Canterbury Tales

Canterbury Tales

David Haigh

CANTERBURY TALES

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 multiple Kent Cup successes. Now that steep climb has culminated in the most significant game since the club was a founded 90 years ago.
It is echoed by our opponents, Chester, who like us have reached the highest point in their history and are part of a perfect finale to an outstanding season for both clubs. Canterbury have the advantage of a home tie by virtue of a slightly better playing record but in a game like this a pitch is pitch, wherever it is situated, and it becomes a very level playing field once the whistle goes.
We have had to hold off some tough opposition to make the play-off, reflected in the final league table which puts us just one point ahead of Kent rivals Tonbridge Juddians. They have ended with one more win that Canterbury but a crucial difference of six bonus points has given us the advantage. Our free scoring brought plenty of try bonuses but when we analyze the season it will be places like Taunton, Redruth, Judds and Dings Crusaders that will be etched in the memory. We took a losing bonus point in all four of those away games and they have been precious. Then only team to deny us and beat us twice have been champions Rams and they showed their class in last week’s game. There was nothing riding on the result which made selection, ahead of the play-off, a tricky balancing act. We expect have a full squad that is fit and firing.

ANDY’S VIEW

As the chance of the play-off spot became more and more of a reality as the season progressed I was motivated by the thought of a big day for the club, either a great day out up north or a memorable occasion hosted by us. Playing in such a large league as ours means no room for any other meaningful competition, so it’s great to have a match that has a different almost cup final feel to it. This week, however, it’s all been about preparing to get the result we want. I have often used this programme column to thank the various supporters who make this club so fantastic. Today is no exception and I want to take this final chance to thank all the players and staff within the group for such a wonderful and memorable season. We have spoken in the week about how the 20 lads picked today are just seeing home the work of so many since we first hit pre-season way back in July. In particular, I’d like to single out Andy Rogers and John Mitchell for the tireless, and often frustrating, voluntary work they do to keep all the logistics running smoothly. John is taking a well-earned break at the end of the season and we wish him and Jacky all the best for their long planned travels.Enjoy the summer everyone and see you next season.
Andy Pratt, Head of Rugby

KNOWING CHESTER

Things you should know about the county town of Cheshire

The city was founded as a fort by the Romans in AD79 and was known as Deva. It was the scene of battles between the warring Welsh, from nearby North Wales, and the Saxons. So nothing much has changed there in rugby terms.

Situated on the River Dee, Chester became a major trading port until the power of neighbouring Liverpool overtook it.

In Georgian and Victorian times it was seen as a place of escape from the industrial cities of Manchester and Liverpool and, like Canterbury, Tourists flock to the city today which is the best in the North West

Chester has two miles of the most complete Roman city walls in Britain; a unique area of medieval shops – two tier buildings above street level; a racecourse, The Roodee, close to the heart of the city; a cathedral, a university, a great zoo and a Roman amphitheatre. It has a population of 118,000, the largest in the county.

Canterbury’s first team manager, Andy Rogers, played for Chester in 1993. Is it co-incidence the club has gone from strength to since he left?

PILGRIMS PLATE

A great performance by our Pilgrims side saw them lift the Kent Plate in last Sunday’s final against Westcombe Park. They beat the London Division One club’s first team 39-31 to round of a good season in which they finished runners-up in Invicta Division One despite scoring a load of points and having the most wins. Why? We will explain in the bar. The victory is tribute to the work of coaches Alex Veale and Steve Oram and the determination of manager John Mitchell to get a team on the park what ever the difficulties. Fist team calls, injuries and availabilities saw a huge throughput of players but, unlike some other clubs, Pilgrims have fulfilled their obligations. Second team rugby is still a mess which the RFU have failed to sort out but its value as a pathway to the senior squad is important at Canterbury

SPITFIRE SEVENS
Is the rugby season at The Marine Travel Ground all over? No it’s not. The Spifire Sevens are with us on Saturday, May18th when local sides come to the festival. It’s a real opportunity to see old friends from all over East Kent.
Confirmed teams include Ashford, Belsize Park, Canterbury, Canterbury Christ Church University, Dover, Faversham, University of Kent and Young Pretenders RFC.

BBQ, band (Dune Acoustic) and bar open. It a starts at mid-day.

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.

Past Tales

CANTERBURY TALES

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...

CANTERBURY TALES

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...

CANTERBURY TALES

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...

CANTERBURY TALES

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...

CANTERBURY TALES

A GROWING MATURITY Seven and counting. That’s the story of the first team’s winning run which started back in October with a home victory over Clifton. The target now is to maintain that good form through to the Christmas break and that will not be easy. Our opponents...

CANTERBURY TALES

IN THE PINK There wa a colourful new look about the first team when they ran out for the Old Albanian game.. Pink shirts awere the order of the day, and not just for the players but for everyone there to watch the game as we showed our support for cancer care charity...

CANTERBURY TALES

TRAVELLING WELL 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...

CANTERBURY TALES

STRENGTH IN DEPTH After a sharp reminder in our opening game of what is required to be competitive in National2 South there were plenty of positives to be taken from the last two matches. The derby win over Tonbridge Juddians was the tonic needed and there were...

Canterbury Tales Summer break

We are taking a summer break. Come back soon for all the pre-season news and gossip as and when it happens.