With our game coming up with Dartfordians it is worth remembering that friendship and rivalry are often one and the same thing.
Prior to 1974 when we at last bought our own ground at Pippen Hall we played our home games at Hornfair and changed in the Lido. The pitches were good, but the changing facilities in the depths of winter were pretty fierce and we would get down to the Plume of Feathers in Park Vista Greenwich as quickly as we could after a cursory freezing shower.
The ground was council-owned and unavailable for Sunday rugby was so we could not play Kent Cup games there. The Kent Cup was the only meaningful competition going – every club played their first team and it attracted big and vociferous crowds; thanks to Old Dartfordians’ generosity they let us play our home games at their ground in Bourne Road.
We also of course had regular Saturday fixtures which were always hard-fought but which Darts nearly always won; they had a very strong side in those days, particularly in the front row.
In addition there was a series of Sunday games between the two clubs, although Darts renamed their Sunday side the Worthy Es, which would be followed by fairly full-on evening sessions including the renowned pickled egg eating competition.. The sociability reached its high-point when the two clubs found themselves on tour in South Wales one Easter in about 1973. We met on the Sunday evening at a pub in Llanelli for a night/morning of drink and song. I don’t recall how they got on but we had to get back to our hotel in Swansea for a couple of hours sleep and then play Carmarthen in a morning kick off. We lost – very heavily.
Many members of each club were often to be seen in the other’s bar and one such was Howard Rogers, known as Rupert. The clubs now play for the Rupert Cup in his memory.