbing one place to seventh following a hard fought 19-24 win at Beccehamians. Guys Hospital had no fixture this week.

Kent 2:  Southwark stay top after a convincing 27-5 win over third placed Brockleians, with second placed Kings Coll running 26 unopposed points at Erith. Fourth side O Wills were 10-19 winners at Bexley, with Orpington now beginning to lift themselves clear of the foot of the table following an 18-24 win at home to Lordswood.  Footscray played out a 17-17 draw with visitors Askeans, a result that sees Askeans move up a place to eighth, but Footscray drop a place to seventh.

Next week's scheduled fixtures concern only those clubs still competing in the RFU's knockout competitions except for National League clubs Blackheath and Westcombe Park who have league fixtures.



Maidstone Rugby coaching at St Simon Stock School
posted: November 16 2011

Under the guidance of Maidstone Rugby player and youth coach Dave Tugwell, Maidstone Rugby is in the middle of running a month long after school rugby programme.  Sessions are conducted on Monday evenings for an hour and a half for boys at St Simon Stock School in the town.

As well as receiving plenty of support from Dave has been assisted in the venture by the school’s Head of PE Luke Anderson and has also been assisted by Hayden Mitchell the clubs Schools Outreach Coach and Matt Ellesmere a coach with the club’s U12 age group.

Feedback so far has been extremely positive with the boys enjoying and learning from the sessions and keen to get changed and out there on a Monday after a hard day of study!  The purpose has been to support the school in their coaching of rugby, provide the children with an opportunity to have an hour and a half of focused rugby coaching once a week, and attract new players to the sport (and hopefully the club).  It should be mentioned that both Dave an employee of RBS, and Matt a Civil Servant are able to give their time thanks to the support of their employers under a scheme to encourage voluntary work and contribute to the community.

As former pupils at the school both Dave and Matt have noticed that the school is still very similar to when they attended, although neither can remember being able to complete and submit  their homework on-line! (it was probably chalk and a tablet in Dave’s day!!)

Photo: Dave Tugwell, Luke Anderson, Hayden Mitchell and Matt Ellesmere with a few of the boys invoved in the after school rugby sessions.



Around the Grounds (12 Nov)
posted: November 12 2011

National 1: Blackheath’s recent winning form came to an end as they went down 25-13 to ninth club Macclesfield, a result that sees them slip two places to seventh.

National 2(S):  If other results had gone their way Combe could have made great strides up the table, all of which mattered not as they were comprehensively beaten 46-23 at eleventh placed Taunton.  Dings remain bottom following a narrow 14-11 loss to third club Hartpury Coll whilst Barnes lost 12-30 to visiting Worthing.  The other clubs in or around the relegation zone both won as Hertford beat Shelford (29-21) and Clifton were 30-11 winners against Southend.

National 3(SE):  Canterbury’s 24-31 win at fourth placed Ampthill means they have now beaten all of their closest competitors in the division, while TJs also won on the road as they demolished Westcliff 10-43 to stay on the city club’s coat tails.  Dorking remains in third despite losing narrowly 10-11 at home to CS Rugby.  Gravesend’s troubles continue as they went down heavily at home to Bishop Stortford (21-56).

London 1(S):  The big result here was Elthamians 8-13 win at league leaders Chichester, a result that moves them up to third in the table; Sidcup were able to capitalise on that result to close the gap as they won 22-18 against visiting Beckenham. Basingstoke remain in fourth following a big 49-8 win against Hove, with Guernsey staying in fifth spot after they defeated Dover 15-21 at The Crabble.  Thanet move up to eighth after a good 28-3 win at seventh club Haywards Heath, whilst at the foot of the division the bottom four clubs were in action against each other, a 41-36 win for Portsmouth over Surrey club Cobham sees them switch places, whilst S&Es woes continue as they lost 19-26 at home to new boys Trojans and are now eight points adrift at the foot of the table and looking favourites for relegation as we approach the half-way point in the season.

London 1(N):  Colfes slip two places to ninth in the division after they lost 36-13 to league leaders Colchester; the other favoured promotion candidates, Thurrock and Bury St Edmunds both won to keep up the pressure on the Essex side.

London 2(SE):  League leaders East Grinstead continued their unbeaten run as they beat fourth placed Lewes 25-13, second placed Charlton Pk remain second despite tripping up  20-10 at mid table Heathfield & Waldron and are now 9 points adrift of the leaders. Third club Warlingham are only separated from them on points difference following a narrow 31-28 win against visiting Dunstonians whilst Aylesford move up to fourth after their 27-15 win at home to Brighton. At the foot of the table Sevenoaks are still not clear of getting sucked into the relegation battle, despite a thumping 63-0 home win against bottom club OMW, a 19 -3 home win sees D&B switch places with the visiting Tunbridge Wells.

London 3(SE):  The head of the table remains the same as the top three all won on the road, with Crowborough thumping Bromley 3-48, Folkestone also winning 5-18 at Horsham and Medway downing Uckfield 16-22.  In fact there was not a home win in the division as fourth placed Sheppey lost 10-16 to tenth placed Park Hse, with Ashford beating Eastbourne 14-34 and Maidstone predictably beating bottom club Crawley 0-43.

Kent 1:  The top of this division is very tight with three clubs level on points at the start of the day; Vigo were without a fixture, but bonus point wins for against mid table opposition for leaders Anchorian  against OGs (25-8) and Dartfordians against Guys Hosp (32-19) sees the two sides move 5 points clear at the top.  A 10-8 win for Sittingbourne at home to Shooters sees them close the gap on fourth placed club Shooters, whilst H&B slipped up as they were beaten 9-5 in a tight encounter at Cranbrook, a result that moves the Wealden side up three places to eighth. A solid 17-3 for NAG against HSBC doesn’t move them from twelfth, but does stop the gap widening at the bottom and the same applies to bottom club Beccs after their 19-25 win at Whitstable.

Kent 2:  Convincing wins for the top two clubs as Southwark beat fourth placed O Wills 9-36, whilst fifth placed Lordswood’s recent run of form came to a calamitous end as they were thumped 50-0 by Kings Coll.  Third placed Brockleians were also winners but by a less convincing margin as they beat sixth side Footscray 19-14. At the bottom end of the table there is conflicting information on the fixture between Askeans and Erith, although the consensus of their respective club websites and the RFU website is that Erith conceded giving a HWO to Askeans, the London RFU website contradicts this but somehow I think the two clubs can be trusted to give an honest account and I will make no comment about the other organisations!!  Basement side Orpington’s 49-17 beating of eighth placed Bexley, sees Orpington move off the bottom to be replaced by Bexley.



Shepherd Neame Kent Cup News – Quarter Finals Draw
posted: November 11 2011

With all the 2nd Round fixtures completed on schedule the draw has now been announced for the Quarter Finals of this season’s Shepherd Neame Kent Cup; Maidstone have been drawn at home against L2SE side Old Dunstonians with the fixture to be played on or before Sunday 26th February 2012; the Fixtures Sec will be liaising with Head Coach Andy Foley and the relevant contacts at Old Dunstonians and an agreed date for the fixture will be announced in due course via the website. In the other cup ties. The ‘big guns’ have all avoided each other, with Sidcup being rewarded for defeating the county champions of the last two seasons, Gravesend, with a visit by Westcombe Pk.  Blackheath play host to Aylesford, whilst Sheppey must feel that after playing two cup games in two days last weekend, the draw has been a little unkind as they face the county’s in-form side at the moment and travel to take on city club Canterbury.

Additionally, the draw has also been announced for the initial rounds of the Plate Competition, full details of the draw for both competitions are below:

Shepherd Neame Kent Cup (3rd Round – Quarter Finals)

Blackheath v Aylesford

Canterbury v Sheppey

Maidstone v O Dunstonians

Sidcup v Westcombe Pk

Shepherd Neame Kent Plate (Prelim & 1st Round)

Preliminary Round:

Dover v O Colfeians (to be played on or before 12th Feb 2012)

1st Round:

Ashford v Tonbridge Juddians

Beckenham v Bromley

Medway v Thanet Wdrs

Dover or O Colfeians v Charlton Pk

 



RFU announce England’s QBE Autumn Internationals for 2012
posted: November 10 2011

England face four Test matches in 2012s QBE Autumn International programme announced by the RFU.

They start against Fiji on Sat 10th Nov, then host Australia seven days later (17th Nov) before tacking South Africa on 24th Nov with the programme culminating in an encounter with current world champions the  New Zealand ’All Blacks’ on Sat 1st Dec.

In respect of ticketing, this is still a long way off and arrangements will be announced by the RFU in due course and the club will in turn inform members via the website.



RFU Knockout Competitions Round 3 Draw (Updated 19-11-11)
posted: November 09 2011

All bar one of the clubs in the RFU Competitions that progressed to the third round were beneficiaries of their opposition conceding; in fact Aylesford, Charlton Pk, Folkestone and Maidstone find themselves in the third round of their respective tournaments and have yet to take to the pitch in competition.

With draw having been announced the Intermediate Cup sees both Kent sides left in the competition drawn away from home,  Aylesford are pitched against Wimbledon who currently lie in second spot in L2SW, whilst Charlton Pk travel to Essex to face a Chelmsford  side that are currently second in L2NE

In the Senior Vase three of the county’s clubs went into the draw for the last eight of the regional phase of the competition; in what has developed into a battle between the London NE & SE divisions.  Folkestone have a home match against East London with Maidstone pitted against a Harlow side that are currently second in L3NE, in a home tie at The Mote. Like last season Sheppey travel to East Anglia as they take on a Norwich side that sits third behind Harlow in their division. Match card issues from Horsham's 2nd round tie against Cheshunt have not been resolved, as a result  L3NE basement side Newmarket have been awarded a Bye in the third round.

Brockleians benefited from a HWO in the last round and this time find themselves pitted against Surrey 2 club Chipstead who defeated Burgess Hill in the last round.

The draw affecting Kent clubs and the full third round draw for the RFU Senior Vase to be played on Sat 26th Nov is below:

RFU Intermediate Cup:

Wimbledon v Aylesford

Chelmsford v Charlton Park

RFU Senior Vase:

Folkestone v East London

Maidstone v Harlow

Newmarket v Horsham (tbc)

Norwich v Sheppey

RFU Junior Vase:

Brockleians v Chipstead

Full details of the respective draws can be found at: http://rfulondon.com/



Club contributes to The Village Hotel’s Victory Pub
posted: November 07 2011

The Victory Pub is Maidstone’s Village Hotel sports bar and the past weekend saw club stalwart Dave Tugwell on hand with player coach Hayden Mitchell to present a 1stXV shirt to Bar Manager Ben Ball. The Village Hotel is a former sponsor of Maidstone Rugby and is still used by the club as an events venue at various points during the year.The Victory Pub is looking to feature a display of local sports club shirts and as the only senior rugby club in the borough the county town club’s shirt is set to feature prominently in their display.



Shepherd Neame Kent Cup News
posted: November 07 2011

Only three of the clubs left to contest their Kent Cup 2nd Rd fixtures were scheduled to play on both Saturday and Sunday, so with fine weather so far this season and what looks like an uncluttered fixture schedule, it looks very much like the county competition is progressing smoothly.  In the end withdrawals in one or other competition meant only one was forced to play twice over the weekend and Sheppey are to be commended for maintaining the spirit of the competition, even though they played two competitive cup fixtures in two days, at a time when the in vogue cry seems to be ‘we can’t field a front row’ or ‘we want to concentrate on the league’ as a team withdraws from competitions.

Saturday’s big match of the day was between the pacesetters in Nat 3(SE), as leaders Canterbury fielded a full strength side when they hosted second placed TJs who were fielding their 2nd(Warriors) XV, a 77-3 scoreline in favour of the home team was probably to be expected as Canterbury had comprehensively won the earlier league encounter at The Slade when both teams were fielding a full complement. In the other match programmed for Saturday, Dunstonians hosted Bromley from a division below and the difference told as a Dunstonians side that is currently going well in L2SE ran out convincing 43-17 winners.

With Elthamians conceding their fixture against Blackheath due to a long injury list, Sunday’s big match was played under floodlights at Sidcup’s Crescent Farm ground and the outcome means that there will be a different name on the trophy this season as the defending champions Gravesend went down 16-15 to the home side.

Elsewhere Sheppey who had played in the RFU Senior Vase the day before hosted Colfeians at Stupple Field; two cup fixtures seemed to do them no harm as they dispatched the London 1 side in grinding out a victory by the narrowest of margins 6-5 in a tight match. Deal & Betteshanger had withdrawn from their RFU Intermediate Cup fixture the day before travelled to take on a Westcombe Pk ‘A’ side whose fixture against Hertford on the Saturday had been postponed. In the end the Combe side had just too much in their armoury for the Lions as they ran out 27-12 winners to progress to the next round.

With all the Round 2 fixtures now complete the teams in the 3rdRound draw are Aylesford, Blackheath, Canterbury, Dunstonians, Maidstone, Sheppey, Sidcup & Westcombe Pk

The draw for the Plate competition can now also be made with the following clubs going into the 1stround draw: Ashford, Beckenham, Bromley, Charlton Pk, Dover, Medway, O Colfeians, Thanet and TJs.

Additionally, this month sees the start of the Kent Vase & Salver competition, with the following matches due to be played on or before the 26th Nov: Lordswood v Orpington, Brockleians v Dartfordians, Shooters Hill v Sittingbourne, Whitstable  v Anchorians, Bexley v Greenwich, Ash v Cranbrook,  Beccehamians v Southwark Lancers, Askeans v OGs.

Only Brockleians and Ash have fixture commitments over that weekend (weather permitting) so the competition looks like it will progress as programmed.  The competition draw is a tidy eight fixtures and the winners of each match progress, with the losers going into the draw for the Salver competition.



A Great Day Out
posted: November 06 2011

Thanks to the work of Jim Tinsley, the Old Boys Day held for the league fixture against Park House was a great success, with a number of players past (& present) in attendance.  Some people hadn’t seen each other for several years and occasions like this are just the opportunity to relive old times, both on and off the pitch.

The link below is a brief 3 minute summary of the day.

click here

We look forward to the next Old Boys Day event which will be on 3rd March for the home league fixture against Crawley.  See you there.



Around the Grounds (06 Nov - Updated)
posted: November 06 2011

National 1: Following last weekend’s loss, and with the top four clubs all pitched against each other this week, the ‘Club’ had a real opportunity to stay in the promotion battle as they hosted seventh placed Tynedale.  Tight matches have been a feature of Blackheath’s season so far, and this was no different as they recorded a narrow 22-20 win,  a result that keeps them in fifth spot, with Cambridge losing to leaders Ealing, and Fylde beating Coventry who slip from the top five, although Rosslyn Park’s win at Stourbridge moves them to fourth.

National 2(S):  With all the relegation candidates facing mid table opposition this week, Combe needed a good result to stop themselves being cast adrift at the foot of the table.  They did so with some style as recorded 40-17 bonus point win.  A result that lifts them from  the foot of the table   with fellow strugglers Dings Crusaders, Barnes and Clifton all losing.

National 3(SE), London 1(S), London 1(N):    Clubs at National 3 and below had no scheduled league fixtures this week, with level 7 (London 2) sides and below committed to their respective RFU Knockout competitions, or possibly meeting the deadline for the outstanding Round 2 fixtures in the Kent Cup (see Kent Cup News for details)

RFU Intermediate Cup: In the senior of the RFU competitions that all now seem flawed with club’s withdrawing, Aylesford benefited from last Monday’s withdrawal of L2SW league leaders Gosport, who announced that they had “several injuries and players who need to be rested”.  Likewise Charlton Pk who also proceed due to the withdrawal of Tunbridge Wells due to a long injury list; whilst Sevenoaks conceded their fixture against L2SW side O Reigatians due to a massive injury and unavailability crisis of 30 senior squad players.  With Deal & Betteshanger’s also withdrawing from their trip to Wimbledon, currently second in L2SW it meant that there were no matches played within the county in this round of the tournament, although the Lions were due to contest their Kent Cup fixture at Westcombe Pk the following day, so it is apparent where their priorities lie. In the other fixtures played all the scorelines indicate some keenly contested fixtures, although there were some bigger scores as Chiswick thrashed Ipswich 52-0, East Grinstead beat Ldn Cornish 38-13, Lowestoft beat St Albans 42-19 and Welwyn overcame Beccles 35-20.  Elsewhere L2SE side Warlingham went down 5-25 to last tournament winners in the past two seasons in the Junior & Senior Vases Teddington.  OMW were the only other L2SE side in the draw and conceded their fixture to L2SW basement side Tottonians.

RFU Senior Vase:  By Thursday of last week Uckfield had conceded their tie against Maidstone on the basis that due to injuries and unavailability they were unable to field a front row, plus they also stated a desire to concentrate on the league, on which basis one might ask why enter the competition in the first place?.  All of which means that following a first round bye and a second round walkover the county town club proceed into the regional quarter-finals (let’s not kid ourself, it’s really just the third round)  without having to take to the pitch in the competition!   Folkestone found themself in the same situation as O Alleynian also couldn’t field a front row, allowing the Kent coast club to progress to the next round. Sheppey, despite also playing in the Kent Cup on Sunday, hosted KCS Old Boys in the county’s only remaining fixture at this level and ran out convincing 26-6 winners, meaning that the county will provide three of the eight regional quarter finalists.  Elsewhere the big winners were Harlow, who overcame Cheshunt 40-12 and Norwich who beat Barnet Elizabethans 41-7; other sides to progress to the last eight are East London, Horsham, and Wymondham.

RFU Junior Vase:  Brockleians v O Whitgiftians was one of 5 ties from the 32 where there were withdrawals, with Brockleians being the beneficiaries in this case and progressing.  Elsewhere there were big wins for Cranleigh against Seaford (39-8), Croydon against Belsize Pk (41-0) and Worth OB who routed O Hamptonians (70-0).  Former Maidstone player Nick East’s club Burgess Hill also lost heavily as they went down 5-32 to Chipstead.

The draw for the next round of all three RFU knockout competitions will be announced on Wed 9th November.

Addendum:

Kent 1:  Dartfordians hosted HSBC this weekend as they took the opportunity to provide the only fixture in Kent 1 with Darts proving too strong for the opposition on the day to register a 49-21 bonus point win and draw level on points with Gillingham and Vigo at the top of the table.



Tom Hughes
posted: November 02 2011

As some of you may have heard, Tom suffered a serious spinal injury when playing for Maidstone Mustangs on Saturday at Old Dunstonians. The injury occurred in the normal course of play and there is no implication of foul play.

He is currently in Stoke Mandeville Hospital receiving specialist attention. At this time, the extent of his injury is unknown and as such, is not possible to determine the extent of the damage.

Tom is a long standing member of our club, who played for our mini and junior sides and, subsequently, in the first team. Since joining the Army, where he trained at Sandhurst, he has been part of the Army senior rugby squad and has most recently served in Afghanistan as a Captain with 3 Cdo Brigade Reconnaissance Force

I’m sure you will all join me in wishing Tom a speedy and complete recovery.

Andy Golding

Chairman



News from across the ‘Pond’
posted: November 01 2011

Former senior squad player Ed Pritchard has been resident in Pennsylvania, USA since just prior to the current season and reports the following news.  He is currently playing for the York-Lancaster Roses RFC in Pennsylvania, situated approximately 1 hour from Philadelphia in the North East of the country.

The club competes in their Mid-Atlantic RFU Division 2 North, a league that consists of 6 other teams. Their season is divided into two parts, the 'fall season' which lasts from August – October with a mid-season break until the play-offs which take place in the ‘spring season.   The sport has very much been ‘Americanised’ in terms of the competition format, largely because of the size of the country and the play-offs provide the opportunity to compete on a national level and allow the team to gauge where they sit nationally as a club in Division 2.

So far Ed’s new club has played six matches, winning five and finishing 2nd in the league which guarantees them home advantage for the play-offs in April. They have a really good chance of making the national finals this year, a feat the club also achieved in 2009.

Ed reports that when he first arrived (in July) he was quite stunned by the enthusiasm of the players; it was 36C and they were happy to throw the ball around in the heat and humidity. A bit of a shock to the system for a front row forward, so he found himself playing catch up because everyone appeared to be so physically fit!  Ed also reports that he has never seen players hit so hard and so consistently. He was also surprised by the standard, where initially he had expected to see more enthusiasm than skill.


The club has an exceptionally talented core group of players all in their twenties. The standard is good and the rugby is fun. Ed is currently plying his front row trade as hooker these days and enjoying every minute of it, plus also enjoying an extended run of game time, as the last 2 years at Maidstone and then New Ash Green were ended prematurely through knee injury.

There is talk at his new club of a tour to the UK in 2 years or so to measure what standard this club is really at (and for the beer). Of course Maidstone has been suggested as the main destination since the Roses now have a strong link with the club!



Around the Grounds (29 Oct)
posted: October 29 2011

National 1:  In what was probably their toughest test so far, Blackheath failed to make it nine consecutive wins as they fell to third placed Cambridge 42-27 and drop to fifth in the division below Coventry following their narrow 30-29 win over Rosslyn Pk.

National 2(S):  This was a must win match for Westcombe Pk and they duly delivered, beating second from bottom Barnes 20-24.  Ironically, Combe stay bottom of the table but Barnes’ bonus point lifts them to fourteenth after Dings went down 35-8 at Henley.  It looks like it may be a long hard season for the Orpington based club.

National 3(SE):  The city club stay four points clear at the top after a convincing 81-15 rout of bottom side Havant, whilst TJs stay second after a hard fought 29-24 win over Ldn Irish at The Slade.  Gravesend slip down the table to eighth following a 41-15 loss at CS Rugby.  Dorking’s 15-59 win at Luton keeps them in third place, seven points of the leaders.

 London 1(S):  The big result here was between Basingstoke and Sidcup, with the Kent side taking the honours in what is their fourth victory so far  this season by a one point margin(21-22), and moves them into second spot.  Elthamians capitalised on Basingstoke’s loss to move into third as they beat Dover 34-12.  Beckenham overcame Cobham to move up to sixth spot, with leaders Chichester comfortable 38-14 winners at Trojans.  S&E stay anchored to the bottom of the table after they were hammered 48-7 at Hove, whilst Haywards Heath move back into a solid mid table position after their 37-20 win against Portsmouth.  At this level it’s not often one gets an evening kick-off on a Saturday, but this weekend saw against Portsmouth.  At this level it’s not often one gets an evening kick-off on a Saturday, but this weekend saw Guernsey take on Thanet under lights at St Peter Port; the Channel Islands are never a comfortable away fixture and the home side proved just strong enough to run out 15-10 winners.

London 1(N):  Colfes were convincing 29-0 winners against Norfolk visitors Nth Walsham, a result that moves them up three places to seventh and leaves the Norfolk side stuck at the foot of the table.

London 2(SE):  After their resounding win last week, East Grinstead made harder work of despatching Dunstonians, but came out on top to win narrowly 19-21 and stay at the top of the division.  Charlton Park remain second following an 80-7 thrashing of OMW, with third placed Warlingham recovering from last week’s defeat to the league leaders with a convincing 46-15 home win against a Sevenoaks side that seem to be struggling and now look like they may be sucked into the relegation battle.  Lewes’s 49-15 win at D&B moves them above Brighton to fourth, despite the Sussex coast side’s 17-8 win against Heathfield.  Aylesford move up a place to sixth after they repeated their Kent Cup result of a fortnight ago with an 11-37 win over Tunbridge Wells.

London 3(SE):  Crowborough’s convincing  49-13 win against fourth side Horsham keeps them at the top of the table, with the bonus point now seeing them clear leaders (well by one point) over Folkestone who defeated Uckfield 21-5.  Third placed Medway were convincing 57-15 winners over visitors Eastbourne, with Sheppey staying fourth despite losing 16-15 at Bromley.  Maidstone move up to eight after they hammered Park Hse 46-10 at The Mote, whilst Ashford finally recorded their first win, and in some style as they thrashed bottom club Crawley 71-5. 

Kent 1:  At the top of the table Anchorians remain top on points difference despite a surprise 22-12 loss at Shooters Hill, Vigo are their nearest competition and keep up the pressure following a 7-29 win at OGs, Darts remain third despite having no fixture.  Fourth placed Sittingbourne failed to close the gap on the top three after they surprisingly went down 34-19 to bottom club Beccs, and slip to fifth as a consequence.  In a weekend that saw a resurgence of the bottom clubs, Guys Hospital also slipped up as they went down 17-30 to NAG, with Hastings capitalising on the loss with a 27-13 win at Whitstable. In what was a bit of a basement battle, HSBC came out on top 18-13 against visitors Cranbrook.

Kent 2:  Southwark lost out 19-10 last season to Footscray and were determined to put that result behind them as they regarded this as a key fixture in the season; they came out on top of what was not necessarily a comfortable 16-25 score line, but enough to keep them at the top of the table; especially as Kings Coll won 10-27 at Bexley to stay in second spot.  Brockleians were convincing 3-37 winners on their travels to Erith, with O Wills also winners on the road at bottom side Orpington.  After a poor start to the season, Lordswood are starting to move up the table and are now fifth, following a 35-6 win against Askeans.



Old Boys Re-union saturday 29th October / Hitler and Kent's Last stand
posted: October 27 2011

 

For those of you turning up this Saturday for the Old Boys Reunion, and all are welcome (1.30pm buffet prior to the Park House game) you are advised to check out this link before you do to avoid any unnecessary shock:


Around the Grounds (22 Oct)
posted: October 23 2011

National 1:  The ‘Club’ made it six on the bounce as they continued their winning streak with a 35-18 win at home to Barking; a result that moves them up to fourth place and very much in contention behind leaders Ealing.

National 2(S):  After last week’s heavy defeat at the hands of Hartpury, a visit by unbeaten league leaders Richmond was probably not high on Combe’s wish list, but the outcome wasn’t probably what was expected given last week’s result and their respective league positions.  Richmond didn’t have it all their own way and were made to work hard for the 25-31 win, with Combe deserving of the losing bonus point.

National 3(SE):  The big game here was the battle of the top two, with Canterbury putting a real dent in Dorking’s hopes as they  were 10-16 winners in the battle of what were the top two at the start of the day.  TJ’s took full advantage of Dorking’s loss as they ran in 57 points at Bracknell, eventually running out victors by 13-57 and moving into second place in the division.  With both Tring & Ampthill winning, Gravesend stay in sixth spot after a 24-18 win against struggling Luton.

London 1(S):  Relatively comfortable wins for the top three with Chichester 41-18 winners at Hove, whilst Sidcup beat Cobham 32-22 and Basingstoke overcoming S&E 20-39.  Elthamians remain hard on their heels as they were made to work for their 13-19 win at east Kent side Thanet to stay in fourth spot.  There is now a five point gap to fifth placed Guernsey, as they lost 36-22 at strugglers Portsmouth, Beckenham slip a place after a heavy 22-55 defeat at home to Haywards Heath; whilst Dover move up to sixth place after their 27-15 win against visitors, Trojans.  With a third of the season now played, it very much looks like the promotion battle is between the top four sides, whilst at the bottom of the table S&E and Trojans look to be in early relegation trouble.

London 1(N):  Colfes failed to trouble the scorers and slip to tenth after they lost out 23-0 to north Norfolk side Diss.

London 2(SE):  The battle of the top two saw Warlingham no match for top side East Grinstead as the self-titled ‘G-Force’ were comfortable 29-0 winners and go seven points clear at the top of the table.  Charlton Park move into second spot after a 28-53 victory at Knole Paddock against a Sevenoaks side that appears to be struggling.  Brighton move up to third as they ran out convincing 17-54 winners at OMW; whilst Lewes drop a place as they lost out narrowly at Aylesford (25-22).  Dunstonians all drop a place to sixth, despite edging a tight battle at D&B (14-15), Tunbridge Wells did themselves some good as they also came out on top (5-7) in another tight contest at Heathfield & W.

London 3(SE):  The top of the table clash between Crowborough and Sussex rivals Uckfield was the key fixture here, with Crowborough coming out on top 18-39 to stay at the head of the division on points difference from Folkestone, who ran in 52 points at Eastbourne (17-52).  Medway take over third spot after a 5-34 win at bottom club Crawley, with Horsham now in fourth after a 27-22 win against Bromley, Sheppey slip to fifth despite a 17-5 win against an inconsistent Maidstone side.  Ashford continue looking for their first win of the season as they lost out 15-8 on their travels to Park Hse.

Kent 1:  No change at the top as Anchorians cruised to a 79-10 win against bottom club Beccehamians, with Vigo still in second spot following their 15-10 win against Shooters hill, who drop to fifth place, Dartfordians 19-34 win at NAG keeps them in third place with Sittingbourne now fourth after their 20-5 win against Hastings & B.  At the other end of the division Cranbrook went down 22-27 at home to Guys Hospital, whilst Whistable just edged HSBC by a point 30-29; mid-table club OGs had no fixture. 

Kent 2:  Both of the top two were comfortable winners, as leaders Southwark ran in 59 points for only 3 in response at home to Erith; Kings Coll were 32-7 winners against Orpington.  Brockleians remain third despite losing 30-32 to visitors Lordswood.  The match between fourth and fifth went the way of the lower side as Footscray edged O Wills 18-20, although the result doesn’t change their positions in the table.  Askeans move up to seventh following a 28-17 win against Bexley

RFU Junior Vase News:  At the time of publication of the RFU Competitions Round 2 draw (19 Oct), Brockleians, along with several other clubs were waiting confirmation of their fixture along with eleven other clubs due to match card related issues.  The full draw has now been confirmed and they will host Old Whitgiftians, who currently sit in the bottom half of Surrey 1 in the next round.



RFU Knockout Competitions Round 2 Draw
posted: October 19 2011

Following the Round 1 fixtures played on 15th October the Round 2 draws for matches to be played on Saturday 5thNovember have now been conducted for the RFU competitions; due to there being only one fixture in the first round of the Intermediate Cup the draw was already known and is supplemented by the draws for the Senior & Junior Vase competitions.

In the Intermediate Cup Aylesford host a Gosport & Fareham side that currently sit at the top of L2(SW), whilst Sevenoaks travel to O Reigatians who sit fourth in the same division.  Deal & Betteshanger also have L2(SW) opposition as they visit third placed Wimbledon.  The remaining fixture for Kent sides sees Charlton Park take on fellow L2(SE) club Tunbridge Wells.

The Senior Vase Folkestone were the only side to get an away fixture as they travel to O Alleynians who currently sit fourth in L3SW, whilst Sheppey entertain KCS Old Boys who lie second in the same division and who had a bye in the first round.  The draw gives Maidstone the chance to look at Uckfield before their December league fixture when they travel to The Mote for their Round 2 match.

The county’s sole survivor in the Junior Vase is Brockleians are still waiting to find out their opponents as match card and related issues are sorted out, leaving six of the Round 2 fixtures yet to be confirmed.

The draw affecting Kent clubs and the full draw for the Senior Vase is below

RFU Intermediate Cup:

Aylesford v Gosport & Fareham

Charlton Park v Tunbridge Wells

Old Reigatians v Sevenoaks

Wimbledon v Deal & Betteshanger

RFU Senior Vase:

East London v Stowmarket

Finchley v Newmarket

Harlow v Cheshunt

Horsham v Winchester

Maidstone v Uckfield

Norwich v Barnet Elizabethans

O Alleynian v Folkestone

Sheppey v KCS Old Boys



Around the Grounds(Update)
posted: October 19 2011

In all the confusion of League, Cup and Kent Cup fixtures, it slipped my mind that because Kent 1 has 13 clubs, it means that they have additional league weekends, and the last weekend was one of them.  So this is a belated update to the Around the Grounds entry from 16thOct.

Kent 1:  Leaders Anchorians stay in pole position after a 20-30 win away at Hastings & Bexhill;  Vigo stay hot on their heels as they ran in 59 points for only 10 in reply against bottom club Beccehamians.  Dartfordians also stay in the mix in third as the top three look to create some clear water between themselves and the nearest rival, but Darts were made to work hard for their 20-17 win against visitors Cranbrook, who seem to have recaptured a bit of form lately.  In mid table, fourth placed Shooters went down 17-33 to visitors OGs, whilst Sittingbourne also won on the road as they beat HSBC 32-36.  Guys had a resounding 52-12 win against Whitstable and NAG had the week off.  With round 7 now complete there are an obvious three front runners in the division, whilst at the foot of the table Whitstable and NAG look to be in trouble and will need positive results soon to prevent the gap to the rest becoming too big to bridge.



Club signs on with easyfundraising.org
posted: October 17 2011

Do you shop online?  If so why not do it via easyfundraising.org.uk the process couldn’t be simplerFirstly,register for free and indicate which cause you want to support (Maidstone Rugby Club).  When you've registered, you're ready to shop and raise money! Simply click on the retailer you want, then shop as you would normally. When you make a purchase you will receive an email telling you how much you've raised and pass the donation to your cause. 

There is no catch, you won’t receive junk mail and you still get the offers and discounts the retailers offer publically.  It just means that whilst purchasing something that you want to get anyway you are raising funds for the club at the same time.  Given the number of players we have, and with the club having access to over 1000 adults if we include extended families and with the Xmas period coming up there are plenty of opportunities to help the club and purchase through this method rather than direct.

Your shopping will not cost any more: donations vary between retailers but an average donation is 5% of your spend. Some insurance and mobile retailers pay a substantial one-off donation of up to £50 and the club receives the entire donation.

For more information go to:  www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/maidstonerugby



The Last Stand - Going, Going, Gone.
posted: October 17 2011

Since their visit to The Mote during preseason, our visitors for this last Sunday’s Kent Cup fixture, Sevenoaks will have noticed a significant change in the landscape.  The stand that for many years stood at the halfway line on the south side of the pitch has now disappeared. In fact, preparatory work had started on the morning of their last visit and was completed just after the visit of Tunbridge Wells the following weekend.

Back in January 2003 the stand was rather damningly cited by the KM as the only spectator viewing facility in the borough, as part of a report on the lack of support for sport in general within the county town, in fact it compared facilities across all sports in the borough to that of an ‘Albanian hick town’.  Just over eight years on and what was  the boroughs sole spectator stand has now finally gone; following several renovations to repair damage caused through vandalism it was finally decided that the facility was a ‘money pit’ that the club could no longer economically sustain.

Under the stewardship of club President, Bob Beney the club had been exploring a number of options, including renovation; but given the current state of the structure and the nature of some of the construction materials, it was not economically viable to repair, particularly to the detriment of providing the club’s primary sports commitments.  As a consequence the decision was taken to demolish the structure and dispose of the materials through a professional contractor (Green Feel Solutions) and all that now remains is the concrete and brick footprint where it previously stood.

Whether a replacement structure will replace the stand in the longer term is yet to be decided, and will be a consideration in respect of the longer term plans for the development of the facilities at The Mote.

As an aside, and as we approach the time of year for inclement weather, Kevin Bailey has a stock of Maidstone Rugby umbrellas



Kent Cup Update
posted: October 16 2011

Shepherd Neame Kent Cup (Rd 2)

Thanks to byes in the RFU competitions, two of the eight Round 2 fixtures were completed this weekend.  Aylesford got back to winning ways after three consecutive league defeats, with a resounding 44-7 win against Tunbridge Wells on Saturday.  The Sunday saw Maidstone host old rival Sevenoaks at The Mote, and four first half tries were enough as they ran out 38-21 winners to progress to the next round.  The outstanding Round 2 fixtures still to be played by the 6thNov are Canterbury v TJs, Dunstonians v Bromley, Sidcup v Gravesend, Sheppey v O Colfeians, Blackheath v O Elthamians and Westcombe Pk v Deal & Betteshanger.



Around the Grounds (16 Oct)
posted: October 16 2011

A mix of competitions this week as for clubs at Level 6 and above the league programme continues, whilst for Level 7 down the RFU competitions start for those clubs that have entered.  Plus of course there are some Kent Cup fixtures (See Kent Cup News) that those clubs that had byes in the RFU competitions were able to schedule.

National 1:  Blackheath finally overcame their Crow Trees hoodoo against Blaydon; as they registered their first ever win there in a closely matched contest; Blackheath started brightly enough but it was the home side that had the better of the first half and scoring three tries to hold a 17-11 lead at the interval.  A penalty early in the second half was all Blaydon then registered as Blackheath took control through their forwards, and two converted tries gave them a 20-25 win that moves them to sixth in the division and back into contention with the chasing pack behind leaders Ealing. 

National 2(S):  Combe were never really a match for fifth placed Hartpury College as they collapsed to a 50-10 defeat that sees them back at the foot of the table following a narrow win for Dings against Launceston and also Barnes over Clifton.

 National 3(SE):  It is unlikely that you would be able to script a weekend like this in a random league draw system; but all the top six were in action against each other, with first v fifth, second v sixth and third v fourth.  From a county perspective the key fixture was leaders Canterbury in action against Gravesend, with the city club convincing 40-5 winners to move clear at the top of the table.  Dorking stay second despite their 30-23 loss to sixth club Ampthill, and TJs remain in third after a convincing 58-12 win at The Slade over fourth club Tring who were one of the division’s form sides at the start of the weekend.  Ampthill’s win means they move up to fifth at the expense of Gravesend who drop to sixth place, although there is now a clear gap from third to fourth place in the division.

London 1(S):  In the battle of the top two, it was the league leaders Chichester who narrowly came out in top with a 6-10 win at Basingstoke, which drops the Hampshire side to third to the benefit  of Sidcup who scraped a narrow 27-31 win at bottom side S&E.  Elthamians remain fourth after a solid 37-10 win at home to Portsmouth, with Guernsey fifth after their convincing 37-7 result against Beckenham; it seems away fixtures in the Channel Islands remain a tough proposition. Dover drop to ninth following a 22-8 defeat at Hove who  now occupy seventh spot.  The bottom sides all remain in bother, with Cobham going down 49-12 at Haywards Heath, whilst Trojans lost 17-27 to visitors Thanet, who move up two places to eighth

London 1(N):  Colfes drop a place to eighth in the division after they went down heavily at home to second club Bury St Edmunds (20-52).

RFU Intermediate Cup (Rd 1): With all the county’s sides except Charlton Pk having byes, it was a quiet day in the RFU Intermediate Cup for the Kent sides; in the end it became even quieter with L3SW side Camberley withdrawing to give Charlton Pk the walkover.  (Byes: Aylesford, T Wells, Sevenoaks and D&B)

RFU Senior Vase (Rd 1): Mixed fortunes for the county’s sides in the Senior Vase, as Ashford, who had a good run in the Junior Vase last season, fell at the first hurdle this time round, losing out 22-26 to visitors Winchester.  Medway also had a good run last time round but went down 49-31 at O Alleynians.  Andover withdrew giving Folkestone a walkover, whilst in the all Kent match up, Sheppey beat Bromley 23-14. Last season’s Junior Vase winners HAC fell to Sussex side Horsham, whilst Maidstone had a bye in the first round.

RFU Junior Vase (Rd 1):  Not a good day for the county sides in this competition, with only Brockleians progressing following a solid 31-7victory over O Caterhamians; elsewhere Bexley fell 19-25 to Surrey 2 side O Rutlishians, with Askeans losing out 13-3 at Raynes Pk.  O Wills suffered a heavy 57-3 defeat at the hands of Chipstead whilst both Kings Coll and Orpington conceded, giving HWOs to O Cranleighians and Worth OB respectively.  All of which means that Brockleians are the county’s sole representatives in Rd 2.

Addendum (17 Oct): Apologies to Southwark Lancers, in the initial review of the weekends results, i had neglected to include their Junior Vase fixture against Mitcham, unfortunately  they suffered their first loss of the season as they went down 22-10 to the Surrey 3 side.



Club signs up for Peel2Save
posted: October 16 2011

Maidstone Rugby has joined forces with the Maidstone Peel2Save fundraising card.  Peel2Save is a brilliant way for Charities, Schools, Churches, Sports Clubs, youth groups and other non-profit organisations to raise much needed funds.

The Peel2save cards are credit-card sized - so they fit neatly into a purse or wallet. They contain 64 individual peel off coupons each one promoting a great local business.  In total the card offers over £300 of savings - and all the offers are available locally.  The cards cost £10 and the club retains £5 from every card sold, they cards offer great value and all the businesses featured are in Maidstone.

There is an example card held at the bar, and offers include promotions at a number of Maidstone restaurants and bars (Pizza Hut, Frankie & Bennies, Buenos Aires, Mexxa Mexxa, Zizzi, La Tasca, The Barge plus others)

The club wins, you win and local businesses benefit too.

It's a community initiative, where everybody gains.

Forms to apply for your Peel2Save card are available in the bar and will also be circulated to age group coaches.

To find out more about peel2Save in your area click here:  www.peel2save.co.uk



Around the Grounds (09 Oct)
posted: October 09 2011

National 1: Blackheath were expecting Sedgley Pk to be their toughest opposition so far this season, and although they dominated possession and territory in the first half, they only had a 4-point advantage at the interval.  Despite going behind early in the second half, three quick tries gave them the breathing space they needed to run out 41-34 winners as Sedgley Pk applied all the pressure in the closing stages.

National 2(S):  Westcombe Pk faced a Lydney side that is undefeated away from home, and so it remains, but Combe will be wondering how they let a 26-3 half-time lead slip, to go down 26-29.

National 3(SE): With a long injury list not helping their cause, Gravesend remain fifth in the table despite conceding five tries in a heavy 10-37 home defeat to Ampthill; TJs travelled to Staines, who had given Dorking a good run for their money last week, and despite conceding an early score, they then ran riot, running in 53 unanswered points to move to third in the table. Canterbury stay top of the division after their 21-48 win at Westcliff whilst Dorking keep up the pressure, after they won 43-10 at home to bottom club Havant

London 1(S):  Elthamians drop to fourth as they went down to a 44-33 defeat at the hands of Beckenham, who stay in sixth spot but the win moves them above and clear of Dover who lost out 20-28 to second placed Basingstoke.  Sidcup move up to third after a 35-18 win against Haywards Heath, where they ran in two tries during stoppage time to deny Heath a losing bonus point, whilst Chichester remains top following a 38-7 win against bottom club S&E.  Thanet move up two places to tenth following a narrow 17-15 win against Hove, whilst Guernsey jump from eighth to fifth spot after a 25-33 win at Cobham.  Perhaps the surprise result of the day was high scoring match that saw Trojans win 23-51 at Portsmouth.

London 1(N): Colfes look set for a solid mid table season after they moved up to seventh  following a 31-36 win at Braintree.

London 2(SE):  Sevenoaks inflicted a heavy defeat on East Grinstead last November but the G-Force took their revenge on Saturday as they ran out convincing  53-15 winners, scoring four tries in each half to stay 5-points clear at the top of the table. Lewes slip to fourth after they went down 10-14 to Sussex rivals Heathfield & Waldron, whilst fourth placed Charlton Park move up a notch to third as they won 8-17 at Brighton.   Warlingham hosted D&B and were 29-15 winners to move into second spot.  Aylesford slipped to their third consecutive defeat at Dunstonians (18-12) and slip a place to seventh, whilst Tunbridge Wells move off the bottom of the table following their 22-10 win at OMW, a result that drops the Surrey side to the foot of the table.

London 3(SE):  The two front runners both won as Crowborough ran in 94 unanswered points at home to Eastbourne, whilst given their oppositions previous results it may appear that Folkestone made heavy weather of Crawley, but with the Sussex side able to field a full strength side for the first time this season, they appeared much more competitive in their 40-14 defeat.  Uckfield remain third as they ground out 6-12 win away at Bromley whilst Horsham swap places with Sheppey as they went down narrowly (19-22) in the battle between the two sides.  Medway move into the top half of the table following a 45-8 win at home to Park Hse, whilst Maidstone were unable to convert pressure into points as they drew 20-20 away at Ashford.

Kent 1:  With one side having no fixture each week, it was Shooters who sat out this week and slip to fourth as a consequence; with Anchorians staying at the head of the division after a 27-3 victory at home to HSBC.  Vigo move into second spot after a narrow 13-10 win over Hastings, with Dartfordians  hot on their heels following their 14-24 win at Whitstable.  In mid table OGs were 29-20 victors over Beccehamians, whilst Sittingbourne were just too strong for Guys Hosp as they ran out 21-16 winners.  Cranbrook move up two places following their 30-8 win at NAG.

Kent 2:  After three matches, only Southwark Lancers and Kings College remain undefeated, with Lancers now clear leaders at the head of the division following a 12-38 win at Lordswood.  Kings Coll had a very tight contest narrowly coming out on top in a 6-3 score line against O Wills to stay in second spot.  Brockleians move above O Wills to third following their 26-8 win at Bexley, whilst Footscray remain in fifth spot, despite going down 11-7 at Erith. Orpington move off the bottom of the table after a 16-12 win against Askeans who drop to the foot of the division.

Note:  To Patrick & Tunde at Southwark Lancers, you can ‘cut and paste’ whatever you want.



Keeping it in the Family
posted: October 09 2011

Saturday’s 4th XV league fixture against Tunbridge Wells ended up being a bit of a family affair with a number of the Veterans XV stepping up to help out skipper Richard Ewence.  As a result the match saw Adrian Clark able to take the field alongside sons Scott and Alex.  Additionally, with work commitments meaning he was available for the second half, Sam Weston was also able to run out alongside dad and Veterans XV skipper Richard.

 Just another couple of a number of father and son combinations across the club.

 

Photos:

Top: Adrian Clark (centre) with sons Alex(L) and Scott (R).

Middle: The Clark family as the 4th XV backdivision.

Bottom: Richard Weston (R) and son Sam (L) playing for the 4th XV.



Veterans Players at the RWC in New Zealand
posted: October 06 2011

Whilst most of us have been enjoying the RWC on TV at the club and a variety of other venues, two of the club’s Veterans XV have been enjoying it from a much closer vantage point.  Tony O’Mahony and Dave Hughes (and their respective ‘better halves’) have been in New Zealand watching the action first hand, including England’s narrow victory over Scotland.

Whilst they were over there they took the time to catch up with one of Maidstone Rugby’s ‘not so old boys’ in Piers Francis.  Piers was a member of Dave’s very successful youth age group who is now playing his rugby for the Marist club in New Zealand as well as being part of the Auckland team that competes in the provincial ITM Cup.

One other Veteran player is also in New Zealand for the RWC, although Hone Tucker is actually a Kiwi, so it really only counts as a trip home!!!

 Photo:  Dave Hughes (L) and Tony O (R) pictured with former Maidstone player Piers Francis



Around the Grounds (02 Oct)
posted: October 02 2011

National 1: Tight matches seem to be the order of the day for Blackheath as they made it three wins in a row on their trip to Stourbridge, where by all accounts it was their front row that took the plaudits in the 20-25 win that moves them to seventh in the table.

National 2(S):  After last week’s confidence boosting win against Dings, Combe faced a stiff proposition this week as they travelled to Henley to take on the second placed club.  They went down heavily in 50-20 defeat, suffering an eight try blitz from a Hawks side that has now put together six wins in a row.

National 3(SE): Two yellows and a red card didn’t help TJs cause as they beat Bishop Stortford 20-35, whilst Canterbury had a field day in the hot conditions as they racked up 44 unanswered first half points against L Irish and eventually cantered to a 54-7 win and are now top of the table; with Dorking losing out on a bonus point having had to come from behind to beat Staines 29-17. Gravesend put in a solid performance at basement side Havant to run out 12-33 winners.  The weekend’s results see the county’s sides now occupying three of the top five places in the division.

London 1(S):  Chichester remain top after a narrow 23-19 win over third placed Sidcup, a result that drops ‘Cup’ a place to fourth.  Third spot is now taken by Elthamians, following their 41-12 win over Cobham, with Basingstoke still in second spot after they thrashed Thanet 59-25.  Guernsey remain in fifth spot as they beat visitors Haywards Heath 17-13, whilst Dover maintained their challenge with a 17-24 win at bottom club S&E.  On the south coast Hove got the better of Portsmouth 42-24 whilst Trojans fell to defeat at the hands of Beckenham, who now seem to have got their season going and sit in seventh spot.

London 1(N): Colfes remain in ninth place in the table after a solid but close fought home win against a Brentwood side that were in third place at the start of the day, but drop four places as a result of this reversal.

London 2(SE): The battle between fourth and fifth went the way of the lower side as Warlingham ran out comprehensive 29-10 winners on the road at the Jack Williams ground, a result that sees Aylesford slide to sixth.  Top side East Grinstead were 19-34 winners at D&B whilst third placed Lewes move up a spot after their 25-53 win at OMW.  Brighton slip to fifth after going down 40-35 at Sevenoaks in what looks to have been a free scoring match for both sides.  Charlton Pk kept up their challenge with a 30-18 win at bottom cub Tunbridge Wells whilst Heathfield & W lost out narrowly 20-22 at home to Dunstonians.

London 3(SE):  Top side Horsham lost out 13-10 in the Sussex derby with Uckfield and slip to fourth whilst Crowborough and Folkestone both won convincingly against Crawley (7-66) and Park Hse (6-48) respectively to go first and second. Maidstone finally got their show on the road with a narrow 27-25 bonus point win at home to Medway.  Bromley won on the road 10-26 at Eastbourne, whilst Ashford lost out 27-26 for the second week running as they went down to their fourth defeat at Sheppey.

Kent 1:  The top two remain unchanged as leaders Anchorians  ran out convincing 35-5 winners at Guys Hospital, whilst Shooters despatched bottom side Beccs 17-37.  Third placed Vigo keep up the pressure as they beat HSBC 6-22 with Dartfordians staying fourth on points difference following their 31-19 win at home to Sittingbourne.  Hastings & Bexhill came out on top against OGs by 29-19, and in the bottom of the table battle NAG just lost out by the odd point 20-21 at home to Whitstable; Cranbrook had no fixture this week.

Kent 2:  The early front runners in the division Southwark Lancers and Brockleians, who both had convincing wins, with the Lancers beating Bexley 42-20 and Brockleians overcoming Orpington 42-21, leaving Orpington on the basis of last season’s performances in unfamiliar territory at the foot of the table. Apart from Lancers; O Wills and Kings Coll are the only other undefeated sides and they remain second and third following a 62-5 thrashing of Erith  by O Wills and a 12-20 win for Kings Coll at Askeans;  Footscray also put in a good performance to rout Lordswood 64-14.



Club Entertains Sponsors
posted: October 01 2011

In glorious sunshine the club entertained a number of its sponsors at the league fixture against Medway.  Amongst those attending were Michael Carter-Jones and his wife Jo from the club’s primary sponsors Brachers LLP as well as Operations Manager Michael Alsop and Nicola from David Lloyd Fitness and Alan Parnell from L&G Forest Products.  A party from the club’s official kit suppliers, Samurai Sportswear which included Mark Thompson and Avril Stafford also spent the day with the club, starting with the RWC Breakfast in the morning.

  

Photos:

Top. President Bob Beney, 1stXV Capt Jim Walker and Michael Carter-Jones from Brachers LLP

Middle: Club Captain Matt Plowman with Michael and Nicola Alsop from David Lloyd Fitness

Bottom:  President Bob Beney & Chairman Andy Golding with Alan Parnell from L&G Forest Products



Around the Grounds (25 Sep)
posted: September 25 2011

National 1: Close results seem to be the order of the day for Blackheath, as they made it two wins on the trot when through forward dominance they ground out yet another close contest, this time against Wharfedale who were two places below them at the start of the day. The 27-24 win sees the ’Club’ now move up to 10thin the table.

 

National 2(S): A home win against Dings moves Combe back into the black in points terms, and also moves them off the bottom of the table, and they will take confidence from this 31-20 winning result.

 

National 3(SE): After the stern tests of the past two weekends, Canterbury’s trip to mid table Bracknell could probably have been looked upon as something of a respite and the 14-33 scoreline in favour of the visitors keeps the city club unbeaten at the top end of the division. Meanwhile the county’s other clubs faced stern tests as Gravesend travelled to second placed Dorking and TJs took on CS Rugby 1863.  G’s came unstuck in dramatic style where 46 unanswered first half points did the damage, as the visitors ran out convincing 28-70 winners to take over at the top of the table on points difference.  TJs hosted Rugby  and had to come from behind to overtake the visitors, although Rugby didn’t give up without a fight as they pulled the scores back to  level pegging before TJs eventually stretched away to win 39 -20 and leapfrog their opposition to take fourth place in the table.

 

London 1(S):  Dover were the only one of the county’s sides to end up on the losing side in this division, as they went down 10-34 to visiting league leaders Chichester.  A second win for Beckenham moves them into mid table, as they overcame Hove 24-18; Elthamians keep up their challenge following a good 23-33 result away at Haywards Heath; whilst Sidcup came out on top by a one point margin for the third consecutive week as they downed Guernsey 22-21.  Thanet beat S&E 28-27 in a close contest to restore some confidence after last week’s mauling by Chichester. In the remaining matches Cobham lost to Trojans who record their first win and move off the foot of the table; whilst Portsmouth went down heavily, 3-28 to Basingstoke.

After four fixtures the table is now beginning to take shape (although it is early days) with the obvious front runners being Chichester, closely followed by Basingstoke and Sidcup, with Elthamians very close behind.

 

London 1(N): after posting their first win last week, Colfes travelled to bottom club Ruislip looking to continue the momentum but lost out narrowly to the hosts 38-36.

 

London 2(SE): Thebig fixture in the division was between the top two sides; last season’s losing play off side Aylesford who were hosted by an East Grinstead side whose promotion challenge last term was effectively ended by a points deduction.  Anyway it was the self-titled G-Force that came out on top with a bonus point win that puts an early dent in Aylesford’s title hopes, and are the clear front runners in the table, Aylesford drop to fourth place.  The battle between third and fourth at the start of the day went the way of the fourth placed club, as Lewes beat Charlton Pk 25-18, they move up one place behind Brighton who narrowly defeated Tunbridge Wells 27-29 to leave Wells at the foot of the table.  In an all Kent fixture D&B hosted Sevenoaks and ran out convincing 24-12 winners.  Elsewhere, Dunstonians beat OMW 24-20 and Warlingham beat Heathfield & W to move into fifth place in the division.

 

London 3(SE):  A real mixed bag of results in this division with three clubs now on 14 points at the top of the table.  Last season’s strugglers Horsham beat Eastbourne 29-12 to take top spot in the table, whilst Crowborough hammered Park Hse 64-0 to go second.  Also with them are Folkestone who beat Maidstone 39-17, where a ten minute spell before half time did the damage.  Perhaps the unexpected result was Uckfield’s home defeat as they went down 10-15 at home to Sheppey; Medway beat Ashford in a tight 1-point battle by 27-26.  Finally, Crawley registered their first onfield points of the season but still suffered a 91-11 mauling at the hands of Bromley.

 

Kent 1: The battle at the top of Kent 1 looks like being a tight battle as leaders at the start of proceedings Dartfordians, handed over the top spot to their victors on the day, as they lost out 36-20 to Anchorians.  Shooters Hill remain in the mix as they beat Hastings 39-20 to move into second, with Vigo third after their 24-6 win against Guys Hosp.  OGs beat HSBC 20-23, whilst both NAG and Cranbrook lost out heavily against Sittingbourne (31-3) and Whitstable (36-5) respectively.  Bottom side Beccehamians had no fixture this week.

 

Kent 2:  The battle between two of last season’s promotion challengers, and probably harbouring realistic hopes again this term was prossibly the most attractive fixture in the division; as Orpington hosted Southwark Lancers with the visitors getting off to that all important winning start 20-36.  The other top half side from last season, Kings Coll also posted a win, but in a much closer affair as they beat visitors Brockleians 12-7.  Bexley posted a good 26-12 win over Footscray, whilst Lordswood beat last season’s bottom side Erith 24-19. Askeans lost out narrowly in a tight battle against O Wills 14-15



Biddenden Vineyards Man of the Match
posted: September 25 2011

A tight decision for MoM this week with all three of the back row in contention, but after a better week throwing in, some good ball carrying and also taking 'one against the head' this weeke Biddenden Vineyards Man of the Match was awarded to Sam Bailey.  This week's award was presented by club Chairman, Andy Golding.

 

Note: A small technical problem is delaying things but  all being well we should have a dedicated MoM window on the homepage for future awards.



Around the Grounds (18 Sep)
posted: September 18 2011

National 1: The final whistle meant that one of Blackheath or Cinderford had posted their first win of the season, and whilst it was another close match played in difficult and greasy conditions, this time it was Blackheath who held their nerve at the death and snatched the victory with a penalty from the last kick of the match to win 18-21.

National 2 (S): Westcombe Pk travelled to Cornwall to take on Launceston,  the ‘Cornish All Blacks’ and as with Blackheath’s match this fixture was a tussle between two sides with similar records and still looking to post their first win, although a resounding 48-7 win for the Cornish side doesn’t give that impression and leaves Combe anchored to the bottom of the table.

National 3 (SE): Notwithstanding last week’s local derby against TJs, this weekend’s fixture at home to Tring was likely to be the city club’s sternest test so far this season; and so it proved for the first half at least.  Trailing 5-10 at the interval, in the end Canterbury had too much for the visitors, scoring 33 unanswered points in the second period as they ran out convincing 38-10 winners to stay at the top of the table.   TJ’s journey to Luton also proved fruitful with the home side yet to register a point this season as the visitors ran out 7-42 winners to get their campaign back on track. Despite a growing injury list, Gravesend ground out a very much forward based 19-7 win against  a Staines side one place below them in the early season table and move up to fourth in the division.

London 1 (S): The match that caught the eye before kickoff was the battle between the promoted champions from last season, as Elthamians hosted Channel Islands side  Guernsey that look as if they will post a serious promotion challenge.  Although Elthamians also have aspirations of their own despite last week’s 1-point loss to Sidcup and took a hard fought contest 28-24.  The only all Kent match up was between Dover and Sidcup, the last time they met was on the last day of the 09-10 season, with the prize for the winners being a play-off spot; Dover took the honours that day.  For the second week running both sides found themselves in a result with a one point margin with Sidcup coming out on the winning side of the 24-25 score line and remain unbeaten.     Elsewhere, Beckenham lost away at Basingstoke 23-6 and find themselves in unfamiliar territory at the bottom end of the table.  Table toppers and early season promotion favourites Chichester hammered Thanet 76-8, whilst Hove lost 26-35 to visitors Cobham. Portsmouth won 10-33 on the road at S&E whilst last season’s L3(S) play-off winners Trojans are finding life tough in this division as they went down 8-27 at home to Haywards Heath.

London 1(N): Colfes finally posted their first win of the season as they beat an Eton Manor side that were also looking for their first win 20-18.

London 2 (SE): A couple of all Kent matches here with Sevenoaks hosting Tunbridge Wells the more attractive of the fixtures as both needed to post a win after losses on the first day of the season.  Home advantage told as Oaks ran out 21-11 winners to leave Wells second from bottom in the table.  Elsewhere Aylesford hosted D&B and as expected had too much for the visitors, running out 39-17 winners, although it wasn’t until stoppage time that they secured the bonus point.    The all Sussex matchup between Brighton and Lewes ended with honours even in an 8-8 draw, whilst in the other all Sussex fixture Heathfield & Waldron ran East Grinstead very close, just losing out 18-19.  Charlton Pk proved too strong for Dunstonains as they ran out 24-15 winners and are now third in the early season table behind Aylesford and East Grinstead as the only three sides to post two wins so far.  OMW lost out 13-16 to Warlingham in what was a close contest.

London 3 (SE):  Maidstone hosted Sussex side Crowborough and seem unable to recover their preseason form as they went down 3-12 to the visitors.   Medway’s trip to Sheppey was perhaps the most attractive fixture and has usually produced a combative encounter over the years; this was no different with Medway taking the honours in fine style 0-21.  Next door neighbours, Park House and Bromley produced a match that saw home side Park House hold the local bragging rights with a 30-10 win.  Folkestone apparently travelled to Ashford with a long list of injuries with coach and former Wasps player Darren Molloy forced to name himself in the matchday squad, it obviously worked as they ran out 17-21 winners.  Crawley have yet to score an on-pitch point as they were on the receiving end of another drubbing, going down 0-50 at home to Horsham and have now shipped 120 points in their opening two fixtures.  Uckfield top the division after a 3-28 bonus point win at Eastbourne.

Kent 1: The key match here was the battle of the early pace setters in the division, as Vigo travelled to Dartfordians, the home side had just enough as they scored a try in the last minute to snatch a 20-19 win to stay at the head of the division; Anchorians  13-18 win at NAG means they leapfrog Vigo into second place.  Cranbrook posted a confidence boosting 30-18 win over Sittingbourne, and wins for OGs (15-19) and Hastings & Bexhill (21-13) over Guys and Beccs respectively put them both in the top half of the table after three weekends.  Shooters Hill’s 9-22 win at HSBC sees them move into fourth place.

Next weekend sees the start of the campaign for the Kent 2 clubs, as well as the beginning of this season’s restructured Invicta county junior leagues.  Whilst as last season this blog will cover Kent 2s results, it will not cover any of the junior leagues (the author is not that masochistic and allegedly does also have some form of life outside rugby), for that you will need to monitor the Kent RFU website, although at the time of publishing this blog the tables below Invicta 3 are yet to reflect the restructuring and fixtures for this season.



Biddenden Vineyards Man of the Match
posted: September 18 2011

Despite a dissapppointing result, this weeks man of the Match award was presented to Jack Lamb who always gives 100% and was unlucky to be held up when crossing the opposition to score.  This weeks award was presented by former club President, Geoff Burr.

 

Note:  The webmaster is now back from holday and we should have a dedicated MoM window on the homepage for future awards.



Around the Grounds (11 Sep)
posted: September 11 2011

In what is to all intents and purposes the first weekend (proper) of the season with practically a full round of league fixtures; with the weekend throwing up a few interesting local derbies around the county.  Perhaps most notable was the Nat 3(SE) clash between TJs and Canterbury, but also the L1(S) clash between Elthamians and Sidcup and also in L2 (SE) between Aylesford and Sevenoaks, finally the L3 (SE) fixture between Folkestone and Medway.  All are matches that will provide early indicators on respective club’s prospects for the season.

National 1:  After three matches a winless Blackheath find themselves languishing at the wrong end of the table with yet another close defeat; this time  to Channel Island side Jersey who came from conceding a 10-point deficit as early as the fourth minute to take the victory.

National 2 (S): Combe just don’t seem to be having any luck as they fell to a home defeat to third placed Worthing, although it was  Combe who finished the stronger coming back from being 35-10 down after an hour to at least finish with a respectable 29-38 defeat and a four try bonus point, but not quite enough for the losing bonus.

National 3 (SE): With both TJs and Canterbury entering this match off the back of big results last week this fixture was always going to be looked on as a key encounter, even this early in the season and without county honour at stake.  TJs winning league run came to an end as they went down 10-32 at The Slade to the city club; by their own admission the home side lacked punch and drive and struggled to put any pattern on their play with Canterbury’s pack taking a firm grip on the match and scoring 4 of their 5 tries, TJ’s especially suffered when yellow cards reduced them to 14 and then 13 men for parts of the game.   With two convincing bonus point wins, Canterbury sit at the top of the table after the second week.   Following last weekend’s disappointing draw, Gravesend travelled to Essex to take on newly promoted Westcliff who had won L1(N) last season but had shipped over 40 points last week at Staines, and it was more of the same as Gravesend ran out convincing 43-8 winners in a what at times was a scrappy match, with Gs easing away in the final quarter; although the loss of their fullback early in the match to a serious leg injury may take some of the gloss of the result .

London 1 (N): Colfes find themselves at the wrong end of the table following a 44-24 defeat at the hands of newly promoted Hammersmith & Fulham.

London 1(S): Both the Kent derbies in this division were tight affairs with Sidcup  coming out on top in the 22-21 scoreline against Elthamians, whilst the East Kent derby recorded the same score with visiting side Dover having the advantage over Thanet.  Beckenham went some way to making amends for last week’s heavy loss at Chichester with a 28-3 win over Sutton & Epsom.  Elsewhere, pace setters Chichester narrowly overcame Portsmouth 33-38, whilst even at this early stage Guernsey look promotion candidates as they hammered Trojans 54-6.  Cobham were downed by Basingstoke 22-32 and Hove came out narrow 17-18 victors away at Haywards Heath.

London 2 (SE): The all Kent matchup between Aylesford and Sevenoaks went the way of the home side by 33-10, the first time in six seasons they have managed to open their league account with a win, Whilst elsewhere preseason promotion candidates East Grinstead posted a 46-16 win over OMW.  Deal & Betteshanger went down 20-27 to newly promoted Heathfield & Waldron, whilst Lewes beat Tunbridge Wells 23-7.  Dunstonians went down 3-25 at home to Brighton whilst newly promoted Charlton Pk were narrow 17-19 victors at Warlingham.

London 3 (SE):  The big result here was the 70-0 thrashing of Crawley by newly promoted Uckfield and doesn’t bode well for Crawley’s season, whilst Maidstone’s 18-7 loss away at Bromley was probably not the result that most would have expected.  Crowborough, who narrowly missed promotion last season beat Ashford 20-7, with fellow Sussex side Horsham also winning at home as they beat Park Hse 24-5.  Sheppey look to have put in a good performance as they beat Eastbourne 5-13 and the match between Folkestone and Medway has in recent seasons tended to be an entertaining affair, and  to quote the home sides match reporter, whilst this encounter “wasn’t a game full of classic rugby,  it certainly was a thriller” and the 34-33 scoreline in favour of the home side bears this out.

Kent 1: Wins for Vigo and Dartfordians leave them top of the table after Vigo convincingly beat near neighbours NAG 46-11 and Darts managing a narrow 22-24 result on the road at OGs.  Beccehamians and Whitstable remain without a point as they lost 12-21 and 13-3 to HSBC and Sittingbourne respectively. Shooters overturned last season’s fortunes as the the battle of the promoted sides saw them run out convincing winners 34-7 against Guys Hosp.  The fixture between Anchorians and Cranbrook doubles as an annual Memorial match and looks to have been a tight affair with Anchs coming out 8-0 winners.



Biddenden Vineyards Man of the Match Award
posted: September 10 2011

This season sees the implementation of an official weekly Man of the Match award which Biddenden Vineyards have agreed to sponsor for the duration of the current league and cup campaigns, with a bottle of the vineyards sparkling cider for each recipient.  Despite a somewhat flat team performance away at Bromley this week, the inaugural award was made by club President, Bob Beney to Mark Dorman for some of his trade mark penetrating runs in the back line.



IN MEMORIUM - DANIEL DUBUS 1949 - 2011
posted: September 08 2011

In 1975 Maidstone renewed an old liaison with the Iris rugby club of Lille. Since then the relationship has carried on almost seamlessly, with Schools and various club teams including the 1st XV, the 3rd XV and the Veterans either hosting Iris, or travelling to the cultural city of Lille to enjoy its rugby ambiance and non stop night life.

Those on the 1975 visit remember some of the weekend but everyone remembered the coach, chief song-leader and rabble rouser that was Daniel Dubus. He was nicknamed, until his untimely death this week, and remained "Mr Lille". in his heyday there wasn't a barman or disco bouncer that didn't know him and he had an uncanny knack of getting into any night club he wished because of his silver tongue and inate charm. In recent years as Iris became "Lille Metropole" - an initiative by the FFR to enrich the quality of rugby in northern France - he concentrated more on the University team and the regional Women's team achieving honours with both.

To list his escapades would take up more time and space than we have, but I'll recount one which he loved to recall with glee. One night in Maidstone after some serious imbibing he woke up at 6.00am, went down stairs and couldn't believe his eyes - he thought he was dreaming - because he was behind the bar of a pub and everything was still on tap and only an arm's length away! Luckily he was rescued(?) by the arrival of the landlord who suggested it was time for a glass of champagne. He rang me up and insisted I came to join him for "breakfast"!! How could I refuse?

Despite being a proud Frenchman he was gradually educated into the good things that this country can offer, Cambridge, beer, guinness and Bushmills all on the go at the same time, lock ins, Oxford where his daughter worked for several years, the Varsity match, as well as Lansdowne Road, Cardiff, Murrayfield and of course Twickenham.

On top of all this he was a passionate and talented coach whose quality was recognised when he was appointed as a Development Officer for the FFR and when invited to present on several RFU Divisional conferences - such was his fame he could walk around the West Car park on match day and bump into numerous coaches who had attended his presentations. His infectious enthusiasm meant he often travelled over in a small group, which changed every year but always with a designated driver. He persuaded them to attend the Tuesday afternoon, mid-December rugby spectacle that was the Varsity match. There is not a single Frenchman alive who can understand how the game attracted 50 thousand + spectators. The other thing that Daniel could never accept or understand as a sport was cricket!

This week a great man has been lost to the rugby community and his family. We will mourn him for a long time and this catalyst, who was hugely responsible for the bonding of two rugby clubs, will be long remembered as his friends gather now and in the future to drink to his memory.
 



Kent Cup News
posted: September 07 2011

Maidstone's Kent Cup round 2 fixture against Sevenoaks is now scheduled, and will take place on Sunday 16th October, KO 2:00pm.

Neither Sevenoaks or Maidstone have league or RFU Cup fixtures on Sat 15th Oct but both club's wished to maintain that tradition of the Kent Cup fixtures being played on Sundays.

Please note that there although the Mustangs XV & 3rd XV are playing away on Sat 15th, there are still three home fixtures at the club involving the 4th (v Gravesend 4), 5th (v Weavering) & Veterans (v Sevenoaks) XVs.



Around the Grounds (04 Sep 11)
posted: September 04 2011

National 1:  Blackheath’s losing start to the season continued as they again conceded a score in the closing stages to go down to 26-21 away loss at Ealing.  In what was a close contest, Blackheath seemed to have the ascendency in the forwards, but it was Ealing’s backs that did the damage, with former Blackheath player Sam Wardingley crossing at the death to consign his former club to defeat.

National2 (S):  To cap a bad week which saw Combe docked 5 points, they are still to register a win on the field as they went down 41-24 at Shelford.  Although with Combe posting four tries to Shelford’s five the margin could have been closer. Despite stating brightly it was Shelford who really always had the upper hand as they notched up their first win of the campaign plus the bonus point, and whilst two tries for Combe in the final ten minutes brought an air of respectability to the scoreline, Shelford still had enough to widen the winning margin at the close.

National 3 (SE):  Gravesend were tested by newly promoted L Irish, but despite their forward dominance it was some defensive frailties and predominantly a failure to turn possession into points that cost Gs the win with Irish capitalising on their opportunities to earn a share of the spoils, coming back from a 13-point deficit in a 30-30 draw.  TJs got off to a good start on the road and created what by some maybe termed a bit of an upset as they beat last season’s fourth placed Ampthill , despite the home side having the edge up front TJs posted 3 tries as they consigned the hosts to a 22-32 reverse.   City club Canterbury got off to a real flyer with a 50-8 thrashing of Bishop Stortford, who had finished in a solid mid table last term; according to the visitors match report Canterbury should have held a far more healthy lead than the 10-0 interval scoreline, but for some ‘woeful passing at times’, but six second half tries to add to the two in the first period saw them to a comfortable victory.  However,  even this wasn’t enough to put the city side top of the table, as Tring hammered Havant 10-64 to take top spot on the opening day.

London 1 (N):  Colfes went down 29 -18 away at Chingford, but the big winners in the division were Colchester who scored 43 points at Braintree to go top followed by Thurrock who posted 45 at Ruislip and Diss whose frugal defence only conceded 7 in reply to the 35 they scored.

London 1 (S):  Beckenham had an opening day to forget as they shipped 50 points for only 7 in reply on their travels to Chichester who had lost out in their challenge for promotion last season on the final day at TJs.  Despite their Kent Cup loss to Aylesfod last week Dover found some form to overcome Portsmouth 28-6, whilst Sidcup in their first outing back in London 1(S) had too much for Thanet as they ran out 17-35 winners against the east Kent side.  In the battle between two newly promoted sides Trojans went down 13-49 against a strong Elthamians outfit.  Elsewhere Hove went down 15-22 to last season’s L2(SW) champions Guernsey, whilst Basingstoke (26-7) got the better of Haywards Heath and Cobham just got the better of Sutton & Epsom (20-23) in the Surrey derby.  So at the end of matchday 1, Chichester sit at the head of the table followed by 3 Kent clubs who all posted bonus point wins.

  Kent 1:  There were differing fortunes for the two sides dropping down from London 3, as Cranbrook went down 17-22 at home to Vigo, whilst Dartfordians posted a 35-20 win against newly promoted Shooters Hill.  Guys Hospital also got away to a good start as they beat Beccehamians 29-3 and Sussex side Hastings & Bexhill showed their intent on their debut in Kent 1 with a 10-30 win at HSBC.  New Ash Green went down 10-17 to OGs and Anchorians registered a solid 26-6 win away at Whitstable. With 13 teams in the division, Sittingbourne’s league start is delayed until next week, so the early front runners are Guys, H&B, Dartfordians and Vigo who all posted bonus point wins.

Next week sees a full league fixture card with the exception of the Kent 2 clubs who don’t start their campaigns until the 24thSept.



Pre Season Fixtures v Tunbridge Wells
posted: September 04 2011

Despite some players being unavailable as they met the last of their holiday and family commitments before the season starts in earnest next week; Saturdays ‘double header’ for the 1st XV & Mustangs XV squads against their counterparts from Tunbridge Wells gave Head Coach Andy Foley a chance to look at the senior squad in much more of a traditional match format.  Like Maidstone, Wells are very much rebuilding after a disappointing season last year and arrived at The Mote on the back of a healthy 38-10 win over Beckenham in the Kent Cup.

The Mustangs XV started strongly and dominated the first quarter with Wells unable to clear their own 22m, but the home side were unable to convert pressure into points and it was Wells who opened the scoring when a lapse in concentration gave them the opportunity which the duly took to score under the posts. Wells then started to get into the game although never really threatening.  Following the interval the match was very much a midfield battle with Maidstone handling errors preventing them capitalising on good possession and a dominant scrum and it wasn’t until the closing stages of the match that they were finally able to put together several phases of play close to the Wells line and cross in the right corner; an excellent conversion saw the match tied at 7-7 when the final whistle brought proceedings to an end.

The ‘main event’ of this double header saw Wells start brightly and move the ball sharply along their back line to cross in the first 5 minutes for a 7-0 lead, the home side hit back shortly after with a well worked try after some good forward pressure and which saw the full back cut the line to cross under the posts to level the score with the conversion a formality  Following a period of midfield play it wasn’t until towards the end of the half that there was any further scoring, when following a good kick & chase Maidstone put the Wells line under pressure with the No8 able to pick and drive to cross for the score following a 5m scrum, a good response by Wells saw them cross to right of the posts and the interval saw the home side  with a 14-12 lead.  Maidstone started the second half brightly and exerted long periods of pressure on the visitor’s line but were unable to pierce a resolute and organised defence.  The final quarter saw more midfield play with the visitors taking advantage of some loose play to cross the home side’s line twice in the closing stages to take the match 14-22.

All in all, plenty for head coach Andy Foley and Mustangs coach Pete Barford to take from the day’s play, with far more positives than negatives, and with a number of players back on the availability roster for next week’s opening league fixture the coaching team will have a number of difficult decisions to make.  Next weekend sees the start of this season’s league campaign as the 1stXV travel to Bromley whilst the Mustangs continue their preseason build up as they entertain Medway 2s.



Kent Cup News
posted: August 30 2011

With all of the 1st Round matches completed over the last two weekends as part of most clubs’ preseason build up (see Around the Grounds); the updated draw for the 2nd Round is as follows:

 Canterbury v Tonbridge Juddians

 Old Dunstonians v Bromley    

 Sidcup v Gravesend

 Sheppey v Old Colfeians

 Maidstone v Sevenoaks

 Blackheath v O Elthamians

 Aylesford v Tunbridge Wells

 Westcombe Park v Deal & Betteshanger

Losing sides in the 1st Round, Ashford, Beckenham, Charlton Pk, Dover and Thanet Wanderers now move to the Plate competition where they will be joined by those losing sides from the 2nd round who did not compete in the 1stround.



Around the Grounds (30 Aug 11)
posted: August 30 2011

National 1: In what by all accounts was an excellent match Blackheath were leading Rosslyn Pk  by a point going into the closing stages, but a loose lineout handed on their own 5m line handed possession to Park who duly took advantage to cross the Blackheath line for a 26-20 home win.

 

National 2(S):  Whilst Combe defended doggedly and were very much in the game in the first quarter, two yellow cards were their undoing as they slipped to an 18-3 half-time deficit.  More of the same followed in the second period and although Combe managed two tries of their own, Southend had appeared to take their foot off the gas once the bonus point had been secured and posted a sound 32-17 win.

 

Kent Cup Rd 1: All of this year’s 1stRound matches had to be played by this last weekend with not all the fixtures going the way league status would have indicated with Aylesford beating Dover 34-11 at The Crabble, and Tunbridge Wells sweeping aside Beckenham 38-10 at Frant Road. Elthamians took on Thanet and were convincing winners on their visit to the east Kent club as they posted 69 points for only 22 in return to move into the next round where they take on Blackheath’ who seem to have been their perennial Kent Cup adversaries in recent seasons.  Deal & Betteshanger travelled to Ashford to take on the newly promoted mid Kent side and were solid winners by 3-20 to progress to the next round. Gravesend began their defence of the title with a trip to Charlton Park, and although generally dominant throughout they were made to work by the Kidbrooke based club to overcome some stubborn opposition and run out winners with a workman like 13-20 scoreline.

 

English Clubs Championship:  Next week sees the league programme commence for the county’s clubs in Nat 3(SE), Ldn 1(N) & (S) and also Kent 1.



Preseason Fixture v Sevenoaks
posted: August 28 2011

For the county town club it wouldn’t be a proper season if local rivals Sevenoaks didn’t appear on the fixture card; as luck would have it both sides are now drawn against each other in the Kent Cup so Saturday’s fixture was an opportunity for both parties to have a look at each other.

In a match played over four quarters with numerous rolling substitutions quite what they will read into each other’s strengths time will tell. As was to be expected, some preseason rustiness was apparent in a match which very much reflected the weather, ‘bright in patches’. A 15-11 win and scoring three tries against the visitor’s one will be encouraging for head coach Andy Foley in what was his first opportunity to look at a number of players in a match situation.

Finally, the match was interrupted by a long delay due to a knee injury to Sevenoaks player Elliott Carter, we wish him a speedy recovery.

Photos now on Gallery



Club joins forces with Solo Sports Supplements
posted: August 25 2011

Thanks to Club Captain Matt Plowman, Maidstone Rugby have joined forces with Kent based Solo Sports Supplements as part of their preparation for the 2011/12 season.  Based in Maidstone, Solo are one of the leading stockists and suppliers of dietary sports supplements in the south east, and nationally through their internet facility, supplying a wide range of the leading nutritional supplement brands.

 Owner and keen sportsman Gary Hawkins knows several of the club’s players and was keen to become involved on a more forma level.  Solo Sports Supplement will be providing various dietary items as well as diet and training advice to the senior squad, plus running a substantial discount scheme for rugby club members.  Gary came along to one of the club’s training sessions to introduce the scheme, alternatively, contact Club Captain Matt Plowman for details via the website contact page.



1st XV Captain for the 2011/12 Season Announced
posted: August 22 2011

With John O’Brien standing down from the role of skipper, Head Coach Andy Foley has now selected the 1st XVs Captain for the forthcoming league campaign.  Jim Walker has been awarded the captains armband for the coming season.

Jim commented on being presented with the appointmentI am obviously very honoured and extremely flattered to be given the opportunity to lead the 1st XV in the upcoming season. I see the next 9 or so months as an opportunity to demonstrate the strength and drive of Maidstone RFC as a playing group and as individuals.

Having played at this club for 20 years, I will endeavour to emulate the outstanding contributions made by previous Captains, whilst bringing the passion I have for this club to the role. The preseason preparations are in full swing, and there is an atmosphere of excitement and energy that very much denotes the capabilities of this County Town Club and we are striving for a great season ahead”.



Around the Grounds - Preview
posted: August 20 2011

Apparently this weekly ‘blog’ was widely read last season, although I think that someone is just winding me up on that.  Anyway, on the basis that someone actually did bother to read it, we’ll give it another outing for the coming season.  Obviously with league divisions at various level comprising of different numbers, competitive rugby starts for the clubs across the county at different points over the next month; not forgetting the 1stround ties in the Kent Cup, which are being played in the pre season period (Medway v Sevenoaks played 20th Aug - see Kent Cup Update on Club News).  Looks like the ‘county town club’ started a trend last year.  Anyway, this week’s edition is a bit of a preview to the season and also shows when the various clubs start their league campaigns.  Any predictions are very much a personal opinion (and made without a ball being passed) and may well promote some discussion; additionally they only concern potential promotion contenders, the author is certainly not prepared to soothsay in any way on who may be relegation candidates.

Kent Cup:  Fixtures for 27th August - Ashford v D&B, Charlton Pk v Gravesend, Dover v Aylesford, Thanet Wdrs v O Elthamians, Tunbridge Wells v Beckenham.

National 1:  Fixtures start 27thAugust (Rosslyn Pk v Blackheath)

Having finished 6thlast season Blackheath must feel they are in with a shout this time around, although a sticky mid season period last term did leave them a bit off the pace.  The likes of Birmingham & Solihull coming down from the Championship must be amongst the promotion hopefuls along with possibly Cambridge and Macclesfield who both finished in the top four last time out.

National 2(S):  Fixtures start 27thAugust (Southend v Westcombe Pk)

After last season’s final day shootout with city club Canterbury, Westcombe Pk are the county’s sole representative in the division and they will be hoping to avoid the slow start they made last time around in order to put themselves comfortably in the upper half of the table this time around; although they face a tough start as they take on Southend who were fourth in the division last season

National 3 (SE):  Fixtures start 3rdSeptember (Ampthill v TJs, Canterbury v Bishop Stortford, Gravesend v L Irish)

After a tentative start last season Gravesend finished comfortably in the top half of the table, although a bit off the pace of the front runners.  They are joined this season by fellow county clubs Canterbury, relegated from Nat 2(S) and TJs, promoted from Ldn 1(S) & with Dorking and Ampthill also still in the division they will need to work hard to improve on last season’s solid performance.

TJs face a tough start as they travel to take on last season’s fourth placed side, Ampthill, whilst Canterbury host Bishop Stortford who had a solid mid table position last time around.  Gravesend start their second season in the national leagues as they host newly promoted L Irish.

Prediction: Promoted = Dorking and Tonbridge Juddians or Ampthill

London 1 (S):  Fixtures start 3rdSeptember (Chichester v Beckenham, Dover v Portsmouth, Thanet v Sicup, Trojans v O Elthamians)

Sidcup must surely be the early favourites in this division having lost out in the playoff last term when competing in L1(N), Chichester who were third last time out will be hard on their heels although both will be pushed hard by the likes of Beckenham, Portsmouth and Haywards Heath, plus O Elthamians who convincingly returned to the division at the first attempt.  New boys Trojans and Guernsey are a bit of an unknown quantity but on the basis of their promotion winning seasons last term will be no push over, and an away trip to the Channel Islands has never been an easy outing as many sides found during Jersey’s rise up the divisions.

Prediction: Promoted = Sidcup. Playoff = Chichester or Beckenham

London 1(N):  Fixtures start 3rdSeptember (Chingford v Colfes)

With Sidcup moving back to L1(S), Colfes are the only club south of the Thames in the division and after a solid mid table performance that tailed off towards the end last season, perhaps a similar solid mid table slot is what awaits them this time around, although they are definitely aiming to break into the top four.  Bury St Edmunds and Colchester look like being the likely promotion candidates.

London 2 (SE):  Fixtures start 10thSeptember (Aylesford v Sevenoaks, D&B v H&W, E Grinstead v OMW, Lewes v T Wells, Dunstonians v Brighton, Warlingham v Charlton Pk)

After falling at the final hurdle in two competitions last season, only a fool would not place Aylesford in the promotion mix up.  Although, the main challenge is likely to be from Sussex sides Lewes and East Grinstead’s G-Force, whose point deduction last season effectively torpedoed what was a realistic promotion challenge.  Again, with a new coaching team this season, Sevenoaks could be a major factor in the promotion battle, even if they don’t feature themselves.

Prediction: Promoted = East Grinstead, Playoff = Aylesford or Lewes

London 3 (SE):  Fixtures start 10thSeptember (Bromley v Maidstone, Crowborough v Ashford, Eastbourne v Sheppey, Folkestone v Medway, Horsham v Pk Hse, Uckfield v Crawley)

On paper there are a number of clubs potentially in the running for promotion in what is likely to be a closely contested division; Crowborough must be candidates after they lost out on the last day of last season, Maidstone who effectively finished in mid table a division higher but for a points deduction, plus also Medway who are steadily building momentum at the club.  Uckfield who won Sussex 1 at a canter last season and by a massive margin, along with Kent 1 promotion sides Ashford & Sheppey will also be very much in the mix along with Folkestone if they can finally build some consistency into their performances throughout the season.

Prediction: Promoted = Maidstone and Medway or Uckfield

Kent 1:  Fixtures start 3rdSeptember (Cranbrook v Vigo, Dartfordians v Shooters Hill, Guys Hosp v Beccs, HSBC v Hastings & Bexhill, NAG v OGs, Sittingbourne v TBA, Whitstable v Anchorians)

With Cranbrook and Dartfordians dropping back down to Kent 1 after just one season, they could well be contenders to go up again.  Anchorians could also finally break the cycle of ‘nearly but not quite’ with Sittingbourne and Vigo also able to mount a challenge from what was a closely matched chasing pack behind last year’s top two sides.

Prediction: Up = Sittingbourne, Playoff = Anchorians

Kent 2:  Fixtures start 24thSeptember (Askeans v O Wills, Bexley v Footscray, Kings Coll v Footscray,  Lordswood v Erith, Orpington v Southwark)

Third placed last time round, Kings Coll must be the pre season favourites along with Orpington, Footscray and Southwark Lancers.  Although at the bottom tier of senior rugby, the author discovered that it is still enormously competitive and will be watching with interest, especially to see if the ‘Lancers’ can capitalise on last terms very successful debut season in the senior leagues.

Prediction: Promoted = King Coll & Southwark Lancers



Kent Cup Update
posted: August 20 2011

This weekend saw the first of the Round 1 matches in this season's Kent Cup, with Medway hosting London 2(SE) side Sevenoaks; in what appears to have been a close contest Medway had the upper hand in the tight whilst Sevenoaks held a slight advantage with their back division.  With an 11-3 half-time lead it looked as if  'Oaks' passage into the next round was going to be fairly comfortable but a great fight back by Medway saw them take what looked like a match winning lead going into the final quarter of the match.  However, two tries by Seveonaks in the last 10 minutes swung the tie in the visitors favour with a final score of 23-25.

Maidstone now await Sevenoaks in a second round tie to be played on or before Nov 6th.



County Town Club players contribute to ‘Dogs’ success at Park House 10s
posted: August 15 2011

Having made the final in three of the past four seasons (winning twice); Cranbrook based Invitational side, the ‘Mad Dogs’  were looking to add to that record at this year’s Park House 10s tournament and put in a sterling series of performances to defend the title they won last year.  Winning all three of their pool matches and their semi-final convincingly, the ‘Dogs’ proved too powerful for the range of opposition on the day, lifting the trophy with a 19-14 win over U21 invitation side ‘Rucking Funts’  in the final..  Andy Foley, the county town club’s head coach was on hand to watch player/coach Hayden Mitchell along with new signings ‘Loni’ Vikilani and Chris Catt put in some good displays alongside senior side regulars Sam Bailey, Jack Lamb & Luke Day in the ‘Mad Dogs’ squad for the tournament.

Full report available on Cranbrook RFC's website click here



Further additions to the Senior Squad
posted: August 12 2011

Joining Maidstone Rugby for the coming season is Romanian centre Andrei Toma and Tongan front row forward ‘Loni’ Vikilani.

Loni is a versatile front row forward who plays prop and hooker as well as covering the back row, he has played club rugby in his native Tonga as well as at Parramatta in Australia and the Suburbs club in Auckland, New Zealand. Andrei, is a strong running centre who can also plays on the flank and joins the club from the Olympia Bucharest club in Romania.

A further addition to the squad is Paul Hannah, after travelling from Coventry to spend a week with the club during preseason training, back row forward Paul has committed to the club for the forthcoming campaign.  Paul is a mobile back row forward with good ball handling skills that will complement the type of rugby that Head Coach Andy Foley is looking to play.

 Andrei, Loni & Paul are expected to be the last preseason additions to the senior squad that has seen in excess of 20 senior squad players join the club during the closed season.



Portuguese National Youth Coach joins Maidstone Rugby
posted: August 09 2011

Maidstone Rugby is pleased to announce that Jaoa Branquinho, formerly one of the Portuguese national youth coaching team has joined the club.  A talented centre who played for the Academica Coimbra club in Portugal, he has represented Portugal at U16, U18 & U20 level, before moving into coaching at U18 level with both club and country.  Involved with the national coaching team since 2004 where he coached at U18 level, he then went on to coach with the U20 team.  His coaching involvement has taken him to two U18 European Championships in France in 2005 and Italy in 2006 and also the U20 Championships in Spain and Poland during the same seasons.



Orient Freight Group commits to the County Town Club
posted: August 09 2011

Maidstone Rugby is pleased to announce that international freight transport company Orient Freight Group has committed its support to the club as an Official Sponsor for the coming season.  The Kemsing based multinational company is a leader in the field of freight handling and shipping by land, sea and air to Middle East countries from the UK and other worldwide locations.



Kent RFU Invicta Leagues restructured for 2010/11 season
posted: August 03 2011

This season sees a restructuring of the Kent Junior leagues that will affect the lower XVs within the club. In the past Kent RFU have operated the Inviicta League which was competed for by club 2nd & 3rd XVs from across the county. The tier below that has in seasons past consisted of a set of leagues that were designed to be much more local and structured much more geographically, with a Metropolitan, Mid-Kent and East-Kent league system, each comprising of a number of divisions. The theory behind this model was that with the divisions within those leagues comprising of locally based sides, there would be fewer matches forfeited, especially at short notice.  Overall the system was very successful, and provided the model which the RFU used as an example to other constituent bodies.

Whilst the system has seen some changes in past seasons, this season will see a major restructuring of the junior leagues into a single Invicta League system, the main driver for this was the lack of clubs and teams in East Kent to support their respective leagues, and this meant they played each other several times a season.

The Invicta League system will continue to be sponsored by local brewers Shepherd Neame and whilst Invicta Divisions 1 & 2 remains pretty much unchanged, the divisions from 3 to 6 are regionally structured with an East & West subset of divisions.  In essence this will mean that some familiar names will again be appearing on the fixture list, after an absence of several years, unless of course friendly fixtures have been arranged in the past to fill vacant Saturdays.

The club’s sides will be competing within the Invicta League as follows:

Mustangs XV – Invicta Division 2

3rd(A) XV – Invicta Division 3

4th(Ex A) XV – Invicta Division 5 (E) – (Dragonfire)

5th(B) XV – Invicta Division 6 East (W) (Early Bird)

Veterans XV – the Veterans will continue to ‘grow old disgracefully’ outside of the league structure



Maidstone Rugby Players BBQ
posted: July 28 2011

With over 20 new players this season, plus a number of returning to the club in the senior squad, the club held a BBQ following Thursday evening’s pre season training session to act as a bit of an ice breaker and also provide an opportunity for players and members across the other teams to meet some of the new faces at the club.

Amongst those attending was new player/coach Hayden Mitchell and his Kiwi compatriot, former Auckland U19 scrum-half Nick Cullen.  Also in attendance was a significant contingent that has joined the club from Lordswood.

Another notable addition will ensure that there is a well known name back on the player roster as Chris Catt joins the club from Wealden side Cranbrook.  Chris is another product from the rugby playing Catt family well known in Maidstone and The Weald, which has produced a string of high quality forward players; although Chris breaks the mould in that respect, having made his mark in the backs line as a talented fly half.

With another couple of players joining the senior squad having moved into the Maidstone area, Head Coach Andy Foley is pleased with the way preseason training is progressing and the depth of squad that is building from both ‘home grown talent’ and new players joining the club.



Website Updates
posted: July 27 2011

Members are advised that over the course of the next month work will be ongoing by the team at Web HQ to update the club website. Whilst to many this may seem straightforward, behind the scenes an enormous amount of effort and expertise has been donated by Mike Gammon and his colleague Al at Vivid Associates to create and install a much more user friendly Content Management System (CMS). As you read this notice, that work is all but complete and although you may have noticed nothing at the front end, the CMS is now in place.

The benefit of this is that it becomes easier for the less IT orientated members who are active in maintaining the sites currency to make entries on the site. This in turn will allow entries to be made more quickly as we become less reliant on one person to maintain the site.

Members are requested to bear with us during this process and all of the updates will be completed prior to the new season. Furthermore, if personnel are asked to make contributions to update the information on the site, they are requested to do so promptly in order not to delay the process.

Finally, the club thanks Mike Gammon and his colleagues for their continued assistance in building and maintaining a professional website that has meant that the club has managed to avoid going down the route of the ‘one size fits all’ templated website.



Draw made for RFU Competitions
posted: July 18 2011

Maidstone may well have a bye in the first round of the Senior Vase but there is still plenty of interest across the county in the three RFU competitions.  With the draw having now been made, the following ties to be played on 15 October feature the county’s sides.

 

 RFU Intermediate Cup:  Charlton Pk takes on Camberly in the only match of Round 1, where a win will set up an all Kent clash of the promoted & relegated against Tunbridge Wells in Round 2.  Elsewhere in Round 2, Aylesford get yet another home draw as they take on Hampshire club Gosport & Fareham from L2SW;  Maidstone’s nemesis from last season Old Reigatians host Sevenoaks, whilst relegated Wimbledon host Deal & Betteshanger.  Champions for the last two seasons in the Junior & Senior Vase, Teddington head to Warlingham in their bid for a third outing at RFU HQ.

 

 RFU Senior Vase:  In the first round, last terms Kent 1 champions Ashford, who had a good run in last year’s Junior Vase host Winchester who finished lower mid table in last seasons L3SW; with Folkestone also hosting another Hampshire based club as they take on an Andover side newly promoted from Hampshire 1.  Medway are away at Old Alleynians in what could be a tight encounter against the side that finished third in L3SW last season; whilst Sheppey welcome Bromley in an all Kent match up.  Elsewhere, last season’s Junior Vase winners HAC are away at Horsham as they attempt to follow in Teddington’s footsteps by making consecutive visits to Twickenham.  The only other side from L3SE, Uckfield who were last season’s Sussex 1 champions by a ‘country mile’, travel totake on Sandown & Shanklin on the Isle of Wight. The Round 1 draw in full is below:

 Ashford v Winchester, Barnet Eliz v Campion, Cheshunt v Holt, East London v Hitchin, Finchley v Wymondham, Folkestone v Andover, Horsham v HAC., Newmarket v Haringey, Norwich v Datchworth, Old Alleynian v Medway, Sandown & Sh v Uckfield, Sheppey v Bromley, Stowmarket v London Nigerian

 

 Byes:   Harlow, KCS Old Boys, Maidstone

 

 RFU Junior Vase:  All the county’s sides avoided the six matches in the Preliminary Round; in Round 1 Bexley host Old Rutlishians, whilst Brockleians host another ‘old boys’ club in Old Caterhamians.  The remaining county sides all have away matches as Old Williamsonians visit Chipstead, Kings College Hospital travel to Old Cranleighians.  Askeans are hosted by Raynes Park, whilst Orpington are also on the road as they take on Worth Old Boys.



Maidstone’s Piers Francis makes his NPC ITM Cup debut for Auckland, NZ.
posted: July 16 2011

Former Maidstone fly half Piers Francis was selected for Auckland in this year’s New Zealand’s Provincial ITM Cup competition.  Piers played youth rugby at the club in the very successful side that also produced Danny Caprice before representing the 1st XV for two seasons prior to going to New Zealand midway through the 09/10 season  Since then he has played his rugby in Auckland with the well-known Marist club. Whilst back in the UK at the end of 2010 Piers had hinted that Auckland were interested in contracting him to play provincial rugby and was looking forward to the challenge.

 

For the season opening fixture at Eden Park against NZ Provincial heavyweights and defending champions Canterbury, who featured the likes of All Blacks Reuben Thorne & Robbie Fruean and a number of ‘Super 15’ players; Piers was selected in the match day 22 captained by ‘All Black’ Daniel Braid.  Although starting on the replacements bench alongside some exalted company in the form of Joe Rokocoko; Piers got his introduction to NPC rugby coming on in the second half. Although Auckland lost the match 33-40, Piers was instrumental in getting the bonus point, with an intercept and break from the Auckland half and just being hauled down 5m short of the Canterbury line, although the side scored under the posts from the subsequent phase of play.

 

Piers is set for his second game in the NPC on Wednesday (20th) where he has again been selected in the 23 man squad to face Otago for the Lindsay Colling Memorial Trophy.

 

Video highlights available here



KMFM Extra Visit County Town Club
posted: July 12 2011

Tuesday’s pre season training session saw a visit by the county’s newest local radio station KMFM Extra as part of their early morning the ‘Extra Big One’ show.  Rob, Nic & Ickle came down to The Mote to find out what rugby was all about; as well as watching some of the evening fitness and skills session, they also had the chance to chat to some of the players plus coach Hayden Mitchell.  In what can only be described as KMFM Extras version of ‘Jackass’ Ickle had the opportunity to try out the basics himself, but came unstuck on the tackling drills when he found out just why Hayden is also known as ‘The Big Rig’!!



County Town Club gets 1st Round Bye
posted: July 07 2011

 

Entries for the RFU Competitions have now closed, and although the draw has not yet been made, Maidstone as one of the club’s with the best playing record last season has been awarded a bye in round one of the Senior Vase scheduled for 15thOctober.

 Further details will be published once the 1st & 2nd round draw is known.



PreSeason Training in Full Swing
posted: July 04 2011

Following a month of Thursday evening fitness based training supplemented by the individual senior squad fitness training programmes at David Lloyd Health Club and Shaun’s renowned Saturday ‘FatBoy’ training sessions; today saw preseason move up a gear with the start of the familiar twice weekly training sessions.

 With several new additions to the squad, the past month has seen a number of light hearted sessions as part of a team building exercise and to integrate the dozen or so new senior squad members into the club.



Dan Caprice moves to French T14
posted: June 24 2011

 

Premier French club Biarritz has announced that former Maidstone player and England 7s start Dan Caprice has joined them on a 2 year contract from the start of next season.  News originally leaked out three weeks ago but official confirmation by the Basque club was not made until this weekend.

 21 year old Dan started his playing career with the county town club before moving to Saracens and having spent the majority of the past two seasons with Blackheath, although his commitment to England 7s on the IRB circuit has dominated his playing time.  Dan will join up with former England international players Iain Balshaw and Magnus Lund at his new club.



Maidstone Rugby joins forces with David Lloyd
posted: June 06 2011

New Club Captain Matt Plowman has been instrumental in setting up a partnership between the county town club and Maidstone’s David Lloyd Health & Fitness Club, which boasts some of the finest gym and leisure facilities in the area,   With a huge open plan gym fitted with the newest cardiovascular and resistance equipment, the partnership provides an ideal opportunity to develop individual training regimes for the senior squad as part of the build up to the 2011/12 season.

 James Dent, General Manager at Maidstone commented “I am delighted that we at David Lloyd Maidstone are now officially sponsoring Maidstone Rugby for the 2011-12 season. I look forward to supporting the team and working together in partnership to provide a great place for the players to gain the ideal preparation for the coming season”.

Maidstone Rugby’s Head Coach Andy Foley responded by saying “I am delighted that we have entered into this arrangement with David Lloyd; the facilities are first class, and up to date to incorporate modern training methods. Our pre-season training can now be both more varied to include swimming, spin classes etc. and also tailored to individual players requirements”.



New Club Captain role announced.
posted: June 05 2011

In a change from what has been the traditional system of team captains for each of the playing XVs, and following discussions between the coaching & support staff and the committee, the club has decided to implement a new role of Club Captain.

 The role does not impinge on the respective team captains roles and is seen as having a wider role within the senior club.  The club’s committee is therefore pleased to announce that the inaugural appointment of Club Captain has been awarded to Matt Plowman.  On being informed of the appointment Matt commented “that he was honoured to be considered for the position and looks forward to doing as much as he can to assist the club in this new role”.

 Club Chairman, Andy Golding commented “The new position of Club captain is a well-deserved role for Matt. He has been at the Club for some considerable time and most recently had a resurgence of his playing career when he was asked to prop for the 1stXV having spent recent times as a stalwart member of the 3rds. Matt excelled in this role and in doing so brought a depth of experience and knowledge that not only provided solidity in this key position (and the scrum) but whose unique no-nonsense, straight talking approach was well received by old and young players alike.

 Matt has proved that he is worthy of this role and his ‘can do’ attitude is already paying dividends in terms of the pre-season preparations of the Club and will undoubtedly continue as he works with Andy Foley to build a foundation for future Club success”



2011/12 Shepherd Neame Kent Cup Draw
posted: June 01 2011

The Kent RFU competitions Committee have completed the draw for the coming season’s Kent Cup competition.  As was the case last season, the draw has been made early to allow the Round 1 matches to be played as early as possible (by Sun 28thAug) in order to alleviate fixture congestion later in the season.

The County Town club has received a Bye in round one but will host the winners of the Sevenoaks v Medway tie in the second round.  Defending champions, Gravesend start their defence of the trophy with a visit to newly promoted Charlton Park; whilst the tie that immediately draws the eye is the clash between city club Canterbury and this season’s tournament runners up TJs.  Full details of the draw for Rounds 1 & 2 are below:

Round 1:

 Dover v Aylesford                   

 Ashford v Deal & Betteshanger

 Medway v Sevenoaks

 Tunbridge Wells v Beckenham

 Thanet Wdrs v Old Elthamians

 Charlton Park v Gravesend

Round 2: (To be played on or before the Sunday 6th November)

 Canterbury v Tonbridge Juddians

 Old Dunstonians v Bromley 

 Sidcup v Charlton Park/Gravesend

 Sheppey v Old Colfeians

 Maidstone v Medway/Sevenoaks

 Blackheath v Thanet Wdrs/O Elthamians

 Dover\Aylesford v Tunbridge Wells/Beckenham

 Westcombe Park v D&B/Ashford



Pete Barford appointed Mustangs XV & Development Coach
posted: May 26 2011

The club is pleased to announce a further reinforcement of Head Coach; Andy Foley’s coaching team with the appointment of Pete Barford who takes up the role as Mustangs XV and Development Coach with immediate effect.

Pete is well known in Maidstone rugby circles and has a particular pedigree in identifying and developing young talent, something which is evident from his successful youth coaching experience, where in recent years he has coached two of the club’s sides to a number of successes, five Kent Cups including two Kent League Cups together with victory at a National Competition for County Champions.



Club signs new Player/Coach
posted: May 25 2011

Maidstone Rugby is pleased to announce Head Coach Andy Foley’s first addition to reinforce to his coaching team, in Kiwi Hayden Mitchell.  Hayden, a 25 yr old, 6’4” and 19st 2nd Row/No8 and joins the club from having played the 2010/11 season as part of the successful Melrose RFC 1st XV who lifted this season’s Scottish Premiership title in addition to reaching both the Scottish and Borders Cup Finals.  Prior to his time in the Scottish Borders, Hayden was a 1st XV player for 6 seasons with NZ club Shirley Vikings RFC in Christchurch, and captain in his final year.  In addition he also played in the Canterbury B side for two seasons.

 Hayden commented on his appointment “the opportunity that’s presented itself at Maidstone is second to none, and to have been given the chance as a coach as well as a player is a very exciting prospect, in speaking with DoR Andy Foley, he has informed that there is a lot of talent at the club which is great to hear, and I am looking forward to helping the club moving forward and progressing in the leagues

 Hayden takes up the role as senior forwards coach but with a wider remit to assist coaches across the both youth and senior elements of the club as well as conducting outreach coaching in local schools.

 Hayden is not the only new addition to the playing squad for the 2011/12 season; he is joined by scrum half and fellow Kiwi, Nick Cullen who joins the club having played the tail end of last season at Bracknell in National 3 (SE) and prior to that at Christchurch (NZ).





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