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Kent Veterans Finals Day at Maidstone Rugby Club proves a big hit


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The 2022 Kent Veterans Finals Day at Maidstone Rugby Club proved to be a huge success.

The Shield final between Dover and Sittingbourne was one of the most tense finals in the competition’s history, as the teams were level pegging, heading into the final few moments.

Shield winners Sittingbourne. Picture: Richard Ewence / Maidstone RFC
Shield winners Sittingbourne. Picture: Richard Ewence / Maidstone RFC
Shield winners Sittingbourne alongside runners-up Dover. Picture: Richard Ewence / Maidstone RFC
Shield winners Sittingbourne alongside runners-up Dover. Picture: Richard Ewence / Maidstone RFC

Sittingbourne had a chance to creep ahead with a penalty but saw their effort slide wide of the uprights.

Minutes later, Dover had an opportunity at the posts and decided to go for a drop-goal penalty attempt, which ended up closer to the corner flag than the assistant referees behind the posts!

In the end, under competition rules, it came down to the first try scored to determine the winner - which was Sittingbourne.

The second final of the day saw Old Gravesendians take on Thanet.

The former led for most of the game, but two late tries by Thanet meant they won 24-17 and took the trophy.

Plate winners Thanet. Picture: Richard Ewence / Maidstone RFC
Plate winners Thanet. Picture: Richard Ewence / Maidstone RFC
Plate runners-up Old Gravesendians. Picture: Richard Ewence / Maidstone RFC
Plate runners-up Old Gravesendians. Picture: Richard Ewence / Maidstone RFC

It was then back to the top pitch for the Bowl final between an excellent Lordswood side that surprised all in the tournament and the outstanding Vigo.

In fairness, the scoreline did not reflect the game as it was a close contest, with Lordswood winning 15-0.

Finally, it was the Cup final with Sevenoaks looking for retribution for the narrow loss to Westcombe Park in the 2020 final - the last before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Oaks started the brighter and took a 3-0 lead early in the first half with a slotted penalty but Westcombe managed to score an unconverted try to lead 5-3 at the interval.

After the restart, Westcombe took control.

Bowls winners Lordswood. Picture: Richard Ewence / Maidstone RFC
Bowls winners Lordswood. Picture: Richard Ewence / Maidstone RFC
Bowl runners-up Vigo. Picture: Richard Ewence / Maidstone RFC
Bowl runners-up Vigo. Picture: Richard Ewence / Maidstone RFC

The tactical kicking and wide-running play stifled Oaks who could not seem to find a riposte.

As the second period went on, Sevenoaks faded and Westcombe Park ran out eventual 38-3 winners.

Cup winners Westcombe Park. Picture: Richard Ewence / Maidstone RFC
Cup winners Westcombe Park. Picture: Richard Ewence / Maidstone RFC
Cup runners-up Sevenoaks. Picture: Richard Ewence / Maidstone RFC
Cup runners-up Sevenoaks. Picture: Richard Ewence / Maidstone RFC
Shepherd Neame's Dougie Dick and cup final referee Billy Huntley. Picture: Richard Ewence / Maidstone RFC
Shepherd Neame's Dougie Dick and cup final referee Billy Huntley. Picture: Richard Ewence / Maidstone RFC

Maidstone thanked Dougie Dick, of Shepherd Neame, for the continued sponsorship of the tournament.

Referees were presented with medals, while there were trophies for all finalists and Spitfire ale.

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