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New Season & Renewed Belief
posted: August 30 2019

To get us in good shape for the new season, the club entertained Vigo and Old Williamsonians in consecutive weeks under lights at The Mote. Both opposition sides provided strong packs and intelligent backs, which was believed to have been a good test to see how far the preseason work has come along.

As well as returning faces such as Luke Debnam & Ben Weston, the game also had a number of debuts. Louis Frost, Peter Simpson, Jay Tobbell, Bailey May, Ben Tugwell, Jordan Dabnor & of course Lead Coach George Flatman all made their 1st XV squad bows.

Vigo presented problems in the first quarter and took the lead, only for Maidstone to have a storming second quarter and scores posted by MoTM Tom Chandler and Jason Hazlehurst. In the absence of Euan Caborn, it was Jason Smith who slotted the extras. Vigo pressed to score again, but Maidstone's defence showed great progression and stayed resolute. In attack, they did manage to stretch the tough Vigo side, but the pitch width and oppositions determination thwarted any further scores.

Old Williamsonians arrived with a strong pack and some classy backs, which made some inroads early on, to take a well deserved 0 - 7 lead. Maidstone responded well once the cobwebs had been shaken, with Joe Burden making no less than five tackles in a row to keep the visitors tails from really rising. Eventually, it looked as though Maidstone's fitness was going to show through, taking a 22-12 lead into halftime. Back the visitors came though, with their second wind and onslaught. The highlight which shows all of the hard preseason work, was seeing Maidstone camped on their line and down to 13 men, pushing back the oppositions scrum for a turnover. Showing grit and tenacity, they hammered their way up the pitch to score in the corner, rounding off the game at 34 - 12.

To Vigo and Old Williamsonians, we say thank you for coming down and we wish both teams the very best for the upcoming season. Both sides showed some fantastic skill and handling, which we are sure will cause many teams all kinds of problems in the months ahead.

For Maidstone, the real test begin with a tricky opener away to Old Colfeians on Saturday 14th September. Spaces are available on the coach for supporters and we know the lads would love to have your support on the sidelines against a very, very, strong opposition for the league opener.



3rd Team Captaincy Announcement
posted: July 10 2019

The club is delighted to report that Mike Gillies has agreed to Captain the 3rd (Barbarians) team for the upcoming season. Mike started in his native Warminster before becoming the ever present scrum-half for the Barbarians, playing well below his capable level. His leadership on the pitch and ethos will continue to be a great addition to the club and to all players within the side, both novice and seasoned.

With players both old and new returning back this term, the season looks bright for Maidstone's competitive social side. Not only is there an array of talent within the squads, but also the blend of corinthian spirit of players getting involved just to have fun. So, if you are a player returning to rugby or a player that likes a competitive and yet social game, then get down to training and see what it's all about.



AGM: Committee Announcement
posted: July 26 2019

The Annual General Meeting for Maidstone Rugby took place at The Mote on Thursday 25th July.

With great thanks to Melanie White for all of her work as Honorary Secretary, she now steps down in the role. Her efforts and diligence will be very much missed. After ratification, Brian McKeon an ex-player and long term member of the club will take the position as of August 1st 2019. The club and committee welcomes Brian to the position and have every confidence that he will have the skills required to fulfil the role as an officer of the club.

Minutes of the meeting are available by request from members.



Preseason Matches
posted: July 22 2019

Before the league season kicks off for the 1st XV away to Old Colfeians on September 14th, two preseason games have been scheduled. Both games provide the opportunity to try out different combinations and for the coaches to assess the talent pool ahead of the new season. There looks to be some terrific competition for places, so there will be some added interest to an otherwise usual set of standard preseason friendly games.

Both games will be held under lights at The Mote, with the bar open as usual. We hope that you can come on down, see how things are shaping up, as well as support the 'Stones ahead of the regular season.

Tuesday 20th August v Vigo

Thursday 29th August v Old Williamsonians

Both games are planned to kick off around 7.30pm.



Next Players Forum: Thursday 15th August UPDATE
posted: July 19 2019

The next players forum will now be held at the club on Thursday 15th August, after training. It's an opportunity for all senior players of the club to discuss how preseason is shaping up and going forward into the new season.

All senior players are welcome to join and share their views.



Preseason Underway
posted: July 08 2019

Preseason is underway with nearly sixty players in attendance for the first week. Lead Coach George Flatman and Backs Coach Dave Charlton have been putting on versatile sessions, that cater for & include all levels within the club. These not only focus on fitness, but more ball in hand rugby orientated drills as well.

The first sessions included players from the latest crop of 18yr olds, all the way through to Veterans.

A club that trains together, wins together, so get on down and see what it's all about.

Training sessions are currently at the club Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7.15pm. The popular Fatboys run by Club Captain Shaun Neaves and assisted by D.o.R. Pete Barford continue on Saturdays for sixty minutes from 11am.



Veterans Captaincy Handover
posted: June 14 2019

 

After three years Neil Cole has stepped down from being the Veterans skipper. Neil worked tirelessly with his little black book of contacts to get a strong Veterans side out each week. Introducing the old favourites back of oranges at halftime and a pot of tea after the game, the Vets went from strength to strength. During the injury crisis of last year, they stepped up to help out up the club and even took some noticeable scalps along the way. Neil and his wife Sharon also worked behind the scenes to organise the Summer Balls for the club.

During his last season, Karim Neseyif was shadowing to take over the mantle as Captain. Karim has been around the club for several years, playing in the Barbarians before transitioning to the Veterans. The Veterans is the perfect, welcoming social side to fit into, if you want to get involved again with Rugby but feel the body perhaps cannot do what the brain is telling it to! They also run a cracking Tour every season, seeking out the finest ale establishments along the way.

The club wholeheartedly thanks Neil Cole for his great tenure and we look forward to seeing Karim at the helm.



Role Vacant: Honorary Secretary
posted: July 01 2019

After two seasons, Melanie White will be stepping down as the Clubs Secretary.

If any club member is interested in the role, please contact Club Chairman Craig Tuffrey in the first instance. The role involves taking the Committee Meeting notes at the monthly meetings and updating the clubs online directory. From time to time, there will be documents for signing and discussions that will need your input in the capacity of a Club Officer.

The role would take up a few hours a month and would suit somebody with good administration skills and a good knowledge of the club.



Coaching Announcement
posted: June 13 2019

The club is pleased to announce the recruitment of George Flatman as Lead Coach for next season. George will take on the role from July onwards, inclusive of roles as both our Forwards Coach and player. Dave Charlton's role will continue as Backs Coach.

George has been coaching since the age of 14 years old, running sessions at Canterbury Rugby Club and coaching in a number of schools. He is a Level 2 coach in both rugby and cricket and is working towards his Level 3 in rugby. He has a degree in Sports Coaching Science and was President of St Mary's Mens Rugby from 2015 to 2017, where he increased the number of qualified coaches from 11 to 56 and worked closely with the RFU to deliver targets for the club. More recently, he has been Player Coach at Thamesians RFC, where he coached both the men's and the newly formed women's teams. George is also a Coach Educator at the Bank of England Sports Club where he helps to make parents more effective coaches.
 
Pete Barford commented, "Both Dave Charlton & myself are excited at the prospect of working with George, not only for what he will bring as a coach with new ideas and a fresh approach, but also for what he will add as a player. We had a long and in-depth discussion at the end of which I was convinced that he will make a big difference at the club. George significantly impressed at training at the end of last season and I was aware of his previous coaching work, hence the meeting. He has a confident way about him, is an excellent communicator and has refined observation skills".
 
The club would like to thank those members who stepped up and showed an interest in the role.

 



Sad News: Kevin Murphy
posted: June 20 2019

It is with great sadness that we have to report the death of Kevin Murphy whose health has been steadily deteriorating over the last year few years

Kevin Joined Maidstone Football Club in about 1975 and played for the B and ExA teams where he took over the captain’s role for the ExA in 1977 and ran the side for 5 years. He was a founder member of the Vets team and played through until the 1990 season.

He was a very competent full back and his ability to confuse the opposition with his walking sidestep was a thing of beauty to behold. At full back, this put him in a great position, he thought, to advise the referee on his decisions and would let the ref know if he thought a mistake was made.

Off the field he knew where all the little back street pubs were with good real ale. He was the first person we knew to have a mobile phone albeit brick size, and would phone ahead to the restaurant and book us in, we were impressed.

An amazing character that leaves us with so many great memories.

Our thoughts are with Jo and family at this very sad time.



Latest 500 Club Winners
posted: June 10 2019

 

Here are the latest winners of the 500 club draws.

April
£100 Steve Matthews
£50   Barry Topple
£50   Nic Cracknell
£30   James Findlay
 
May
£100 Steve Vincent
£50   Tom Challis
£50   James Findlay
£30   Paul Ehrhart
 

 



NatWest Rugby Force - Sat 22nd June
posted: June 17 2019

NatWest Rugby Force 22nd June

The club will again be participating in the Natwest Rugby Force weekend on the 22/23 June.  The aim this year is a major ground tidy up on the immediate pitch surrounds of the 1st XV pitch, but more importantly along the perimeter fence lines that surround the ground along the rugby boundaries.

When? Saturday 22nd June @ 10:00am

Where? The Rugby Club

What?  As mentioned above, the day is ground maintenance orientated.

How? The aim is to split into a number of teams each with specific roles. There are some paving slabs to be laid, weedkilling and strimming/brushcutting to be done and some paths & steps to be cleared, plus other odd jobs that need doing.

The day will be capped off with a BBQ and some refreshments.

What part do you play? Your participation is critical, there is significant work to be done and this is not a task that can just be left to the dedicated few who always turn up; whether you can spare the whole day, or just a couple of hours you participation is crucial to making this a success.  Those of you that have petrol driven strimmers or brushcutters, or even hand hedge cutters/loppers and other garden implements, then if you could also bring them along it would be appreciated. It is recommended that all participants bring a pair of gardening gloves.

The whole thing shgouldn't take too long and your help would be appreciated, remember, if you as members can’t be bothered to help out, then you end up with the club you deserve.



One Year Lookahead - Discussion 25 June 7.30pm
posted: June 05 2019

 
On Tuesday 25 June at 7.30pm Pete Barford will discuss his One Year Lookahead plan that has been approved by the club. 

Any member of the club is welcome to come along to listen and then ask any questions about the plan.This is the perfect forum at the club to discuss the direction of playing and integration.



Announcement:: Forwards Coach steps down
posted: June 04 2019

The club is disappointed to announce that Steve Millward has stepped down from his role in the coaching team. 'Milly' has been a popular figure in the coaching set up for a number of years and took on extra responsibility last season when a number of changes were introduced to ensure the club stayed in London 2 (South East). The club would like to thank Milly for his sterling work and commitment to the cause.

Pete Barford, Director of Rugby, further commented "We worked well together over the second half of last season and I know Milly will be making this decision with regret. We had a difficult discussion but a constructive one. However, the club has to cut its cloth to suit the budget for next season and the situation is what it is. Milly knows he will always be welcome at the club and we have parted on amicable terms"

 
Pete has started the process of looking for a replacement in the coaching set up and is confident of starting formal week day training on Tuesday 2nd July with a full coaching team.


Ups & Downs, A review of the season for Kent's clubs
posted: May 22 2019

Around the Grounds

An End of Season Summary

English Clubs Championship

National 1: The last two seasons have seen the promotion battle very much a ‘one horse race’ as Hartpury and then Coventry romped to secure promotion by a wide margin; not so this time around.  Chinnor were the early season leaders but fell off the pace in mid-season as a group of 4 or 5 clubs fought for promotion.  Both Blackheath and Elthamians were very much in the mix going into the last quarter of the campaign, along with Ampthill, Rosslyn Pk and Rotherham.  In the end it became a battle between Elthamians and Ampthill and the early March clash between the two is probably what decided the issue with the Hertfordshire club taking the points and going on to clinch the title leaving the SE London club to think what might have been.  Blackheath’s challenge also fell away in the second half of the campaign where losses to the eventual winners, plus Rosslyn Pk who finished third, and a couple of mid-table sides saw them drift off the pace to eventually finish fourth.

At the foot of the table Loughborough Students, Esher & Caldy struggled throughout, although the battle for survival wasn’t lost until the final weekends and the final places weren’t decided until the last day.  Loughborough faced an uphill struggle against  champions Ampthill and lost out heavily, Esher were reliant on other results and did what was needed but couldn’t recreate Loughborough’s escape act of last season, whilst for Caldy and Cambridge, their fate was in their own hands. In the end Caldy fell to last day defeat at fellow strugglers Moseley and relegation, whilst a Cambridge win saw them live to fight another season

National 2(South): O Redingensians or Rams as they became shortly after the season started, pretty much took the division by the scruff of the neck very early on and had built a big enough advantage by the mid-season point to ride out any slip ups in the second half of the campaign as they coasted to take the title in early April.  The chasing pack consisted of four clubs, who themselves had a significant cushion over the mid-table melee.  Both Canterbury and Tonbridge Juddians were in that chasing group, with Canterbury very much leading the chase from the mid-season point, whilst TJ’s were largely at the tail end of the group at the halfway stage.  Both clubs kept their form as first Taunton and then Henley stuttered with TJs very much coming up on the rails.  Whilst they never really got close enough to really challenge, they were always in with a shout and in the end finished third, having kept their county rivals always looking over their shoulder and just a point shy of their total.  Canterbury, having taken the playoff place, went on to meet London 2(N) club Chester who had finished behind Hull Ionians, with Canterbury taking the tie 19-10 to join Blackheath and Elthamians in National 1 next season.

At the foot of the table there was a group of three clubs that pretty much struggled throughout and by the time the season went into the last quarter Guernsey, Ldn Irish WG and Birmingham & Solihull (B&S) had noticeably fallen adrift of the field. Having narrowly avoided the drop last season Ldn Irish WG were relegated in the latter part of March, with Guernsey joining them in early April with B&S’s relegation confirmed a week later following defeat by the league champions.

London & SE Premier: The promotion battle had no county involvement and was a three way battle from pretty much the season mid-point, with Sutton & Epsom (S&E), Westcliff and Wimbledon competing for the promotion places in a battle that wasn’t decided until the final weekend.  Each of the clubs appeared unable to take the advantage as they all slipped up against mid-table opposition, in the end it was Tring that decided the issue, Having beaten both S&E and Westcliff on the run in, they then torpedoed Wimbledon’s hopes of an immediate return to National 2, leaving S&E as the league champions and Westcliff to go on to face Barnstaple in the promotion playoff, a match which they went on to win convincingly

For the counties clubs, promising starts somewhat faded and both clubs ended in mid-table, with Sidcup as they did last season, slipping down the table and flirting with the relegation battle.  After a promising first season in the division last year, Tunbridge Wells might have expected a better campaign this time around but it was their propensity to lose to sides below them and beat sides above them that saw them hovering on the edge of the danger zone for a large part the season, and whilst other results never really saw them in danger it probably made for an uncomfortable campaign. That said, the end of March saw the relegation issues sorted, with Shelford, who endured a torrid campaign having their relegation confirmed in mid-February, they will drop into Ldn 1 (N) along with the two clubs promoted from that division last term, in Brentwood and Chingford.

London 1 (South):  What a nail-biter this division was, with just a single point separating four clubs going into the last month of the campaign; and the promotion battle literally going down to the wire with both Medway and Sevenoaks involved.  Brighton and Medway had set the early pace but both clubs had wobbles and Sevenoaks and Camberley were able to maintain station. In the end both of the early season leaders potentially saw their hopes dashed in the home straight, as first Brighton stumbled and Medway’s challenge dissolved with three defeats in the closing stages of the campaign.  The final day saw Sevenoaks take the title, but it was a gritty comeback on the last weekend by Brighton at fellow challengers Camberley, that saw them snatch the runners up spot and the promotion playoff place against Colchester, an encounter which in windy conditions saw them again came from behind to take the promotion place.

At the bottom of the table Hove anchored the division and were relegated by mid-February, and they were joined by Chobham at the end of March with Tottonians the other side to join them after the likes of Havant and Chichester, who both had poor first halves to their campaigns, moved clear of danger.  Of the county’s other representatives; Dartfordians enjoyed a solid first half to the campaign before flirting with the drop zone in the third quarter of the season, eventually finishing eleventh, whilst Westcombe Pk, who might have been expected to challenge for promotion were never quite on the pace as they finished in mid-table.

London 2(South East): In a division dominated by Kent clubs, it was Beckenham that took the title at the end of March, last season they were in the running but showed greater consistency this time round to finish clear of Horsham in the playoff spot.  Very much like last term, the battle for the playoff place was fought between several clubs, although the closing weekends saw that crystallise to a battle between Horsham and Charlton Park as both O Colfeians and Haywards Heath dropped away, with the Horsham securing the runner-up spot on the final weekend.  At the bottom end of the table both of the relegation places were finalised on the same weekend with Aylesford dropping straight back down to London 3 along with bottom club Heathfield & Waldron.   For the rest of the county’s clubs it was mid-table mediocrity with Gravesend in the top half of the table whilst Maidstone, Dover, D&B and Thanet all struggled at some point through the campaign.

London 3(South East):  Crowborough were the only Sussex club in the top half of a division dominated by Kent clubs last season; always one of the front runners this time around they had built a healthy lead by the season mid-point, going on to secure promotion and the league title at the end of March. It was Kent clubs that provide the competition with Beccehamians and Vigo always in the hunt with Folkestone recovering from a very poor start to the campaign to be in with an outside chance in the closing stages of the season. In the end it was Beccehamians that secured the promotion spot on the last day of the campaign, from Folkestone who will no doubt look back at their awful start to the season, and Vigo who finished fourth.

Of the rest, Pulborough never quite strung together the consistency to sustain their challenge.  At the bottom end of the table Hellingly’s withdrawal meant there would be just two relegation places this term, with any of the bottom half of the table likely to be dragged into the struggle.  In the end Lewes were relegated in mid-March, and as Park House lifted themselves clear of danger it was between Hastings & Bexhill and Bromley as to who would fill the other spot.  The matter was decided on the penultimate weekend as the same match Beccehamians secured their promotion and Hastings were consigned to relegation.

Shepherd Neame Kent 1:  Ashford took the league title at something of a canter, strengthened by returning players they proved to have too much firepower for the competition.  Anchorians put in a good season to take the playoff spot against Crawley, which they subsequently won, although a slight wobble in the closing stages could have seen them caught by Cranbrook who very much came up on the rails in the in the final weeks of the campaign to finish fourth.  O Gravesendians for long periods looked like potential challengers but fell away in the second half of the season and finished in fifth place.  At the bottom, the withdrawal of RBS meant just the one relegation place and in many ways it was a formality as Sheppey suffered a horrendous season to finish well adrift at the bottom and drop to the Kent 1.  There was very much a top and bottom section to this division with Foots Cray, Whitstable and New Ash Green very much the bottom half of the table with a 18-point separation between them and the top section occupied by the promotion chasers and mid-table, Kings College Hosp and HSBC.

Shepherd Neame Kent 2:  It was newcomers Cliffe Crusaders that were the pace setters, taking top spot early in the campaign and going on to take the title in their debut season in the leagues.  The battle for the other promotion place was really between three clubs with Sittingbourne falling away leaving Faversham and Lordswood to battle it out in a contest that went to the final two weekends of the campaign as the top three clubs were pitted against each other, with Faversham eventually taking the promotion place. At the bottom of the table Askean anchored the table from Greenwich, with Dartford Valley the other club in what was a clearly delineated bottom three in the table.

RFU Cup Competitions:

Intermediate Cup: Seven of the county’s clubs entered the competition with varying degrees of success as Aylesford, Beckenham, Dover and Maidstone all fell at the first hurdle.  The remaining sides all made good inroads into the regional competition in reaching the semi-final stage.  Inevitably at least one would exit at that point and whislt Gravesend went out to fellow Kent club O Colfeians, Charlton Park, who have a good recent record in this competition, were unlucky to lose out Letchworth 20-21 with a converted penalty that was the last kick of the match.  The final saw Colfes always in control to take the regional trophy 12-34 and progress to face Gloucestershire club Matson in the national semi-final.  In a match that proved to be a game of two distinct halves, Colfes roared to an 18-0 lead at the interval before losing out 18-19 at the close, having seen a long range penalty attempt ricochet off the posts in the dying minutes.  In the national final Colfe’s conquerors Matson lost out 32-26 to a well drilled Kenilworth outfit.

Senior Vase:  Only three of the county’s eligible entered this year’s competition, with both Folkestone and O Dunstonians exiting in the first round, Bromley, whose recent record in this competition has been good, fell at the next hurdle as they lost out to Portsmouth, who would go on to take the regional title against Chelmsford, but eventually fall to Devon club Honiton in the national semi-final, who then went on to take the national trophy against Northallerton in a very tight 29-27 contest.

Junior Vase:  In what is the largest of the RFU Cup competitions, this season saw just six Kent clubs enter a tournament that suffered badly with walkovers in the opening rounds. Bexley exited in the first round with Greenwich and Sittingbourne progressing, although Sittingbourne with some good fortune despite losing their fixture against London Media.  In a second round racked with walkovers that saw only five of the sixteen scheduled matches take place, Greenwich exited leaving Anchorians, Ashford, New Ash Green and Sittingbourne to progress.  New Ash Green departed in the third round with Sittingbourne going out in the  quarter-finals along with a much fancied Ashford side who lost out to Reeds Weybridge who would eventually go on to take the regional title on their way to Twickenham.  Anchorians made the regional semi-finals, but suffered a heavy 68-0 defeat at Hitchin, who were then comfortably beaten by Reeds Weybridge who went on to defeat O Cryptians in the national semi-final.  Reeds went on to take the national title in a rather one sided contest against Yorkshire club Thornensians 42-5.

Shepherd Neame Kent Cup Competitions

Kent Cup:  Just six of the nine eligible clubs entering a tournament that saw only one fixture played prior to a repeat of last year’s final between Sidcup & O Elthamians. Elthamians started quickly held the early advantage, pushing out to a 17-3 lead in the first quarter before Sidcup began to get into their stride and pegged them back to a 17-15 scoreline at the half-time interval.  Elthamians started quickly again in the second half, extending their lead to 24-15 before a succession of three Elthamians tries and a penalty in the middle period of the half took the score out to 48-15, ensuring there would be no repeat of last year’s result where Sidcup took the trophy in the dying minutes.  It wasn’t until the final 10 minutes and with a man advantage that Sidcup were able to respond with two converted tries of their own before a final flourish by Elthamians to lift the Kent Cup for the first time in their history with a 55-29 scoreline.

Kent Shield: Now in its third season, this competition for teams at Levels 7 & 8 saw less than half the available clubs enter, and again a competition littered with walkovers.  Of the round one fixtures only one was played as part of the preseason preparations. Of the semi-finals, only Charlton Park’s match against Aylesford took place, with Gravesend benefiting from a walkover in the other and reaching the final without ever having to put their boots on.  The final was always a close encounter with Charlton Pk holding a narrow 8-6 advantage at the interval and with the lead change hands during the second half.  In the end in a contest where there was little to separate the two sides, it was Gravesend who held off some late Charlton Park pressure to take the trophy 23-26

Kent Plate: Entry into the Plate is for losers of their first fixture in either the Cup or Shield competitions; and ended with a Canterbury v Westcombe Pk final without a ball ever being kicked.  Nonetheless, the final proved an enthralling and high scoring encounter in which the advantage swung back and forth with the lead changing hands on five occasions.  In what was always a close contest it was Canterbury’s Pilgrims that lifted the trophy with a 31-39 scoreline. 

Kent Vase: It would appear that there is much more enthusiasm for the county cup competitions amongst the junior clubs with 23 entering the Vase competition and out of the 19 fixtures up to the final only five were conceded to walkovers, which is a credit to all the clubs concerned. To mention all the matches would be impossible, but some of the fixtures of note were the efforts of league debutants Cliffe Crusaders who made it to the quarter-finals before falling to eventual finalists Kings College; and non-league Ash, Ashford Barbarians and Swanley who all went out in the opening round. Their participation in the competition is most welcome, and without wishing to be political, their willingness to compete perhaps an example to some of the senior clubs. The semi-finals saw Kent 2 club Bexley concede to Kings College whilst the other semi also resulted in a walkover with Ashford being given the concession by O Gravesendians.  The final saw Ashford always in control to complete a successful season with an 18-3 victory to lift the trophy.

Kent Salver: Only four clubs failed to transfer to the Salver through conceding their fixtures and pleasingly the competition progressed through three rounds with only one further walkover.  The semi-finals saw Cranbrook fall 19-27 to Southwark Lancers, whilst in the other Faversham were 29-7 victors against Sittingbourne.  In the final Faversham took a slender 7-5 advantage into the interval but it was Southwark who looked like picking up the trophy having moved into a 7-15 lead, but the ‘castaways’ came back with two further scores to eventually lift the Salver with a narrow 17-15 win.

 

London & SE Promotion & Relegation Summary

National 1

Promoted: Ampthill.

Relegated: Esher, Loughborough Students and Caldy

National 2 (S)

Promoted: Rams and Canterbury (Playoff v Chester (Nat 2N))

Relegated: Ldn Irish WG, Guernsey and Birmingham & Solihull

London & SE Premier

Promoted: Sutton & Epsom and Westcliff (Playoff v Barnstaple (SW Prem))

Relegated: Shelford, Brentwood and Chingford

London 1 (N)

Promoted: Rochford Hundred

Runners Up: Colchester                        

Relegated: Diss, Luton and Fullerians 

London 1 (S)                                         

Promoted: Sevenoaks and Brighton (Playoff v Colchester (Ldn 1(N))

Relegated: Hove, Chobham and Tottonians

London 2 (SE)

Promoted: Beckenham and Horsham (playoff v Farnham (L2SW))

Relegated: Aylesford Bulls and Heathfield & Waldron

London 2 (SW)

Promoted: KCS OB

Runners Up: Farnham

Relegated:  Effingham & Leatherhead and Gosport & Fareham

London 3 (SE)

Promoted: Crowborough and Beccehamians

Relegated: Lewes and Hastings & Bexhill (Hellingly – withdrew)

London 3 (SW)

Promoted: Winchester and Battersea Ironsides

Relegated: Teddington, Petersfield and O Whitgiftian

Shepherd Neame Kent Division 1

Promoted:  Ashford and Gillingham Anchorians (playoff v Crawley (Sussex1))

Relegated: Sheppey (RBS - withdrew)

Shepherd Neame Kent Division 2

Promoted: Cliffe Crusaders and Faversham

Sussex 1

Promoted: Uckfield

Runners Up: Crawley

Note: Promotion/relegation between Kent Div 1 & 2 does not take account of potential restructuring during the closed season.

 



MFC Youth Academy & Structure
posted: May 07 2019

 

The club is pleased to announce the start of the Youth Academy at Maidctone FC. These changes are being introduced as part of the One Year Look ahead plan from Director of Rugby, Pete Barford.

Academy Coach

Under the direction of of the D.o.R. the club is pleaseed to announce the appointment of Mick Walker as the Academy Coach for next season. 

The Academy will be formed of players from next season's U16s, U17s and U18s, based on what Pete has seen last season in terms of potential, character and attitude. 'In the future, I believe that it should be the case that every player from the relevant age groups should aspire to be part of the Academy' said Pete. 'The formation of an Academy will allow youth players to build together, establish new relationships and be coached outside of the 'comfort' of their own age group'. As for his choice to kick start the future, Pete said 'Mick was an obvious choice to me and having spoken a number of times to him about his passion to coach again, Mick showed the enthusiasm required plus he has the credentials to deliver the role'. Mick has an extensive and varied CV, with notable success with the Army U21s, who were undefeated for three years under his tenure, periods at North Walsham in National League and then Sheppey. He was also involved in the development of the successful Aylesford Ladies team and more recently the all conquering Mustangs team from two seasons ago, which now forms the core of the current 1st Team. 

Discussions have taken place with the Head Coaches from the relevant age groups and the Youth Chairs about the introduction of the Academy and the concept has been positively received. 

An initial group of 25 players will be selected within the next week and a meeting held with them prior to the start of next season to discuss expectations.

School & University Liaisons

Separately, Pete has made two further appointments that close some loopholes he identified from his knowledge of the past and the time he has had during last season as both Youth Rugby Manager and covering for Director of Rugby.

Jamie Mills will become the University Players Liaison and will provide a link with all players going to university from the club. Jamie will be setting up a database covering future university players and also looking to capture information relating to those who are already at university. Pete commented 'We need to be spot on in the way we deal with those who go on to further their education and make them feel that they are still very much part of the club'. He added 'It also does not make any sense that someone as capable and successful in his time within the Youth Section as Jamie is no longer involved with the club'.

The final appointment is Gavin Allwright as Schools Liaison. Gavin has already done a lot of work with a number of schools over the last two seasons but his role will be a broader one based on the relationships with schools established last year by Pete. Pete commented ' Gavin is a big character and he is a smart thinker and we need to be smart when we deal with schools as opportunities for both contributing to player development and recruitment clearly exist'. Gavin will also continue to be part of the coaching set up for the Colts team next season.



Fat Boys Training 2019
posted: April 30 2019

The ever popular "Fat Boys Training" returns for the summer, on Saturday June 1st at 11am on the Somme - and guess what?  You don't need to be fat to attend - or even a boy for that matter, but you do need to be 16 or over. 

Hosted by the never popular Shaun Neaves, you can be sure he will put you through considerable discomfort in the interests of making you a better, fitter and more committed rugby-player - and human-being (which are not entirely incompatible objectives).

He advises that you should bring water and boots and, in the interests of decency, clothing of some description.

 


Around the Grounds
posted: May 05 2019

National 2 Promotion Playoff:  I had the good fortune to be invited to this fixture and quite a day it was, my thanks to Shepherd Neame for the invitation, it was most appreciated.  More important was the on the pitch display which saw Canterbury prevail over opponents Chester with a 19-10 scoreline.  In a match played largely in sunshine the early pressure came from the home side with the first scoring opportunity a penalty which drifted wide of the posts.  Chester then began to get back into the match and were first on the scoreboard after a penalty gave them the territory and they were able to cross from the resultant lineout.  With little between the two sides much of the half was then played in midfield and it was only in the closing stages that Cant began to exert pressure in the Chester 22m, Eventually the visitors solid defence cracked as Canterbury crossed and with the conversion successful held a slender 7-5 advantage at the interval.  A half-time hailstorm had just about cleared by the restart and again the two sides found themselves locked together in a largely midfield battle until the closing minutes of the third quarter saw a good piece of anticipation with Canterbury intercepting a loose pass on halfway, which completely flatfooted the Chester players who were set in attacking mode as the ball was dotted down under the posts. Another try wide on the right a short while later looked like it might settle the affair as the lead stretched to 19-5 but Chester fought on manfully although it wasn’t until the dying seconds of the match that they were able to score their second try.  Congratulations to Canterbury on a great effort and a great result as they now join Blackheath and Elthamians in National 1.

RFU Cup National Finals:

Intermediate Cup:  Kenilworth always had just a bit too much for Matson who had beaten Colfes in the semi-final.  Despite conceding almost from the kickoff Kenilworth were 14-5 up inside 10 minutes and when a penalty and a further try took the score to 22-5, it looked like Matson were dead & buried.  A late first half rally reduced the deficit to 22-12 at the interval and when the teams reappeared for the second half, the game restarted at a furious pace with both sides on the scoreboard in double-quick time.  With the score at 27-19 the game settled into long periods of Kenilworth pressure, but unable to inflict the decisive blow it was Matson who scored next to set up a tense final ten minutes with the score at 27-26.  In the end it was Kenilworth who kept their nerve to cross for a try with 4 minutes remaining to take the Cup 26-32

Senior Vase: This was a very tight match that ebbed and flowed with Northallerton first on the scoreboard with a penalty after 15 minutes, little the two sides but it was Honiton’s two tries against the one from the opposition that gave them a 12-10 advantage at the change round.  The second half followed much the same vein as the first with scores for both sides as Honition led 19-17 going into the final quarter.  Two quick Northallerton scores looked like they were going to snatch the trophy before the Devon club responded with tries of their own to take the Senior Vase 29-27.

Junior Vase:  Of the three club finals today this was perhaps the most one-sided as Yorkshire club Thornensians had no real answer to the attacking Reeds Weybridge, who had pretty much wrapped the game up by half-time as they ran in five unanswered tries at regular intervals to take a 35-0 lead into the break.  Thorne did get on the scoreboard early in the second half to reduce the deficit, but that was as good as it got with Reeds scoring again with what was really the last meaningful play of the match to take the trophy 42-5



Sad News: Reg Dancer - FUNERAL DETAILS UPDATE
posted: May 03 2019

The club is saddened to hear the news of the passing of Reg Dancer. The ex-player & long supporter of the club became unwell in December and has been in a care home since early March.

His friend Phil Giddings was with him on May 1st and said that Reg was comfortable and at peace, ready to leave this world for the next.

Reg passed away shortly after.

Tributes have been pouring in for Reg over the past twenty-four hours, remembering him as an always friendly and welcoming character around the club. Known for his sing songs and front row grunt, he will be sorely missed by all those that were fortunate to have known him at the club.

The Club President Paul Ehrhart remembers Reg fondly. He said "Reg first played his rugby for Maldon Vikings and Chelmsford in Essex where he skippered a team in both clubs, and then joined Maidstone in 1973 as a prop forward for the B team; he then took over as skipper for a number of seasons, and then was a founder member of the Veterans team in 1985/6 season. All the time he played he could always be found after the game still in his muddy kit in the bar singing away much to the annoyance of the committee. He was a great tourist leading the singing, and his rendition of The One Eyed Trouser Snake or The Wife the Maid and I, will never be forgotten.  His dedication to the game showed when we went on tour to Canada, the fire alarm went off in the hotel at 4 in the morning and Reg was the only one outside carrying his kit bag, the fire wasn’t going to stop him playing!!!!!!!

A great character, a one off, never to be forgotten". 

On behalf of the club, we wish Margaret, the entire family and friends our deepest condolences.

The funeral will be held at the United Reformed Church, Week Street, ME14 1QU at 3.15pm on Friday 24th May. This will be followed by the wake at the clubhouse from 5pm onwards. Margaret has requested that any club members wishing to attend the funeral, does so wearing club blazers & ties.  

 



Around the Grounds - Shepherd Neame Kent Cup Edition
posted: April 28 2019

Shepherd Neame Kent Cup Competitions

Kent Cup:  Just six of the nine eligible clubs entering a tournament that saw only one fixture played prior to a repeat of last year’s final between Sidcup & O Elthamians. Elthamians started quickly held the early advantage, pushing out to a 17-3 lead in the first quarter before Sidcup began to get into their stride and pegged them back to a 17-15 scoreline at the half-time interval.  Elthamians started quickly again in the second half, extending their lead to 24-15 before a succession of three Elthamians tries and a penalty in the middle period of the half took the score out to 48-15, ensuring there would be no repeat of last year’s result where Sidcup took the trophy in the dying minutes.  It wasn’t until the final 10 minutes and with a man advantage that Sidcup were able to respond with two converted tries of their own before a final flourish by Elthamians to lift the Kent Cup for the first time in their history with a 55-29 scoreline.

Kent Shield:  Now in its third season, this competition for teams at Levels 7 & 8 saw less than half the available clubs enter, and again a competition littered with walkovers.  Of the round one fixtures only one was played as part of the preseason preparations. Of the semi-finals, only Charlton Park’s match against Aylesford took place, with Gravesend benefiting from a walkover in the other and reaching the final without ever having to put their boots on.  The final was always a close encounter with Charlton Pk holding a narrow 8-6 advantage at the interval and with the lead change hands during the second half.  In the end in a contest where there was little to separate the two sides, it was Gravesend who held off some late Charlton Park pressure to take the trophy 23-26

Kent Plate: Entry into the Plate is for losers of their first fixture in either the Cup or Shield competitions; and ended with a Canterbury v Westcombe Pk final without a ball ever being kicked.  Nonetheless, the final proved an enthralling and high scoring encounter in which the advantage swung back and forth with the lead changing hands on five occasions.  In what was always a close contest it was Canterbury’s Pilgrims that lifted the trophy with a 31-39 scoreline.  

Kent Vase: It would appear that there is much more enthusiasm for the county cup competitions amongst the junior clubs with 23 entering the Vase competition and out of the 19 fixtures up to the final only five were conceded to walkovers, which is a credit to all the clubs concerned. To mention all the matches would be impossible, but some of the fixtures of note were the efforts of league debutants Cliffe Crusaders who made it to the quarter-finals before falling to eventual finalists Kings College; and non-league Ash, Ashford Barbarians and Swanley who all went out in the opening round. Their participation in the competition is most welcome, and without wishing to be political, their willingness to compete perhaps an example to some of the senior clubs. The semi-finals saw Kent 2 club Bexley concede to Kings College whilst the other semi also resulted in a walkover with Ashford being given the concession by O Gravesendians.  The final saw Ashford always in control to complete a successful season with an 18-3 victory to lift the trophy.

Kent Salver:  Only four clubs failed to transfer to the Salver through conceding their fixtures and pleasingly the competition progressed through three rounds with only one further walkover.  The semi-finals saw Cranbrook fall 19-27 to Southwark Lancers, whilst in the other Faversham were 29-7 victors against Sittingbourne.  In the final Faversham took a slender 7-5 advantage into the interval but it was Southwark who looked like picking up the trophy having moved into a 7-15 lead, but the ‘castaways’ came back with two further scores to eventually lift the Salver with a narrow 17-15 win.



Around the Grounds
posted: April 28 2019

National 1:  The last weekend of the regular season rather saw teams somewhat reliant on not only their own performances, but also on results elsewhere. At the top any hopes Elthamians had that relegated Loughborough St could do them a favour against leaders Ampthill were somewhat forlorn, with the students falling to a 20-52 defeat to end another difficult campaign and seeing Ampthill taking the sole promotion place.  Elthamians meanwhile had done all they could, posting a 31-12 win against fifth placed Rotherham.  Rosslyn Park’s 50-19 win against Cindderford saw them move into third as Blackheath slipped to fourth after losing 22-24 to Esher.  This was a match where Esher needed a BP win and other results to go their way, firstly they needed Caldy to lose, which they did, going down 12-10 at Moseley having led at half-time.  Esher also needed Cambridge to lose at Sale, but a 5-24 win for the East Anglia club meant that Esher’s fate was sealed, along with Caldy who join Loughborough in dropping to their respective National 2 divisions.  In the other results, Chinnor lost 10-17 to Plymouth Albion and DMP were 34-26 victors over Bishops Stortford.

National 2(S):  With the promotion, playoff and relegation issues all decided on the penultimate weekend, todays fixtures really were an honours only affair, and in the case of Canterbury, getting through the days encounter with the league champions without injury before next week’s promotion playoff. In the end Rams ran out comfortable 14-31 winners against the city club, which meant that TJ’s 24-47 win at relegated B&S narrowed the gap to just a point separation between them and their county rivals.  Henley’s 33-12 win against BSE sees them in fourth, again just a point off the runner up spot with Taunton in fifth some 20 points adrift after they fell to a heavy 66-31 final day defeat at Worthing.  At the bottom with bottom club Ldn Irish WG losing 21-29 to visiting Barnes, Guernsey were the only one of the relegated trio to post a win, with a 26-19 win against O Albanians; whilst Dings and O Redcliffians who had both flirted with the drop zone both lost out, with 33-20 and 17-0 defeats at Redruth and Clifton respectively. 

Ldn & SE Playoffs:

In the playoff for promotion to National 2(S), Westcliff played host to SW runners-up Barnstaple who were looking to reverse last season’s relegation at the first attempt.  In the end the contest was a somewhat one sided encounter as the Essex club comfortably ran out winners 44-5. Having taken a 20-0 lead into the interval, they stretched that further to 37-0 before Barnstaple finally got onto the scoreboard 10 minutes before the final whistle, although the Essex club still had time to round off a convincing display with another converted try 5 minutes before the final whistle.

The battle for promotion to the London Premier Division was a much tenser affair between Colchester and visitors Brighton.  Playing into a strong wind the Sussex club took an early 0-7 advantage but were pegged back with a couple of penalties before Colchester then took their chances to go into the interval with a 21-14.  Brighton, with the wind at their backs stayed within one score before taking a one point advantage 26-27 going into the final quarter, a long range penalty from halfway increased the lead which was followed by another impressive kick as Brighton went into stoppage time at 26-33.  The drama wasn’t yet over as their hosts fought back and crossed the whitewash only for the ball to be judged ‘held up’ in what was the last play of the match and saw Brighton join fellow Ldn 1(S) club Sevenoaks in promotion.



A Word From Our New Director Of Rugby
posted: April 25 2019

Firstly, I would like to thank both Andy Golding and Craig Tuffrey for the support I have had during last season. Andy, in particular, has given me an insight into the running of the club and how to conduct oneself. Little did I know that my role as Youth Rugby Manager would end up by the end of the season as being one that is encapsulated in the role of Director of Rugby at the club. However, incorporating one into the other makes a lot of sense for the future.

 
I am proud to have been given the chance to bring change and success. Anyone who knows me and knows my past will be able to confirm that I will be totally focused on delivering success for the club, starting from the Youth Section.
 
The club is already in receipt of my One Year Lookahead, which includes some accelerated change. This will be presented to club members before the start of next season but it is true to say that the work has already started. The plan emphasises the start point, which is the Youth Section, and then goes on to cover the Senior Section and finally Culture & Standards.
 
As for the team of coaches I have inherited, I feel that we have a good balance of skills and effective communication styles. Having observed for the first part of the season and then had some involvement for the second part of the season, I believe I know what needs to be done for next season. I am meeting the coaching team and associated team members on Monday 29 April to discuss next season and the future.
 
And finally, for the playing members at the club, I am sure we all want success plus a bit of fun on top. An emphasis on the One Great Club message is the only way forward.
 
Pete Barford

 





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Supporters Man of the Match

For showing utility and playing in the second row, as well as his mobility, this weeks MoTM is Dan Fisher. 

2019-20 London Division 2 (SE) 
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