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Maidstone Rugby Club are ready to end their long-running dispute with The Mote Cricket Club by finding a new ground

By Craig Tucker

Maidstone Rugby Club anticipate leaving The Mote for a new ground in three to five years.

They are ready to end their long-running dispute with the cricket club by accepting businessman Paul Firmin’s offer of land for pitches and a clubhouse in the town.

At least three sites are under consideration after Mr Firmin, a club vice-president and former player, stepped forward.

Maidstone’s future at The Mote – their home for more than half a century – has been in doubt since they fought redevelopment proposals that would have seen houses built on the 1st XV pitch.

They refused to go along with the cricket club’s plans, which are now on hold, despite threats to throw them out when their lease expired in May 2016.

Maidstone in action at The Mote
Maidstone in action at The Mote

A move would appear to be the perfect solution, giving the rugby club a home of their own while leaving The Mote free to push on with a redevelopment that could eventually bring county cricket back to the town.

Rugby club president Jim Tinsley said: “We will be putting it to the whole of the membership that this is an initiative that’s been offered to us and we want to make sure they want to go along that route.

“There was no way, for the sake of us as a rugby club with 200 senior members and 250 junior members, that we could accept a plan that would reduce the playing and training space from three pitches plus training space down to two pitches and little training space.

“The membership have always been with us over the last two or three years that we will not be forced into accepting something which isn’t suitable within The Mote and if we need to look elsewhere then we can and we should."

Full story in Friday's Kent Messenger

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