Colfeians 20 41 Charlton Park
Another date or your diaries – Kent Plate Final against Thanet Wanderers at Cranbrook on Sunday 26th April – Charlton Park sealed their place in their first appearance in a Kent Final for 20 years with this comfortable win at Colfeians.
As seems to be the case nowadays in everything but the league, both teams were short of their full strength. There was a time when Kent Cup games were a big deal, and even after the leagues had been going for some time I remember the finals in the 1990s when we ‘lost’ – by drawing with Old Colfeians, and then in the seventh minute of added time to Blackheath – as real occasions with big crowds. Yesterday the second half had to be played with that scourge of modern rugby, uncontested scrums, thus negating the selections of Felix Louisy and Russ Penton to cover for the absences of Messrs Read, Laverie and Saunderson.
Both sides however managed to manufacture an entertaining game with ten tries, although the home team’s came when the game was already lost and they had rejected their previous kicking game. The pitch was dry and made for running rugby, and Charlton Park, perhaps bearing in mind their absentees, took quick tap penalties and ran. This was encouraged by halfbacks Alan Knuckey and Lee Amzaleg and the powerful running of Ally McQuitty in particular – if he can survive a few games without injury he showed what a valuable player he could be.
When Park play with this refreshing freedom they can look really fluent, but such risky rugby comes with risks. Neil Collins’ ability to straighten the line was a constant threat and all the backs had their moments, but too often passes were mistimed or behind the receiver. Collins sealed his man-of-the match performance with two tries, and the others came from Amzaleg, Mick Casizzi, Knuckey and a penalty try, with Knuckey converting four and kicking an early penalty.
Next week the firsts are at home to Cobham (kick off 3.00pm Mr Chairman!), with the Ladies’ Lunch (tickets still available from Vicki Hardcastle) and a visit from Professor Tom Adrian for those old-timers who remember him and the Harrogate tour incident, not to mention the bloodletting.