TOM CALLS TIME
This afternoon marks the end of an era for the Canterbury front row as hooker Tom Rogers plays his final league game in front of a home crowd. Tom is calling time on his long playing career with the club and today he makes his 226th appearance after eleven seasons of dedicated service. He joined Canterbury from Maidstone in 2007 and quickly became one of the first names on the team sheet. All his rugby with us has been played at National league level and as standards have become ever more demanding Tom has been a terrific example of how to adapt and improve. He has is one of the league’s most reliable lineout ‘dart throwers’, a hugely effective scrummager and a man who works overtime in those grafting and unglamorous areas which often go unnoticed. The all round skills of the 33-year old hooker, whose birthday it is today, will be hard to replace. Tom has won county honours for Kent and in the opinion of many knowledgeable rugby people not nearly enough. That has been Kent’s loss. But there is more to the Rogers story than that. His arrival at Canterbury heralded the establishment of a family connection that saw younger brother Sam, currently recovering from knee surgery, join him as a first team regular and father Andy take on a team management role. Both Tom and Sam followed in the boots of the old, man, the best looking hooker the Medway club ever produced (or so he says). So Tom, the ultimate club man, steps into retirement but leaves us with a legacy that will serve Canterbury for years to come. Make sure you buy the birthday boy a drink.
If you missed the game at Redingensians last week then you missed a classic. Hold on you might say; there was no avalanche of tries, errors were frequent, the home side dominated much of the action and we managed only a losing bonus point. But classics can be defined in many ways and Canterbury’s defensive efforts deserve to be in that category. Given the selection headaches, with injuries and unavailability conjuring up doomsday scenarios, it was an outstanding effort by the whole squad. With a new and untried back row in Cameron Townley, Vaughn Meredith and Logan Woodbridge who was back from University, and a first time half back combination of Kyan Braithwaite and Dan Smart, it was always going to be a test. Throw in the absence of Harry Sayers and Tom Best, through university and work commitments, and the picture clouded further. The replacements bench plundered heavily from the Pilgrims (reflected in their defeat by Redingensians 2nd) but every one put their bodies on the line and deserve our praise. Ugly, perhaps; classic, definitely. It was a far cry from the free running style which undid London Irish a fortnight ago. The seven tries we scored plunged Irish deep into the relegation melting pot and if results do not go their way today they could be for the drop. Old Redcliffians late season revival could send either Barnstaple or the Wild Geese flying.
Andy Pratt, Head of Rugby
HELLFIRE’S BIG CHALLENGE
It’s a big weekend for our Wheelchair Rugby team, Canterbury Hellfire, as they compete in the National Wheelchair championships.
The two-day event, which starts today, is being held in Kent for the first time at the Medway Park Sport Centre in Gillingham. The top twelve sides in the UK will be going wheel to wheel as they chase two trophies. Hellfire will be entering the main cup competition for the first time after an equal fifth place finish in their first year playing at the top level of the game.. They will be up against strong opposition in the form of Leicester Tigers (2107/18 League winners), Crash, Team Solent Sharks and two teams from our local rivals London with Storm, the five times winners, and Crusaders who boast a leading Great Britain player in Jim Roberts. Coaches Steve Brown and Omar Foster are confident that we can match some of the star studded opposition and gain much needed experience for our players, who include GB Development squad members Harry Langley and David Stokes. The team would really appreciate all the support they can get so why not make your way to the Medway venue at Mill Road, Gillingham ME7 1HF tomorrow. Games start at 9am and Sunday’s final is expected to begin around 1pm. Admission is free,
OLDIES STRIKE GOLD
Congratulation to the club’s Golden Oldies. Our Veterans side produced a match winning performance in the final of the Kent Veterans Shield as they lifted the trophy with a 17-7 win over Beckenham. What’ s more they showed massive reserves of stamina after going ten points behind in the early stages. What inspired their come back was Beckenham’s liking for ancient laws. At the end of the first half, with Canterbury pressing, they were awarded a penalty and kicked it into touch expecting that to be the end of the half. No one had reminded them that this was 2018 and play would continue. Our Vets nicked the lineout and score a converted try. The winning touchdown, in the second half was made by first team forwards coach Matt Pinnick and was described by the match reporter as ‘athletic’. Now there’s a moment to savour.
SEVENS ARE BACK
One of the end-of-season highlights in past years was the Canterbury Spitfire Sevens tournament. It attracted clubs from a wide area of the South East and beyond. Next month it is back after a seven year break. The date is Saturday, May12th and the tournament will be part of England’s ’24 Sevens’ series. For the first time it will feature both Men’s and Women’s teams, reflecting the major changes that have taken place in recent seasons and the success of the short form of the game internationally. Head of Rugby Andy Pratt says the new tournament will put the emphasis of being a very social event with local East Kent teams to the fore. Make a note of the date and take the opportunity to rekindle old friends and acquaintances from local clubs,
|8||Bury St Edmunds||30||77|
|13||London Irish Wild Geese||30||57|
|W||7 Apr||London Irish Wild Geese||43-7|
|L||17 Feb||Bury St. Edmunds||26-46|
|L||10 Feb||Taunton Titans||12-21|
|W||13 Jan||Old Redcliffians||48-29|
|L||23 Dec||Tonbridge Juddians||19-22|
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