Tom Best – 300
Tom Best, the long serving first team vice-captain, will reach a special landmark when he takes the field for Saturday’s league game against Worthing. It will be Tom’s 300tth senior game for the club in a career that encompasses fifteen seasons. He made his debut as a teenager in March 2010 and since then has been one of first names on the team sheet. Joining from Deal, Tom quickly established himself as a goal kicking fly half before proving in recent seasons to be equally effective at centre. He is still bringing high quality attacking skills, uncompromising defence and the ability to read a game which are an example to his younger team mates. It has not all been plain sailing for the 34-year-old who has had his share of long term injuries which, cumulatively, robbed him of two seasons playing time.. But he reckons the lows have been outstripped by the highs. In particular, Tom cherishes a victory over Henley, which took the club to a play-off place, and a famous day at high flying Hartpury College whose side included future internationals Ross Moriarty and Billy Burns In the dying minutes he kicked a difficult penalty goal to give Canterbury victory after trailing by 28 points at half time. From a rugby playing family, Tom had the pleasure of teaming up with his younger brother Ollie in the Canterbury back division for an extended spell. For the past eight years he has worked for the Kent Fire Service and pays tribute to his fellow firefighters for helping to sustain his rugby career. “They have been brilliant in changing their work schedules to cover my shifts,” he says. “Without them I would not still be playing.” And thoughts on retirement?. No decisions yet but coaching is in the sights of a player who never shirks a challenge.