It is four weeks and three games since we last played here at the Marine Travel Ground. To win all those matches and in the process accumulate fourteen points from a possible fifteen was an outstanding effort from the squad. Victories on the road are always difficult and the trips to Birmingham and Guernsey were steps into the unknown as we had never met either club in the past. Although both those sides are currently near the bottom end of the league table, they have been competitive in nearly all their matches so we needed to be up for the fight. Guernsey proved to be the toughest challenge, both on and off the field. We missed out on a bonus point and only edged the victory in the closing minutes but given the logistical challenges of getting 20 players and all the necessary kit to the Channel Islands it was a great result. A dodgy landing at Guernsey Airport did nothing for pre-match nerves and we were never at our best against a side that set out to stop us playing in our usual style. However, we got the points, the flights were on time and the duty free offers on the aircraft were good for gin drinkers. November now presents us with challenges of a different kind. We start today with London Irish, one of the most unpredictable sides who can turn on the brilliance. Then comes a trip to a Henley, who have shot up the league table to second place, followed by last season’s Division One relegated club, Old Albanians, the only side to have beaten leaders Rams. The pressure never goes away.
It’s good to be back at the Marine Travel Ground after nearly a month away. The last few weeks have been positive on the field with a fine performance at Birmingham for five points on the road on our first visit to the ‘Bees’. Injuries, fatigue and a well organised defence contributed to a very close contest at Guernsey. Considering we were at the end of our longest consecutive run of games which included our four longest trips I was delighted with the second half spirit that drove us over the line at the end. The Pilgrims showed similar spirit in the second half rain against Sidcup in the Kent Cup on Friday night. We were hoping some of our more experienced players returning from injury would be available for this tie but it proved to be too soon for all of them. Max Ganderton, a former Canterbury player and now experienced sports physiotherapist, has joined the team to oversee players’ return from injury once treated healing hands of Charlie Bannigan. I’m delighted to see him back and am sure he’ll have a really positive influence within the team. Also coming on board is Jack Green our club 400 Metre Olympian. Jack will be helping out the lads on match days offering his unique insights into preparing physically and mentally to perform. He’ll also get the water on quicker than anyone else in the league.
Andy Pratt, Head of Rugby
FRONT ROW AUTHORS
Two former Canterbury players, Mike Inkster and Nick ‘Brindle’ Brown, both front row forwards, have co-authored a work of historical fiction. ‘A Soldiers Gene’ traces one family and eight battles spread over a period of 850 years. Available in Kindle format or paperback from Amazon, it is already drawing favourable reviews as history seen in a different light. Mike says: “Brindle and I used to have long Sunday morning walks in the days before he deserted us to the colonies (Florida), We found we had a shared love of military history and I suggested that we put our combined knowledge together and write a book. After we both stopped laughing we started to consider the idea as not quite so far-fetched and ‘The Soldier’s Gene’ is the result. I had read somewhere that the famous American General, George Patton, believed that he was a reincarnated soldier who kept coming back generation after generation. Having your family’s genes passed down through the generations would seem far more likely and plausible than his assertion that he was the same soldier reincarnated endlessly, so that’s what we went with.” Look like that old joke about the pack of forwards where the back row could read, the second row could write and the front row knew somebody who could do both will have to be re-thought.
The link for the book is:
Two men who, in their different roles, have been the backbone of this club celebrated milestone birthdays recently. Chairman Giles Hilton hit the 60 mark last month while the Zingari team’s skipper, Colin Scurr, has reached his half century. Giles, now in his second spell as chairman, has a dual responsibility as Commercial Manager and his drive and business acumen have been pivotal to our progress. Colin’s remarkable record as a captain of club sides is unsurpassed. He led the 3rds for two years, the 4ths for nine years and has currently captained the Zingari for seven seasons. If he retains the captaincy of Zingari this year it will make a total of 19 continuous years at various levels. Both birthday parties lived up to rugby’s best liquid traditions.
The club is planning to host it’s first ever Christmas Market
on 9th December in our lunch marquee
Do you own a business that would like to be there?
If so email firstname.lastname@example.org and reserve your pitch for just £10. Volunteer Co-ordinator, Ian Lloyd, already has interest from sixteen potential stall holders. Jacqui Smallwood is going to build a Santa’s Grotto for the kids and Ian is now on the look out for someone to play Father Christmas. One prominent club official has already declined, probably because his ‘Ho Ho Ho’ would be loud enough to frighten whole families. Pitches for stalls can also be booked via the alucatiOn form on the club web site under Events.
IT’S BEER PROOF
The fashion world comes to Canterbury. The club is launching a superb new sports jacket for the discerning dresser, which of course means you. The jacket is available in three lengths – short, regular or long – and will cost £140. Try buying a quality jacket in a shop for that price and be prepared to faint. If you would like to order please contact Greg Mayne with your name, contact details and chest size (in inches). A £50 deposit will be required for each order. Each jacket will have a ‘beer proof. soft coating to prevent staining so you an all wear them at the bar. The club’s fashion adviser, David Sharma, says: “This is a must buy. It will fit perfectly under my anorak”