Looking to get themselves back on the right path after a frustrating defeat last week, Gravesend
took to the field once again for their second league match of the season, this time against Dover.
Within two minutes, Dover had the first penalty but this was quickly cancelled out with another
going Gravesend’s way for a high tackle. Gravesend had a few strong attacking phases, but it was
Dover who struck first with a penalty to take a 0-3 lead. The scores were quickly levelled, though,
with another Gravesend penalty and Aaron Rayner’s kicking boot making it 3-3.
Despite penalties going all Dover’s way for a while, it was Gravesend who were on the attacking foot
more often, but without scoring. Half an hour into the match, it was Dover to cross the whitewash
first a score and try, with conversion, making it 3-10 to the visitors. However, Gravesend were
determined to fight back and used the remainder of the first half to take a slender lead through a
penalty and a converted try scored by Matt Brady, with the extras added by Rayner.
After the restart, the ball was mostly in Dover’s hands and only a forward pass at the last moment
meant they didn’t score. A trip on Gravesend’s Gary Gray in front of an outraged home crowd saw
Dover’s replacement prop spend 10 minutes in the sin bin, which gave Gravesend ample opportunity
to keep possession and put pressure on their opposition. The home team very nearly scored, but
were judged to have been holding on to the ball in the tackle, leading to a Dover penalty instead.
Gravesend were definitely taking the majority of the possession, it just didn’t lead to any
With the ball being passed through the hands quickly, Gravesend were once again leading the attack
and a lovely twist and dive from Gray widened the gap to 20-10, after Rayner once again added the
Dover turned up the pressure in the final 30 minutes and scored two quick tries, converting both,
which gave them the lead back at 20-24 and meant a nervy end to the match was about to follow. A
moment of reprieve came when Dover were shown a second yellow card, this time for a deliberate
knock on and Gravesend took advantage of being a man down through a solid drive from the
forwards, getting the ball quickly out to the backs and Dan Coate going over for his first try of the
season. With Rayner yet again letting his boot do the talking, the score was 27-24 with ten minutes
to go. Replacement hooker Warren Mckee provided some surprise for the crowd when he
intercepted a pass and took the ball halfway up the pitch, presumably wishing his faster teammates
were on his heels. He had to leave the field shortly afterwards. There was a chance for a final try, but
a knock on over the line denied Gravesend a fourth and the final whistle blew with Gravesend taking
a slender but well deserved win.
On the opening Rugby World Cup weekend, Eddie Jones may not be calling up any Gravesend
players in the event of injuries to his first choice squad, but there is no doubt that the players gave it
their all and fought hard for victory.
In an historic moment for the team, Ben Kite, grandson of former 1 st team captain and club president
John Moxham, made his first team debut. Speaking after the match, Mr Moxham talked about his
pride in his grandson following in his footsteps and thought he had a very good match. Kite himself
was fairly confident going into today’s match having played for the club for the last six years but felt
honoured to be able to follow in tradition and play for the club his granddad played for. His only
concern was that he had made his granddad proud – it’s safe to say he did exactly that!
Gravesend travel to Old Colfeians for a 3pm kick off, for what is set to be a tight match with both
teams on 5 points from two matches and only a greater points difference putting Old Colfeians two
places above Gravesend in the league at this early stage.
Match report written by Fran Holmes