Canterbury Tales

Canterbury Tales

David Haigh

David Haigh

Press Officer



A recurrent and frustrating theme of narrow defeats has continued over the last two games. Against both Darlington Mowden Park and, last week, Chinnor the team have been competitive but again fell just short. One losing bonus point was a meagre return for all the effort and improvements the players have made.
Those who braved the weather and travelled to watch the game against an expensively assembled Chinnor side had only praise for our performance. To be denied even a point was justice as rough as the conditions. We have a steep slope to climb but this is no time for pessimism. We are learning and that elusive victory will come. A lengthy injury list is another challenge for Andy Pratt and his coaches but at Chinnor it gave opportunities to two debutants, full back Will Waddington and front row man Gene Syminton. There were good reports about the contribution of both players. A word of praise, too, for Alex Meads, the UK student who has stepped up from the Pilgrims and done very good job in the Number 12 shirt Another welcome addition to the squad list was Jonathan (JJ) Murray who made his first appearance of the season from the replacements bench. Having taken a break from game, together with heavy work commitments, JJ is now back in training. It is good to have one of last season’s leading try scorers available for selection. One negative from the Chinnor match was the red card issued late in the second half to Sean Stapleton. Our captain was sent off together with one of the home side’s players but having studied he video evidence he contested the decision. It was unsuccessful and he was banned from playing for six matches.


The injury situation in the senior squad is a real distraction as we approach the run up to Christmas. Currently missing are Sam Sterling, Tom Best, Harvey Young, Jamie Stephens, Kyan Braithwaite, Sam Kenny, Sam Rogers and Aiden Moss.
Harvey, Tom and Jamie all suffered knocks to head and, quite rightly, the game’s concussion protocol must be observed. That means a graduated return to playing with a mandatory two week lay-off then a further assessment at the end of the third week. All three are going through the process with Jamie hopeful of making a return next week. We will be without Sam Sterling, who has a broken thumb, for several weeks and Sam Rogers is being treated for a bulging disc. Prop Sam Kenny has knee damage and Aiden Moss is struggling with a trapped nerve.
On a more upbeat note. there is a good chance that scrum half Kyan Braithwaite will play against Richmond, having recovered from the heavy knock he suffered at Plymouth five weeks ago.


The last three games have shown that aspects of our game are now coming up to speed at this level. We deserved more out of the Chinnor match – an eight point loss scoring three tries is a kick in the teeth in terms of bonus points but we had real pride in the performance in really tough conditions against an extremely well-resourced squad. The toll of injuries has mounted but it has given some opportunities to second team players who have been doing so well in their league. Will Waddington came in at late notice to make his debut having only joined the club a few weeks previously and played very well. To be able to promote from within and look after ourselves is a real positive. Three of the injuries sustained versus Darlington were concussions. Awareness and education on concussion is vital to our sport as it is a real challenge (with some recent negative headlines) so I thought I should make clear what happens to our players in the event of a concussion. Professional teams have what is known as ‘advanced care settings’ where fully pro players can be monitored daily by trained doctors with access to specialist equipment. This often allows players to return to play within a few days of a concussion (for example, Dan Biggar at the World Cup). We do not have the luxury of this so follow the agreed protocol of two weeks’ mandatory rest from all playing, training and exercise. If players show no further symptoms they then follow a ‘graduated return to play’ in the third week where they can be cleared to play if they continue to be symptom free. So we may see some or all of those players injured v DMP return for next week. Players’ health is the number one priority – as maddening as that might be to some of them!
A big welcome to Richmond who we have not played in a few seasons now. Enjoy the game.
Andy Pratt, Head of Rugby

TIM SCOTT: 1964 TO 2019

It is with huge sadness that we learned this week of the death of Tim Scott, one of the original members of our Wheelchair Rugby squad, Canterbury Hellfire.
Tim was an ever present as the team climbed the leagues and was always able to hold his own even against the best players in the country. The annoying pick bar on Tim’s chair was used to the team’s advantage. He could sit still with a little smile on his face knowing that once he caught you, you were out of the game.
Tim was involved in every aspect of Hellfire and served on the committee as both the players representative and youth team coach, a role he carried out for Bromley Rugby Club before an accident confined him to a wheelchair. It never altered his zest for life and his fund raising activities even included taking part in the Canterbury Bike ride.
Wheelchair Rugby Chairman Brian Pitchford said: “Tim was a true clubman who inspired everyone around him. He never saw a problem but looked at life as a challenge. His engineers’ brain was always at work solving many issues that we had with chairs and equipment. He will be missed by the whole section, and our thoughts and love are with Nic, Fenn, Elliot, Tanya and all his family at this sad time”

The club is to hold its second Christmas Market and the date is Sunday, December 8th. The market will be open from 10am to 2pm and 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: where there is an application form.


Here’s the ideal way to take the strain out of the drive to Blackheath for our pre-Christmas game in December 21st. A supporters bus will be heading up the M2 from the club and it costs £30 per head including food. Bookings will be on a first come, first served basis so e-mail Giles Hilton at: and make sure of a seat.

Past Tales


CLOSING THE GAP While it is may be too early in the season to be debating relegation issues the failure to win any of our first seven games in National One has left us vulnerable. There is already a thirteen point gap between ourselves and the safety zone and we must...

Canterbury Tales

CLOSING THE GAP While it is may be too early in the season to be debating relegation issues the failure to win any of our first seven games in National One has left us vulnerable. There is already a thirteen point gap between ourselves and the safety zone and we must...


LESSONS IN THE PARK Once the National One fixture list was published it was clear that September was going to be a test of our resilience. That assessment has proved s to be spot on. We go into the last game of the month on the back of three defeats and with just two...


Sean Stapleton will lead the team in their first season in National Division One. The club have appointed the 31-year-old flanker as captain after he showed outstanding leadership skills in last season’s successful promotion campaign. “I am...

Do you have any old match programmes?

Steve Uglow is sorting out the club archives and making a start on writing our history - one valuable source is the match programme which, thanks to the efforts of David Haigh, contains huge amounts of information which is never picked up in...


THE CHALLENGES AHEAD This is a proud moment in the club’s history. Not only does 2019/20 mark our 90th season but also the first team’s arrival in the third tier of English rugby for the first time. Many people, both on and off the field and throughout the years must...


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...


THE LONG ROAD It has taken 32 years to arrive at theplay-off match, a historic signpost on the long road from 1987 when league rugby was introduced in England. In that time Canterbury have risen from the depths of Kent Division 2, won seven promotions and enjoyed...


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...


THE HOME STRAIGHT It’s tight and it’s going to stay that way. As we go into the final seven games of the season the battle for the promotion play-off spot is building to a hectic finale. Last weekend Henley stated their case with a thumping win over Taunton in their...


WORD CUP STARTS HERE The 2019 Rugby World Cup kicked off at the club on Saturday, February2nd, but on two wheels. Arriving with us before the Redruth game were two cyclists, Ron Rutland and James Owens, who are aiming for Tokyo and the start of the RWC. The first leg...

Canterbury Tales

HALF TERM REPORT If the final game of 2018 at Tonbridge Juddians was a disappointment it should not cloud the judgment of this season’s half term report. The statistics tell the story of a successful four months. We have won twelve of our sixteen matches, averaging 26...

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