KEEPING THE FAITH

This is a point in our season where you, the supporters, have a crucial role to play. Despite all the disappointments of the past eleven weeks the support from the touchline has been excellent and shows no sign of flagging. Keeping faith with a side struggling to adjust to the demands of a high quality league requires patience and a belief that we will improve.
The challenges facing the players and coaching staff are huge but the backing of a large, vocal crowd is part of the journey and many clubs will be envious of the numbers who come to The Marine Travel Ground despite our poor playing record. The measure of a proper supporter is one who stays firm in the bad times and knows they are part of a great club. To have so many people who fit that bill is a mark of what we have built at Canterbury so thank you and keep on coming. You will enjoy the good times even more when, inevitably, they roll around again.
Last week it seemed we might be on the way to that elusive first win when we travelled to fellow strugglers Hull Ionians. After establishing a 15-3 half time lead along came another of those worrying second half melt downs and we left Yorkshire without a point. Today, another major test from a Rams side that has settled into National One seamlessly.

JACK JOINS ON LOAN

A new name in the squad is Jack Rouse. The back rower has arrived on a season long loan from Championship side Ealing to help ease a daunting injury list. Jack was a star performer in the Exeter University side and won a call up for England Students. He signed For Ealing this season and his spell with gives him the opportunity to play regular first team rugby.
He joins another recent arrival New Zealand hooker/prop Gene Syminton
as Head of Rugby as selection is handicapped by the number of absentees in the pack. Sam Kenny, George Micans, Sam Rogers and Alex Wake-Smith are still unfit and skipper Sean Stapleton is sitting out a six match ban.
The back division has its own troubles with Sam Sterling recovering from a broken thumb and Dwayne Corcoran sidelined by ankle problem. Hopes of a return for Aiden Moss and Harvey Young have suffered a blow. Aiden played for the Pilgrims last Saturday but sustained a nasty cut to his knee on a sub-standard Jersey pitch, while Harvey pulled a hamstring in a training session this week It never rains .. etc.

ANDY’S VIEW
Last week’s loss at Hull was a huge disappointment, particularly considering the control we had of the game at half time. Too many times this year we have got ourselves into positions to win matches and let them go. Injuries and unavailability have taken a big toll on the squad and continuity but the simple truth is we cannot perform for a half at National 1 and expect to win.
I am very aware that people must have questions about many aspects of why we are where we are and how we are addressing things. On Monday 2nd December at 7pm I will be hosting an evening at the club where I am happy to take questions about the team’s performance, talk about where we are and our plans going forward. It is vital that members and supporters are kept in the loop and I am keen to be able to address any concerns. Steve will have the bar open so even if it’s just an excuse to come and have a Christmas beer I look forward to seeing you.
Andy Pratt, Head of Rugby

LUNCH WITH WILL
Will Greenwood, British Lion and England World Cup winner, was the speaker at this week’s hugely successful City Lunch. He spoke to a sell-out crowd at London restaurant Smith & Wollensky which has hosted the event for the past four years If you missed out there is always a second chance at our Spring City Lunch here at the club, date yet to be announced.

CHRISTMAS MARKET
The club is holding its second Christmas Market on Sunday, December 8th and it will be open from 10am to 2pm. It’s a great opportunity to grab that surprise present from a variety of stall holders. We welcome small, local businesses, charities, schools and club members to come and sell their products. The market will be held in the lunch marquee so goods will not get wet and, hopefully, the event will not be affected by weather. The Marquee can hold 15 stalls only and has limited access to electrical sockets. We regret that we cannot accept stallholders who wish to prepare, cook and sell fresh food as we have club caterers. Pitches cost £10 which will be payable on the day. To book a pitch go to the club web site: www.cantrugby.co.uk where there is an application form.

BLACKHEATH AWAY DAY

Here’s the ideal way to take the strain out of the drive to Blackheath for our pre-Christmas game on December 21st. A supporters bus will be heading up the M2 from the club and it costs £30 per head, The price includes brunch in the clubhouse before departure at 12.30pm, drinks on the way and nibbles on the return journey to soak up all that orange juice you have consumed. Bookings will be on a first come, first served basis so e-mail Giles Hilton at: commercial@canterbury.co.uk and make sure of a seat.