This weekend Ealing extend a warm welcome to Canterbury RFC, who are well known visitors to Vallis Way, making their fifth league visit to Ealing’s West London ground.
Last week Canterbury were on the wrong end of a 22-52 defeat to our near neighbours Richmond, and so will be keen to avoid defeat here. Canterbury’s DoR Danny Vaughan is aware that coming here is a big challenge, but one that he and his team and looking forward to. He said "We have been a frustratingly inconsistent side this season so we need to at our best this weekend. We have a poor track record at Ealing and want to put that right."
A Brief History of Canterbury RFC
Founded in 1929 Canterbury are the first ever East Kent club to achieve National League status. That milestone was reached when they became champions of London and South East Division One in 2005/06. In the most rewarding season in the club’s history they also won the Kent Cup for a second successive year and gained further recognition when named rugby’s Team of the Year by Rugby World magazine.
Times have certainly changed from when the founding fathers, many of them involved with agriculture, first took their post-match pints and pies in a local pub and played on a hired pitch. Modern players might even envy them in that the season rarely started in earnest before October when all the fruit picking in the area was over and farmer/rugby players could start thinking about a free Saturday afternoon.
However, the club’s first skipper was no son of the soil. Dudley Hallwood went on to become a noted newspaper cartoonist and the club’s principal Sevens trophy still bears his name. Apart from the interruption of the Second World War, Canterbury built steadily over the years and boasted one of the strongest fixture lists in the county. They produced a number of fine players who represented Kent but the only tangible reward came in the 1974/75 season when the club beat old rivals Maidstone to win the County Cup.
Some indeterminate years followed but the advent of leagues in the late 1980s was, like the experience of so many other clubs, a culture shock. After first being placed in London 3 South East, Canterbury went steadily downhill. They fell to the depths of Kent Division 2 at the start of the 1990s and it was from that lowly position that a revival was born,which included the expansion of a really healthy junior and colts section.
Canterbury in 2010
The Kent side are presently in 11th position in N2S , having won four drawn one and lost seven of their 12 games. They have scored 273 points and conceded 351, and have eight bonus points including seven for four tries or more.
Of the 40 tries that they have scored, open side flanker Pete Kelly leads the way on 13, second top try scorer in N2S to our own Phil Chesters on 19. Fly half Tom Best is their top points scorer on 70.
As Danny Vaughan said, they have been inconsistent , and the form book shows that, having only tasted victory once on the road from their five games so far this season. They have had many close games (20-38 v Worthing, 30-30 v Dings , 12-11 v Lydney) though along the way.
Ealing Pete Hodgkinson said that despite the league position, games against Canterbury were always tough. "Canterbury are no pushover, despite our record against them, they are a hard team to break down. We know we must play some good phase rugby to overcome them. We feel we are in good shape at the moment, but we need to ensure that we keep training and playing at the same high levels that got us here in the first place".
Previous fixtures between Ealing Trailfinders & Canterbury RFC
23/01/10 Canterbury 5 Ealing Trailfinders 24
03/10/09 Ealing Trailfinders 50 Canterbury 8
13/09/08 Canterbury 19 Ealing Trailfinders 48
03/01/08 Ealing Trailfinders 38 Canterbury 22
27/10/07 Canterbury 0 Ealing Trailfinders 22
23/02/07 Ealing Trailfinders 20 Canterbury 9
25/03/06 Ealing Trailfinders 17 Canterbury 25
26/11/05 Canterbury 25 Ealing Trailfinders 3
Other National 2 South fixtures this coming weekend: Saturday, 27 November 2010
Clifton v Hinckley,
Lydney v Henley
Newbury v Shelford
Richmond v Dings Crusaders
Southend v Jersey
Taunton v Worthing
Westcombe Park v Old Albanians