February 4th / 5th RoundUp
February 6th 2023
Another bright day greeted us as the weather was clement as our 1st XV took to the field to play 4th placed Park House, a team that got away from us having played with 14 men for over an hour earlier in the season. History was about to repeat. Maidstone played bright and attractive rugby in the first half, with Try's coming from Ollie Jenkins and Josh Smith initially, along with a penalty a piece leaving the game 15-3 to the hosts at half time. Just before the break however, in close contact the referee judged Josh Smiths tackle to be a swinging arm and gave him a straight red, leaving us with fourteen men for the entire second fourty.Maidstone managed to grab three points at the restart and put in some fantastic defensive work, which was finally breached ten minutes from time. With the visitors tails up, they managed to sneak another and we were left praying for the minutes to tick down. Alas, with thirty seconds to go, a mistake in our 22 gave Park House the opportunity to kick under the posts for the winning score. An undeserved 18-20 loss.
The Mustangs had a strange few days as at first Lordswood could not fulfil the fixture, only to draft some players in from Aylesford II and elsewhere to confirm the game Friday night. On Saturday, they then requested that league rules be enforced and Maidstone be restricted to 3 subs. Our Mustangs obliged as well as lend three players to the visitors, taking a squad of 18 to the game & leaving seven players without on the sidelines. In fourty minutes, the Mustangs posted 57 points and the opposition had had enough it would seem, as they refused to play the second half. A couple of their players were not happy with the concession, and decided to join in with a short game of Mustangs v Mustangs to make the most of the afternoon. A huge thank you to the referee, who was more than happy to offer to officiate the inner-club game and get our great game played.
On Sunday, it was a crunch Spitfire Gold Veterans Competition game for our Evergreen side down at Dover. The hosts pack carried most of the day to lead the game 19-7 at the break. Fabulous rugby ensued in the second half and some traditional big hits were put in on both sides. Dave Charlton had the crowd buzzing with his trademark show-and-go, as Maidstone rallied back. Alas, they could only manage a bonus point, losing 29-24 and praying for results to go their way elsewhere to see them through to the Semis.
From the Youth sides, another great day of rugby was had by all. Even though some of the results did not go our way, the effort, determination and skills were never in question.
The u12's came off the better side away to Old Colfeians 55-15, whilst the U15's pulled off a win for the first time against Tunbridge Wells 24-21 to go top of their respective Kent League. Our Colts were missing some key players this week, but that did not stop those on the field from playing some great rugby, as well as showing passion against adversity. They fought til the end against a powerful running Tonbridge Juddian side, coming off the grass the wrong side of 58-10.
Next week the 1st XV are on the road to Old Dunstonians with only a few points between them in the league table, whilst our Mustangs are at home in the rearranged Old Gravesendians fixture. Our Vets are scheduled to head back to Dover to play their 3rd XV.
Charlie WIlliams Hits A Ton
February 24th 2023
Congratulations to Charlie Williams as he takes to the field for the 100th time for the 1st XV. Charlie has been at the club for the past 8 seasons and is now one of ur most senior and experienced players.
McKenzie Hits A Ton
February 17th 2023
Congratulations to Josh McKenzie as he takes to the field for the 100th time for the 1st XV. Josh has been at the club since boy and .....well boy, as the baby faced assassin still fires in accurate lineouts.
Maidstone Women: Coaches Evening
January 18th 2023
The new Women's senior section held an introductory evening at the club, followed by a Q&A session on Tuesday 18th January 2023.
Those in attendance received a warm welcome, sandwiches and an introduction to the club, as well as information on training nights, changing facilities and aspirations. With several newcomers to the game, it's the perfect environment to join if you have always thought about picking up a rugby ball, but never dared.
For the next several months, training will be based around fitness, so if you fancy giving it a try, please contact the head coach Araminta Meade.
New MFC VX3 Range Available
September 29th 2022
The new Opus range of VX3 club wear is now available to order and be delivered direct to your door!
From coats, hoodies, training tops and bags, the new range kits you out ready for the new season.
To find the range, go to the club store tab here and then select VX3 Range.
Mote Runners Food Drive
January 25th 2023
Our friends at the Mote Runners are organising a food run for the Salvation Army on February 7th 2023.
If any members would like to donate any food or drink to the cause, please drop them into the runners on a Tuesday or Thursday evening. They will be collecting the already growing bounty, before running up to deliver next month.
RFU: New Tackle Law Update
January 29th 2023
The club has been concerned by the recent announcement to change the tackle laws. As with many, the concern is not based on changing the game to make it safer, but the wider impact on the enjoyment of the game. Clubs and bodies were not approached on this change and the potential changes to the game to be enforced as of next season seemed too unclear and untenable by many.The club has been in discussions with our neighbouring clubs and approached our council representatives on the matter. We have also discussed with referees who also share similar concerns.
It would appear that our collective voices have been heard, as today the RFU has issued an apology for the anger and concern it has created amongst the rugby community in England following last week’s surprise announcement, that would radically change rugby at all levels below the Gallagher Premiership and the Championship.
Amid calls for council members who voted in the measure to resign due to the lack of information that backed up their decision to lower the tackle height, the RFU have now followed up on a promise made on Thursday to produce the evidence. This they have now done so on Friday afternoon, including two explanatory attachments with their apology.
The statement read: “The RFU board, council and executive staff apologise for the anger and concern that has been created among the rugby community by announcing the decision to lower the tackle height from next season.
In our desire to act quickly to reduce head impacts and concussions in the community game, which represents 99 per cent of the rugby-playing population in England, we have upset many of you who are the champions, volunteers, and ambassadors of our game. We fully acknowledge we got the engagement wrong, and we are truly sorry.
In making our decision we were aware that France have lowered the tackle height, New Zealand will be doing so and World Rugby supports this approach. We, like the French, used the term ‘waist and below’ – this has caused misunderstanding and confusion.
We would now like the game to help us define how we describe a lower tackle height to reflect what the research is telling us in a way that is understood by all. Consequently, the risk of head injuries should be reduced if tackling below that optimum height. We will now begin a series of forums and workshops with players, coaches, match officials and volunteers, to explain and develop the details of the domestic law variation.
A large body of scientific evidence demonstrates the risk of head injury and concussion for players can be reduced by lowering the tackle height to prevent head-on-head contact. However, we also accept that the rugby community has other concerns that this change may bring and we need to listen, understand and respond to those concerns.
We will start inviting players, coaches, match officials and volunteers to these forums from early next week so that we can all work together.
The club is pleased that our collective voices have been heard as a community and look forward to working with the RFU on any new law changes to ensure a safer game, without causing detriment to the enjoyment of our beloved sport.
As more develops, we will update our members.
January 28th & 29th Roundup
January 30th 2023
On a crisp Saturday the main topic for our Chairman hosting the six Hastings & Bexhill dignitaries was not that of a crunch game between our two sides locked on points, but on how the game will look with the proposed tackle law changes. At least for now it would seem those plans are on a backburner following consultation with the community game, but it still brings up feelings of distain & anger across all clubs it would seem.
On the pitch, Maidstone started brightly being supported with a good crowd, including our under 15's who had decided to come and watch the game to bring their youthful enthusiasm. In the first 20 minutes it was a little tit-for-tat as first a ball inside meant Tom Ireland could power over for our first unconverted Try, only for the visiotors to hit back with a converted breakaway Try of their own. A few minutes later and a perfect hit by centre Lex Delamere-Ayling (for now at least by today's laws!) saw the ball spilt by the Hastings centre Joe Field & collected by Alex Clark who distributed to Josh Hoare, before releasing Ollie Jenkins for a twenty-five metre dash to make the game 10-7.
Just before the half hour mark, an uncharecteristic fumble by our skipper was punished with an unconverted Try in the corner. Seven minutes later and a superb lineout in the Hastings & Bexhill 22, was recycled to the bulldozer Josh Smith who powered over from close range to give Maidstone a lead that they did not give back. The visitors tried to fight back, but a lofted pass in our 22 was intercepted by Ollie Jenkins, who sprinted the rest of the length of the pitch to give us some breathing room at the break. At the restart, Maidstone attacked again which resulted in Fly Half Alex Clark giving a show and go, before scoring near the posts. Not to be outdone, Scrum Half Mikey Grice rounded off the scoring by doing the same on the opposite side of the field to score his Try from ten metres out.
A much needed five pointer and Maidstone start the year 3 from 4 and we hope the momentum will continue.
The Mustangs took the long journey across town to Aylesford with a side of youth and experience as they chase a top three finish. Going into the game, the hosts sat in third position, having narrowly won at The Mote by a single point at the start of the season. What ensued was something not seen for quite sometime, as Maidstone posted 59 unanswered points past the hosts. Josh Wilton controlled the game extremley well and centre Tom Rowe ran riot bagging five of our tries.
For our Veterans, their game against Faversham was as always a fun and competitive game to watch. A player on either side required NHS treatment, but thankfully nothing too serious, in a game in which versatile Ben Court found himself inexplicably at Centre and scoring from the halfway line! Still class. There were calls from the sideline for a TMO when the ball popped out the back of the scrum and David Tugwell gathered to score, only for the ball to be called back for a reset. The ref knows Tuggy quite well, so the feelings were that he could only assume that the scrum-half did some skullduggery to obtain the ball. Not guilty this time, but not to worry as Maidstone finished on the right side of the score 27-5. Thanks once again to Faversham for coming and giving our Vets a great game of rugby.
Mixed results for our youth section but still a fun and entertaining Sunday all round. Our Colts tied the games this season one a piece against Aylesford as they took the spoils 33-19 in a very enjoyable watch, whilst our u12's posted a huge score against their Medway counterparts 85-15. Our u16's played very well indeed, but came off the field having been on the wrong side of what was felt an unfair scoreline given the way they played; 5-41. The u13's were also on the wrong side of the score 3-2, in their Kent Cup game. They got off to a bad start going two scores down straight away, but from that point on played some inspired rugby. Alas, the poor start was too much of a mountain for them to climb to claw it back. Finally, the Rucker Cup returns to Maidstone's trophy cabinet where it first visited in its inuagural season. The U15's may have won all three games, but did by all accounts make their coaches sweat for it. Going 5-nil down in both games against Gravesend and Medway, but somehow sneaking the decisive scores in the dying embers, was followed by a more heart friendly score of 17-7 against Sittingbourne. A great afternoon of rugby played in true spirit by all four clubs. Well done once more to the U15's, our reigning Team of the Year on their triumph.
Next week our 1st XV are in action against Park House at The Mote. The Mustangs are also at home to take on Lordswood and our Veterans take a break from Saturday rugby. They have their final pool game against Dover away on Sunday in the Kent Spitfire Gold Veterans Competition. A huge game with all to play for with a semi-final place up for grabs.
Additional 6 Nations Tickets
The club has had tickets returned for the 6 Nations and can be yours on a first come first served basis.
2 x England v Scotland - THIS SATURDAY - Price £316 for the pair.
2x England v France - Saturday 11th March - Price £316 for the pair.
The tickets are very good seats, so you can enjoy all the action in person.
If you would like the tickets, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
January 14th Roundup
January 16th 2023
With the rain coming down but giving way to a brighter day, the 1st XV took to the Mote to face an impressive Dover side sitting in 3rd. Having been comfortably beaten by them in the reverse fixture, there was a feeling around the ground that a better performance was expected, but not necessarily a win.
Within the first five minutes a penalty to Maidstone meant that we had a slender lead with (only!) 75 minutes left to play as Lex Delamere-Ayling sent the ball true through the uprights. What ensued was a very close contest, as Maidstone's line speed stiffled the visitors, but that was also counteracted by their number 8 making ground and offloading. At the break, the game was poised 3 a piece.
In the second half our lads stepped up their defensive game to restrict their troublesome 8 Jack Ayling (no relation) as well as make chances of their own. Man of the Match Oliver Jenkins eventually found some space, after some slick backs play and just about managed to gain enough downward pressure on the ball to score a much needed Try. He could have added to his tally in the first half after a superb footrace, but the covering defender went unseen as he just managed to snipe Oliver before he could gather the ball for what must surely have been a brace. The game remained closely contested and with five minutes to go, it appeared disaster had struck once more as Dover were awarded a penalty 26 metres out and slightly to the right. As the ball was kicked, it was like a movie as the ball sailed in slow motion towards the gaping hole in between the uprights and the only sounds were the gathering wind and your own heartbeat! Then, that was broken by another sound of chinking metal, as the attempt had struck the left hand post. If that wasn't enough to age you, in the final minutes Dover had a further three more shots, all in vain and thankfully for the hosts the final whistle came to signal a well desevered and hard fought victory.
Credit to Dover who in true rugby spirit were gracious in the narrow defeat. It truly was a close fought game where the better side just nicked the points, but Dover are a fantastic outfit and their position in the table well deserved.
The Mustangs had their game called off with Tunbridge Wells just hours before kick-off as a pitch inspection confirmed the fears on Friday night that the pitch was indeed waterlogged. All of their home games were called off, with the exception of the 1st XV that managed to find a slot on a 4G pitch. The game is now pencilled in for April 15th.
For the Veterans, they ran out onto the bottom pitch to play Tonbridge Juddians IV which included some young legs in the backs. Always a bad sign! What transpired was a hard fought game which was a great watch, as the Veterans showed that they still have the class and poise they have had all their playing lives. Alas, the legs do tend to desert us though and the youngsters made the difference in a watchable 15 - 5 defeat.
Onwards we go then. The 1st XV are back on the road this Saturday as they take on Gillingham Anchorians on their Paddock, whilst the Veterans have a friendly planned at home to Cinque Ports. The Mustangs will take a rest weekend as they look ahead to a stacked run-in as they aim for a top four finish in the league.
Welcome To Our New Senior Womens Coaches
December 20th 2022
The club is delighted to announce our new Women's senior section coaches. First off is Head Coach Araminta "Minty" Meade. Minty has respresented at both County & Regional, as well as being part of the England Development Academy. Her 18 year senior career saw her compete at National and Championship level, before stepping into coaching at Youth level, also taking up refereeing. Adding to Minty's vast knowledge and experience, we also welcome the appointment of Emma Partington as both player & Assistant Coach. Emma has likewise competed at National Championship level, as well as being a devoted coach to her own children's development in the sport. Emma's fresh approach and ideas on the game will compliment the wealth of experience that Minty will bring to our Women's section.
Minty said "Women's Rugby is a massively growing sport, and I want to see as many women playing, training and enjoying the game as possible. With Maidstone's long history I am confident that we can develop a team that wants to have fun, play the game and love the sport as much as I do! We will be starting from the very beginning, so it really is for everyone. All senior ages and abilities are welcome, so please come and be part of something truly special".
As part of the club's overall 'ONEGREATCLUB' vision the Women's section is a welcome addition and will fall under the senior umbrella headed by Director of Rugby Steve Oram. Steve along with the Chairman will work with Minty & Emma to support the growth and progression of the Womens Senior section, with Minty & Emma both having the remit of day-to-day operations.
Director of Rugby Steve Oram said that "As part of the overall ambitions of Maidstone Rugby this is one of those goals achieved. I look forward to working with both Minty & Emma on creating a succesful Women's section here at Maidstone".
Please join the club in welcoming both Minty & Emma to the Maidstone FC family and wish them all the best as part of the club.
If you are interested in playing women's senior rugby here at Maidstone, then please contact Minty via the contacts page. There will be an introduction evening at the club in the New Year that you can attend and see if it's for you!
Sad News: Alan Osenton
December 14th 2022
News has reached the club of the passing of former Mustangs captain Alan Osenton. Alan not only skippered the Mustangs but made several 1st XV appearances in the 1970's, dancing through defensive lines from his favoured Full Back position.
Alan's funeral will take place in January and we will update members of the details as soon as they are confirmed.
Our thoughts are with his family as we remember another great player to have graced the Mote turf.