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Kent won the County Championship Division 2 Plate with a 31-23 victory over Durham at Twickenham

By Alex Hoad

Kent won the County Championship Division 2 Plate with a 31-23 victory over Durham at Twickenham on Sunday.

Tom Hodgson kicked three penalties to give Durham a 9-3 lead but Kent continued to look the more threatening of the two sides with ball in hand and they scored their first try when Canterbury's Martyn Beaumont made a scything attack deep into Durham territory before giving Ben Gough a simple run-in to score in the left corner.

Kent now turned the screw, taking the lead for the first time with a second penalty from Tonbridge Juddians' Luke Giles before captain Tom Stradwick of Blackheath scored a superb solo try to give his side a 16-9 lead at the interval.

The advantage was extended still further midway through the second half with the try of the game. Renford Bennett was the architect, making quick ground before laying off to give Blackheath's James Munton an unchallenged run in to score under the posts, with Giles converting for 23-9.

Durham refused to give up the ghost and gave themselves a lifeline with a try from skipper Chris Wearmouth. But Kent quickly closed the door as a breakdown on the left saw them spread play across to the right for Beaumont to register his side’s fourth try.

Martyn Beaumont

Durham still had time to add a second try of their own through Callum Mackenzie but, with the last kick of the game, Paul Humphries kicked a penalty to wrap it up for Kent.

Coach, Chris Wilkins, said: “We’ve come so close so many times and the boys deserve it as they’ve worked hard.

“It was an all-round performance; we did really well in the set-piece, which gave us a great platform. When we had the opportunity we played with width and scored some great tries.”

Kent: M Beaumont, R White, B Hough, M Burcham, R Bennett, L Giles, S Eydmann, C Cutting, J Bonner, J Forsyth, R Cadman, A Vanner, T Stradwick, H Barton, J West. Replacements: H Fry, J Cleverley, T Read, J Liston, J Munton, P Humphries, M Gallagher.

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