Canterbury Tales


The defeat at Redruth  may have been disappointing, particularly as we were always in contention, but the game was very special for one Canterbury player.   Appearing in the first team squad for almost two years was Alex Wake-Smith whose future rugby career was threatened by injury.  The nerve damage he sustained was a long term problem from which there was no guarantee of recovery.  Returning to his place in the front row was always going to be difficult so a determined Alex has shed the pounds and reinvented himself as a second row player.  There was a gradual return to playing with outing in the Pilgrims side but his perseverance and ability has now paid off.  It’s great news for the 22-year-okd who is a product of our youth system.  One man who will be more than pleased is Alex’s grandfather Tony Piersall, once a rock like presence in the Canterbury front row.   There is also another name to look for. Sam Sterling, a centre, has joined us from Division One club Ampthill and has been drafted immediately into the senior squad.  The arrival of Sam, who is Irish, gives Head of Rugby Andy Pratt more options for the testing run of game between now and April.


A good performance at Redruth gave us an opportunity for a rare win there but a couple of errors combined with an impressive Redruth second half performance left us with nothing. The set piece was a highlight with our pack shading the encounters at lineout and scrum in a place where the home pack often dominates. Another positive was the return of Alex Wake Smith to the squad having missed all of last season and the first half of this one with his shoulder injury. His contribution on and off the field has been missed and we hope his recovery continues well. Finally, a note of thanks for your support so far this season. It is massively appreciated within the squad and vital to our hopes of achieving another top half finish. We will need to hear it as we face a very good Taunton Titans team. Enjoy the game.

Andy Pratt, Head of Rugby


The Taunton match is the last first team fixture at the Marine Travel Ground until March 10th. However, there will be no shortage of meaningful action because the Pilgrims play their Kent Cup semi-final here on Satruday, February 24th.  The game is against Old Elthamians 2nd and we are planning to have a buffet lunch available. Old Elthamians play one division above Canterbury in the Zoo league so it will be a good test for our young team.  For those not familiar with Kent Cup rules, we are not allowed to enter the first team these days because of our National League status, but senior squad players who have not started in five consecutive first team games are eligible for selection. So, certain players who have spent time on the replacements bench may come into contention for places.  Come and support the bys and then watch the Scotland v England Six Nations game on he club tv screens which kicks off at 4.45pm.


There are just four tables left for the City Lunch here at the club on Friday, March 23rd. Don’t leave it too late to book and be disappointed. Once again we have a top name from world of international rugby as our speaker. Next month it is former Leicester, England and British and Irish Lions player and coach Graham Rowntree, the man with the game’s most famous ears. Graham, who won 54 England caps, is now forwards coach at Premiership side Harlequins. To attract such high quality rugby people we are indebted, as ever, to sponsors LGT Vestra Wealth and to partner Tony Allan. Tables of ten are priced at £450; individual places are.£45. To  book e-mail Giles Hilton on


Pre-match lunches at Canterbury are hugely popular and are sold out for the rest of the season. In addition, next month’s City Lunch will be another full house. As numbers have grown it is only with the help and generosity of one of our oldest sponsors, Maypole Marquee, that the club has been able to cope with the increased demand.
Managing Director Kristian Lorentzen and his wife Claire have given us  the means to take our catering forward since 2004 and as we have grown so has their contribution.  As demand has swelled an extension to the marquee has been added and, together with the work of caterer Ted Phillips, high standards have been maintained. The marquee is a fixture throughout the season and to hire it at commercial rates for that period would be prohibitive.  The ‘big tent’ has become an essential part of the landscape at the club and we owe Kristian and Claire, a huge debt of gratitude.,


The City Lunch is not the only gastronomic experience on offer in March.
After a year’s absence the Old Players and Supporters dinner,
masterminded by Steve Uglow, is back on the agenda. The date is Friday, March 9th.   Professor Uglow’s message is couched in the usual academic language:
“We're going to have another evening of drunken reminiscences, fanciful stories and downright lies.
Same format as before - old players, old supporters, veteran players still pretending that they can do it, partners more than welcome, dress code club ties, probable price £25 for three courses and (probably) some free beer if we can twist Giles nether regions). Money collected on the night.
Highlight for those from the 1970s will be the appearance of Clive Metcalfe, back from France just for the weekend.”
Footnote: Clive Metcalfe was in charge of parking for the City Council before he fled to Europe to escape the wrath of local motorists.  Think how much he has cost you over the years before you buy him a drink.

«  1st XV • National League 2 South 2017/18  »

# Team Pld Pts
1 Cinderford 23 110
2 Chinnor 23 100
3 Redingensians 23 85
4 Taunton Titans 23 85
5 Redruth 23 74
6 Bury St Edmunds 23 64
7 Henley 23 63
8 Tonbridge Juddians 23 60
9 Worthing 23 58
10 Canterbury 23 56
11 Barnstaple 23 46
12 London Irish Wild Geese 23 43
13 Clifton 23 39
14 Old Redcliffians 23 35
15 Wimbledon 23 34
16 Broadstreet 23 25