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City slickers make rugger history

The players celebrate gaining their national league status. Picture: BARRY DUFFIELD
The players celebrate gaining their national league status. Picture: BARRY DUFFIELD

CANTERBURY Rugby Club have won promotion to the National League after clinching the Powergen London 1 title.

The first East Kent Club to make the grade, the city side will join county rivals Westcombe Park in National League 3 South next season.

Saturday’s 38-0 home win over Bishop’s Stortford ensured the championship was won with a game to spare, a week after Canterbury retained the Kent Cup with victory over Blackheath in the final at Sevenoaks.

Team captain Chris Hinkins said: “It was the biggest day in the club’s history and you could see there were a lot of nerves in the warm-up because everybody realised what was at stake.

“We had been written off by a lot of people at the start of the season but in our biggest games, like against Richmond and London Scottish, we always rose to the occasion. We always believed in ourselves and that’s why we are here.”

Head coach Danny Vaughan said the title win had helped make the season the most memorable of his career either as a coach or player.

Vaughan, who has previously enjoyed success with Blackheath, said: “I cannot give the players praise enough and Chris Hinkins as captain has been outstanding. He takes so much of the pressure off me and has been a massive influence.

“We’ve assembled a very good coaching staff, a very good team and we want to keep that going.”

Vaughan also paid tribute to the work of the committee and in particular chairman Giles Hilton and treasurer John Pratt .

He said: “I never worked with two people with more energy and as a chairman Giles is top drawer. He’s up here day in day out putting the flags out or turning the lights off, and that’s the strength of the club.”

Vaughan was finally able to open the bottle of champagne given to him earlier in the season by defeated London Scottish coach Roly Williams, in anticipation of the Kent club’s promotion.

FULL REPORT AND PICTURES IN THE KENTISH GAZETTE ON WEDNESDAY

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