Bill Beaumont County Championship Div1 South

Bill Beaumont Cup Division 1 South county Championship 2017 - Game 2

Devon 20 Kent 28

Pack power leads Kent to victory

An exceptional performance from the pack saw Kent claim their second victory in the 2017 Bill Beaumont Cup, giving them their most successful campaign since the County Championship was broken into three tiers.

Exemplary throwing from Joe Bonner and Harry Fry provided reliable line-out ball, and with Aaron Cooper, Reece Conlon and Tom Simmons in the front-row, powered by Luke Coughlan, and the seemingly indestructible Royce Cadman, at lock, Kent had the Devon eight marching back metres at the set-scrum.  Around such a base the back-row of Tom Baldwin, Alex Everett, Tom Beaumont, and led by skipper and forwards-coach Tom Stradwick, who also collected a hat-trick to take his try tally to five in the three matches, could prosper, making deep incisions into the opposition.

At least they did in the second period. 

For the first forty minutes, forward power gave way to slick handling and creativity out wide, abilities in which Devon had far greater proficiency, enabling the host county to build a significant lead which, on another day, might have proved decisive.

It was in the ninth minute that, against the run of play, Devon suddenly opened up the right flank, inside ball sending second-row George Wilson across for the first try.  With Kent continually penalised at the breakdown and lacking accuracy out wide, loose ball on half way was hoofed up-field for scrum-half Ben Watts to collect at speed and dive across on the half-hour, and had Reion Raybe not got across to cover another dangerous kick towards the corner, a third try may have put the hosts out of sight.

As it was, fly-half Mitch Pinkus added a penalty to his two conversions, and with Kent ending a frustrating first half fumbling ball close to the Devon goal-line, a delighted crowd at the splendid Pottington Road venue, home of Barnstaple RFC, saw their side with a comfortable 17-0 lead at the break.

However, it was a re-invigorated Kent that at last brought their forward power to bear after the re-start.  Exercising better control and ball retention, the visitors bashed away around the fringes for Stradwick to claim his first score in the 49th minute, and with pressure continually on the Devon scrum, forcing the hosts to concede line-out ball close to their own goal-line, a second followed on the hour as the back-row drove across from the set-piece.

Devon gave themselves some breathing space with a second Pinkus penalty, but as Kent stepped up the tempo once more, fine recycling work took them to the opposition goal-line for Cooper to burrow across, Frank Reynolds’ third successful conversion inching the visitors ahead for the first time with only six minutes remaining.

Time enough for the south-westerners to respond, but as they’d done successfully against Surrey at Dorking a week earlier, Kent forced the opposition into their own territory, and as pressure was kept up in the dying moments, further line-out ball saw Stradwick over once more, giving Kent maximum reward and consigning Devon to zero points from their campaign.

Although Kent were unable to threaten Pool winners Cornwall, whose clean sweep of three bonus point victories takes them to the final against Lancashire at Twickenham next weekend, the ten points gained are taken through to next year’s competition, giving them a strong base from which to challenge.

In 2018 Kent will face the same opposition, but with home and away fixtures reversed.


Tries:   Wilson 9, Watts 31

Conv:  Pinkus 9, 31

Pens:    Pinkus 38, 65


Tries:   Stradwick 49, 61, 78, Cooper 74

Conv:  Reynolds 49, 61, 74, 78

The following players have been selected to represent Kent in the Senior County Championship Bill Beaumont Cup pool game versus Devon at Barnstaple RFC on Saturday 20th May 2017 kick off 3pm:


15.  R Redman           - Tonbridge Juddians RFC                                  16.  H Fry                 -  Blackheath  FC

14.  T Okenla             -  Gravesend RFC                                               17.  T Simmons        -  Sevenoaks RFC

13.  B Hough              - Elthamians RFC                                               18.  J Hawkins          -  Blackheath FC                                                     

12.  A Clement           -  Medway RFC                                                   19.  T Beaumont      -  Medway RFC                                                          

11.  R Raybe              -  Charlton Park RFC                                           20.  S Perry             -  Westcombe Park RFC

10.  F Reynolds          -  Tunbridge Wells RFC                                       21.  S Garofalo        -  Medway RFC

9.    C Spence            -  Tunbridge Wells RFC                                       22.  H Hall                -  Medway RFC

1.    A Cooper             -  Canterbury RFC

2.    J  Bonner            -  Westcombe Park RFC

3.    S Carmen           -  Sidcup RFC                                                           

4.    R Cadman          -  Canterbury RFC 

5.    L Coughlan         -  Sidcup RFC                                                       

6.    T Stradwick         -  Blackheath FC (Captain)

7.    A Everett             -  Sevenoaks RFC

8.    T Baldwin            -  Blackheath FC 


The squad will travel down to Taunton by Coach on Friday evening stay at Holiday Inn, Taunton TA1 2UA then run into Barnstaple Saturday arriving at 12-45pm. Dress code for the match day will be Kent Hoodies, Kent Polo, Chino shorts. The coach will return to Kent Saturday evening after the match.

The coach pick up points on Friday are:


18:30 - Whitfield Roundabout

19:00 - Brenley Corner

19:15 - Medway Services

19:45 - Westcombe Park RFC


Can all players confirm via e mail at which pick-up point they will join the coach.

Bill Beaumont Cup Division 1 South county Championship 2017 - Game 2

Surrey 17 Kent 18

Stradders late charge leads Kent to a first

A magnificent forward effort, particularly in the front-row from Canterbury's Aaron Cooper and Sidcup's Sam Carmen, at loose and tight-head respectively, saw Kent ultimately overturn what, at one stage, was a nine point lead to take victory by the slenderest of margins and achieve a first success at the top tier of the re-vamped County Championship.

Attacking up the slope towards Box Hill, which towers above the northern end of The Big Field, home of Dorking RFC, Surrey dominated possession and territory in the opening period, efficiently striking twice to put themselves into the ascendancy.  But despite having the gradient in their favour, the host county were unable to hold on to their lead after the interval, meaning that for the second week running they'd surrendered a significant edge at the halfway point.

In fact it was Surrey who struck the first major blow up front, their Esher-dominated front-row scoring a strike against the head shortly after Frank Reynolds had given

Kent a brief lead with three points, but the next scrum saw the visitors win a penalty to gain field position.

However, as they were guilty of too often, ball was spilt forward, and as Surrey broke away, Worthing wing Kariym Irving collected his own perfectly weighted chip to score under the posts.  Despite some good defensive work at the maul, Surrey continued to keep play in opposition territory, pressure creating space out wide for Wimbledon's Josh Charles to cross on the opposite wing and although Reynolds added another penalty for the visitors, the hosts ended the first period 12-6 ahead.

Handling errors hindered both sides early in the second period, but Kent's line-out had worked well in the opening session with Joe Bonner throwing-in, and continued to do so as Harry Fry replaced the Westcombe Park man, the Blackheath hooker driving over from close-range in the 54th minute, reducing the arrears to just one point.

However, as Surrey moved scrum ball across field on 67 minutes, Irving restored the six-point gap by powering across for his second try, and had the final pass reached the 6' 7" wing moments later, a hat-trick would have been secured and with it an unassailable lead. 

Instead, JJ Murray's interception proved crucial, enabling Kent to up the tempo and attack with pace, and as the Surrey defence tried to recover, Tom Stradwick, who'd led his side so expertly from the number-eight position, muscled his way over from 20-metres for the try which, with Reynolds adding the conversion, put the visitors ahead with eight minutes remaining.

They might have secured their position further had Cooper hung on to the ball as he went for the goal-line after Reion Raybe's late run, but the Kent and Charlton Park wing had at least ensured that to hit back Surrey would have to break from deep, an opportunity they were to be denied.

Next Saturday, Kent play their third and final pool match as they travel to Barnstaple RFC to take on Devon.  Kick-off at Pottington Road is at 3.00 pm.


Tries:   Irving 18, 67, Charles 29

Conv:  Noble 18


Tries:   Fry 54, Stradwick 72

Conv:  Reynolds 72

Pens:    Reynolds 9, 34

Bill Beaumont Cup Division 1 South county Championship 2017 - Game 1

Kent 12 Hertfordshire 19

Kent outclassed in campaign opener

A disappointing opening to Kent’s 2017 Bill Beaumont Cup campaign as the county side succumbed to a more physical and far better drilled Hertfordshire team.

Despite enjoying a numerical advantage for nearly an hour of the contest at Well Hall, the hosts failed to break through an organised defence until the dying moments when it was too late, while in attack Hertfordshire, led ironically by James Shanahan who will take charge at Blackheath’s home ground in a couple of months, struck to devastating effect to leave Kent chasing the game from the early stages.

Only six minutes had passed before Herts got off the mark.  The visitors messed up two early line-outs, but a third saw a useful drive from the Herts pack before play swept across field and Ali Crossdale came up from full-back to send Tom Banks across in the right corner.

It was in the 16th minute that referee Gareth Holsgrove produced the red card for Stefan Liebenberg for his punch to opposite scrum-half Charlie Edwards, who earned a yellow for his part in the mêlée on the touchline that upended Kent’s unfortunate head coach John Gallagher.  But it did little to alter the pattern of play, and while two Kent attacks ended in the concession of penalties in opposition territory, the excellent Crossdale simply weaved a line from his own half of the field through a static defence for an outstanding solo effort and, with Banks converting, a 12-0 lead at the break.

The introduction of Sidcup’s Sam Carmen at tight-head steadied the Kent scrum, and early pressure after the re-start briefly suggested a way back for the hosts, but poor handling, allied to further indiscipline, continued to blight their cause.  Instead, a solid Herts scrum in the 55th minute sent fly-half Zac Vinnicombe on a break deep into opposition territory and Shanahan sent Crossdale across to complete a move straight off the Old Albanian training ground.

However, a fine try-saving tackle from Canterbury’s JJ Murray denied Hertfordshire a further score, and instead of the visitors claiming the additional bonus point, it was Kent who would somehow manage to salvage reward which may prove crucial in weeks to come.

As Herts prop Karl Garside was dismissed for ten minutes for getting on the wrong side, Kent were at last able to break through the now thirteen-man defence for skipper and blind-side Tom Stradwick to reach out across the goal-line. 

And as the game moved into its final play, great work from the hitherto underused Dan Hamilton, the Blackheath wing muscling his way through a tiring midfield, sent Canterbury loose-head Aaron Cooper over, giving the final score a respectability that had looked unlikely five minutes earlier.

Next Saturday Kent travel to Dorking RFC to take on Surrey.  Kick-off at the Big Field at Brockham is at 3.00 pm.


Tries:   Stradwick 75, Cooper 80

Conv:  Reynolds 75


Tries:   Banks 6, Crossdale 20, 55

Conv:  Banks 20, 55

The following players have been selected to represent Kent in the Senior County Championship Bill Beaumont Cup pool game versus Surrey at Dorking RFC on Saturday 13th May 2017 kick off 3pm:


15.  J Twyford             - Sidcup RFC                                                      16.  H Fry                 -  Blackheath  FC

14.  T Okenla             -  Gravesend RFC                                               17.  J Green             -  Canterbury RFC

13.  J Murray              - Canterbury RFC                                               18.  G Baker             -  Blackheath FC                                                     

12.  W Farries            -  Canterbury RFC                                               19.  T Beaumont      -  Medway RFC                                                          

11.  R Raybe              -  Charlton Park RFC                                           20.  N Doherty          -  Tunbridge Wells RFC

10.  F Reynolds         -  Tunbridge Wells RFC                                        21.  J Bedding          -  Blackheath FC

9.    S Garofalo          -  Medway RFC                                                    22.  A Hitchcock       -  Westcombe Park RFC

1.    A Cooper             -  Canterbury RFC

2.    J  Bonner            -  Westcombe Park RFC

3.    S Carmen           -  Sidcup RFC                                                           

4.    R Cadman          -  Canterbury RFC 

5.    L Coughlan         -  Sidcup RFC                                                       

6.    L Bellinger          -  Westcombe Park  RFC

7.    A Everett             -  Sevenoaks RFC

8.    T Stradwick         -  Blackheath FC


The players are to assemble at Dorking RFC at 1pm. Dress code for the day is Kent Polos, Kent Chinos and Kent Hoodie. Can all players confirm their availability to me at earliest opportunity. There will a buffet lunch provided for County Officials at 1-30pm and a post match meal for the respective players and management. 


Please note the change of venue for the Kent v Herts game on 06.05.17.

New match venue will now be:

Blackheath FC, Well Hall Ground, 3G pitch

Kidbrook Lane, Eltham

The Senior County Championship Bill Beaumont Cup pool game versus Hertfordshire at Blackheath FC on Saturday 6th May 2017 kick off 3pm


The Kent Senior County Championship kicks off this weekend with Kent playing Hertfordshire at Blackheath Rugby Club, Well Hall, Kidbrook Lane, Eltham, London, SE9 6TE. The following players have been selected to represent Kent:

15.  A Moss                -  Canterbury RFC                                              16.  J Bonner           -  Westcombe Park RFC

14.  K Asiedu             -  Hartpury College RFC                                     17.  A Cooper           -  Canterbury RFC

13.  J Murray              - Canterbury RFC                                               18. S Carmen          -  Sidcup RFC                                                      

12.  W Farries            -  Canterbury RFC                                              19.  L Bellinger         -  Westcombe Park RFC                                                           

11.  D Hamilton          -  Blackheath FC                                                 20.  N Doherty         -  Tunbridge Wells RFC

10.  F Reynolds         -  Tunbridge Wells RFC                                       21.  C Spence          -  Tunbridge Wells RFC

9.    C Edwards          -  unattached                                                       22.  B Bateup           -  Westcombe Park RFC

1.    J Green               -  Canterbury RFC

2.    C Hopkins           -  Sidcup RFC

3.    S Kenny              -  Canterbury RFC                                                           

4.    R Cadman          -  Canterbury RFC 

5.    A Campbell         -  Westcombe Park RFC                                                       

6.    T Stradwick         -  Blackheath FC

7.    H McCormick      -  Canterbury RFC

8.    T Baldwin            -  Blackheath FC


Travelling reserve: S Perry (Westcombe Park RFC)

06/05/2017 - Kent v Herts - Blackheath FC - k.o. 3pm
13/05/2017 - Surrey v Kent - Dorking RFC - k.o. 3pm
20/05/2017 - Devon v Kent - Barnstaple RFC - k.o. 3pm
28/05/2017 - Division 1 final - Twickenham - k.o. tba


The County Championships has undergone a restructure across the senior men, women and U20 County Championships with fixtures now announced for the new season.

The 2016/17 Men’s County Championships sees 28 counties compete with each side being seeded using results from the previous three seasons to ensure teams are more evenly matched.

Each team is divided into three tiers with 12 in Tier One, eight in Tier Two, and eight in Tier Three.

All tiers will play a minimum of three matches and a maximum of four. This will produce three finals, all to be played at Twickenham stadium.

Promotion and relegation in the Senior Men’s County Championship will now take place every two seasons with points accumulated from season one continuing into the following season. This means counties will have the chance to cement their position in the most appropriate pool and avoid situations where the same teams are being promoted one year only to be relegated the next.

Steve Grainger, RFU Rugby Development Director said: “County rugby provides players with an aspirational goal and focus to work towards throughout the season. With the restructured Senior County Championship, teams have been seeded to ensure the appropriate level of competition across each tier, enabling counties to find, maintain and thrive at sustainable levels while ensuring the ‘big’ rivalries and traditional matches still take place. In line with our overarching ambition across the whole of the grassroots game, our aim is to get as many people playing at the appropriate level as possible and the new structure helps to enable this.” 

Last year’s Bill Beaumont Cup winners Cornwall will compete in Tier 1’s South Pool, consisting of six teams who will each play three matches. Cornwall will face Devon in the second round of matches in what promises to be an intriguing local derby while last year’s Shield winners Hampshire will begin their campaign in Tier Two against North Midlands.

Following a successful inaugural competition this year, which received overwhelming support from the counties and players, the Women’s County Championship will also be expanded for 2017 with 26 teams competing across two tiers.

Last year’s champions Surrey will take on Berkshire in the opening match of Pool 4 while 2016 runners up Lancashire will take on Cumbria in Pool 1. Both finals will be held on Sunday 28 May with many of the fixtures during the competition scheduled to run alongside the men’s matches to allow for double-header opportunities.

The  National U20s Competition sees the top teams from each pool in the 2015/16 Shield event promoted to the Cup while the bottom pool sides in the Cup have been relegated to the Shield.

26 teams will take part next year with last year’s winners Yorkshire, the most successful side in the history of the event, taking on Northumberland in the opening game – a repeat of the 2016 final in which Yorkshire won 53-20.

Last year’s Shield winners Hampshire are promoted to the Cup under the new structure and will start their campaign in the top tier against Gloucestershire.

Durham, who just lost out to Hampshire in the 2016 Shield final, will also compete in the top tier alongside Yorkshire and Northumberland in Pool 1.   


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