Close, exciting games, big crowds and an atmosphere of festival rugby – long live the Kent Cup, even maybe if it has to adapt a bit. We know clubs put their resources into the league but this competition holds so many more memories. It provides the occasions when clubs meet others beyond their immediate level, maybe to have a crack at a bit of giant-killing or simply to let lower team players support their 1sts on a Sunday or midweek evening.
A lot of hard work went into preparing for and then running a day that started before 8.00am and finished well over twelve hours later and thanks go to those many club stalwarts who volunteered to help by giving up a lot of time and energy on a Sunday afternoon. (see the list under ‘mentioned in dispatches’) And thanks to all our visitors, whether supporting a club or just here for the day.
The Cup Final was a fitting conclusion to six and a half hours of action, the local derby between Old Elthamians and Sidcup providing a feast of ultra-competitive rugby attracting a huge and partisan crowd which must have been nearing 1000. Before that Canterbury Pilgrims had just beaten a spirited challenge from Westcombe Park in the Plate, Charlton Park were just held off by Gravesend in the Shield (see below), Faversham pipped Southwark Lancers in the Salver and Ashford finally overcame a determined King’s College Hospital in the Vase.
Gravesend used their experience of the league encounters to plot victory over Park in the Shield Final. With so many home supporters doing jobs on the gate, car park, food provision and ground the atmosphere was somewhat muted, but the visitors put pressure on the set-piece and dominated possession and territory. Park were limited to brief attacking forays, led by Jake Conway and Jeremy Montes who had outstanding games and who deserved tries at the end which might have just turned the result.