A great festival of veterans rugby saw eight Kent clubs compete for four pieces of silverware at Maidstone Rugby Club.
The finals were brought forward by a month for this year’s tournament, and what a feast of rugby the eight teams in the respective finals served up.
Kicking off the day were the Bowl and Shield finals with Sittingbourne and Sheppey contesting a Swaleside derby in the Shield final.
It was Sittingbourne who prevailed after having stretched to a half-time lead they were able to withstand a second half comeback from their local rivals to take the trophy 17-10.
Meanwhile Aylesford Bulls were taking on holders and three time finalists New Ash Green in the Bowl final and despite being first on the scoreboard it was the holders that demonstrated why they have won the trophy before as they ran out 26-5 winners to retain the trophy.
The plate final was a combative affair contested by Ashford and Metropolitan Kent’s Westcombe Park both making their first appearance in the tournament this season.
In what was a great advert for veterans rugby Ashford appeared the dominant side, but it was resolute Westcombe Park defence combined with clinical execution of the chances they created that was the difference as they took the trophy with a 17-12 win that did not necessarily reflect the amount of pressure that the opposition had exerted on their line.
The Cup final was a cracking match worthy of a cup final between the holders Sevenoaks and previous finalists Thanet Wanderers.
In what was a full blooded contest the game swung back and forth. Thanet were first on the scoreboard establishing an early lead but appeared to be dead and buried when Sevenoaks came back to lead 24-12 going into the final quarter.
Remarkably, Thanet then posted 19 points from 3 tries to establish a 7 point margin, with a minute to play. Sevenoaks were by no means beaten and having won the title last year with a dramatic finish created yet another as they broke out of their own half rom the re-start to score under the posts, the conversion bringing the final scores level at 31-31.
Thanet took the trophy under competition rules by virtue of their scoring five tries to Sevenoaks four.
With this being the third year of the tournament its popularity grows as it continues to expand, with the Metropolitan Kent clubs joining the tournament this year and it looks likely to expand to 32 clubs for the 2017-18 season.
Finally, congratulations to all the finalists for a great day of rugby and thanks to all the volunteers at the club for making the day such a success and not least to the tournament sponsors Shepherd Neame who do so much to support grassroots rugby across the county.
Cup Final – Sevenoaks v Thanet Wdrs (Winners Thanet Wdrs on tries scored)
Plate Final – Ashford v Westcombe Pk (Winners Westcombe Pk)
Bowl Final – Aylesford Bulls v New Ash Green (winners New Ash Green)
Shield Final – Sheppey v Sittingbourne (Winners Sittingbourne)