WHAT A CROWD

As the two best teams in the league meet , champions and runners-up, it’s a time for congratulations and celebrations all round. Our thanks must go to the players and coaches who have crowned a brilliant season by taking us to the National 2 South play-off game for the first time. When Chester come to the Marine Travel Ground next week it will be the most important game in the club’s 90-year history There is, however, another element to the on-field success and it was never better demonstrated than in the epic win at Barnes. What a crowd! Our massive travelling support never lost the faith, even when we were trailing at half time. The players will tell you that they have been given a huge lift all season by the wonderful encouragement from the touchline. At Barnes our supporters, easily the biggest away day following we have seen, surpassed themselves.
The road has not been straightforward in these final weeks of the season. Of the four contenders for the play-off spot Canterbury probably had the toughest run of fixtures. We had to keep winning and not rely on any slip up by the challengers. That put extra pressure on the players and while at times that showed the team’s self belief got us through. Injuries to Aiden Moss and Harvey Young posed another potential problem but were absorbed efficiently as Ollie Best resumed his fly half and goal kicking roles seamlessly and Charlie Grimes’ switch from wing to full back proved to be an inspired choice. Today we take on worthy champions in Rams but must be forgiven for having one eye on Saturday, May 4th,

ANDY’S VIEW

First of all a huge thank you to the supporters who made the trip to Barnes ago to see us secure the play-off spot. Apologies for the first half performance – Barnes are a good side who had little to lose and that psychological advantage showed. The lads deserve big credit for finding their game in the second half.
So here we are in the final regular league match of the year, first v second. I’d like to congratulate everyone involved at Rams for their season – deserved champions who have developed year on year since they first came up to this level. It’s perhaps a shame that this game has little riding on it (in league terms) but these matches can often produce something special as league pressures can, for once, be put aside. We clearly have more work to do after today but Sponsors’ Day has always been a special date in the calendar for our club and it will be vital to go into the play off with momentum.
Finally, special mention to our dedicated sponsors. Looking around at the pitch side hoardings you can see the huge number and variety, but a common theme is that the vast majority are based within 10 miles of the club. You are a huge part of the club’s family and we could not achieve what we do without your support. Thank you.

Andy Pratt, Head of Rugby

PLAY-OFF PLANS

The club is putting in place major plans to make the National 2 play-off game against Chester a great experience for what will be the season’s biggest crowd.
With rugby fans from all over East Kent descending on the Marine Travel Ground parking arrangements have been revised and there will be extra bars and food outlets.
Parking: If you are coming by road, all public car parking will be at the MS Centre and beside the Orchard pitches behind the clubhouse.
Bars: Clubhouse, Car Park, Beside the marquee sited on the Top Pitch.
Food: Clubhouse, Car Park BBQ area, Beside Top Marquee (Stoned Pizza)
Toilets: Clubhouse, Car Park including disabled facilities, Beside Top Marquee.
Admission charge: This will be £10 per person whether in car or on foot. Programme included. All under 18s free of charge. There will be no concessions.
Season Ticket Holders: Sorry, but you have to pay. The season ticket is not valid for this game. This is a RFU requirement.
We have to pay Chester 40 per cent of the gate so we need accurate figures for what is taken at the ground entrance.

TRIBUTE TO JONATHAN
Our late Chairman, Jonathan Marsh, would have savoured the achievements of all the club teams this season an he will be remembered at special charity match in aid of the British Heart Foundation. It will kick-off after the first team game against Rams. It has been organised by his son William together with Adam Russell and Elliot Richardson who recently lost own father, Gary, another great servant of the club. Taking part will be all ex-members of the squad managed by Jonathan, We want to make this a massive event to complete a Saturday afternoon of rugby, laughs and reminiscing. Big or small donation, anything will be hugely appreciated. The British Heart Foundation has helped halve the number of people dying from heart and circulatory disease in the UK but sadly every day hundreds of people lose their lives. It’s only thanks to support from people like us that the BHF can create new treatments and discover new cures. £24 could pay for two hours of research by an early career scientist, but every pound helps so please give what you can to help them hit their target.
HELFIRE WIN IN EUROPE
The club’s Wheelchair Rugby team, Hellfire, announced themselves on the international stage when they became champions at the Berndt-Best tournament in Cologne. At the end of the three-day event they beat Hollister Hussars 42-28 to take the title. On their way to the top spot Hellfire got the better of clubs from France, Belgium, Holland and the host nation Germany. After finishing second in the advanced league in the tournament when it was last held, Hellfire were placed in the higher professional league, recognising the real progress of the team over the last two years.

JOIN THE FORCE
The NatWest RugbyForce weekend is back on June 22nd and 23rd. Last year we had an amazing group of volunteers who helped clean, paint and plant around the club ready for the new season. This year we need your help again. Can you and the family give a few hours or maybe the whole weekend to help us? If so, visit the Rugby Force page on the club web site: cantrugby.co.uk/natwest-rugbyf
If you have a project you would like us to tackle on the RugbyForce weekend then email Ian Lloyd at: ian@cantrugby.co.uk
We already have two sponsors on board in Dave Manning Painting & Building and Sally Hatcher Estates.