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Final test for Whitstable's rugger men

ROB DENGATE: plans to let the team's rivals do the worrying
ROB DENGATE: plans to let the team's rivals do the worrying

WHITSTABLE rugby skipper Rob Dengate admits opponents Old Elthamians will be an unknown quantity when the two teams meet in Sunday’s Shepherd Neame Kent Vase final at Canterbury.

The north Kent side won Kent 2 this season, and Dengate admitted: “They will be on a high after the sort of season they have had, and being promoted as champions.

“We haven’t really done any homework on them, and want to concentrate on our game and let them worry about us.”

Dengate was pleased with the 22-13 semi-final victory at Old Gravesendians that put Whitstable in the final for the first time ever.

He said: “It went very well. We were under a little bit of pressure at the beginning of the second half, but apart from that,were not in any real difficulty."

Whitstable’s run to the final started with a first round bye, before beating Royal Bank of Scotland 43-7, and then knocking out Sittingbourne at the quarter-final stage.

They have happy memeories of Cardy Field having won the Floodlit Cup there last season, beating Canterbury, and Dengate says winning the Kent Vase has been a major target this season.

“We were disappointed to lose our promotion play-off at Heathfield and Waldron last season” Dengate said.

“That defeat has proved a motivation for us to do well in the competition and it has always been a marker for the season.”

The club won’t be short of backing on Sunday and Dengate said: We are expecting good support from everyone connected with the club, as it’s only a short distance away. There is a real buzz around the club at the moment.”

Steve Binns is set to return to the Vase line-up after missing the semi-final with a shoulder injury. He is still receiving treatment, but will be desperate to play as it’s his last game before moving to High Wycombe.

The squad had a final training session on Tuesday night, and will gather in Canterbury on Sunday, before making the short journey to Merton Lane.

Dengate called on his squad for one last effort. He said: “Everyone has been fully committed to the cause, even though games have been played on a Sunday. Now we want to win the final and make it a good season.”

The game kicks off at 2pm, and will be followed by the County Plate final between Ashford and Sidcup.

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