It was always going to be a tall order to top the events of the previous campaign and that never-to-be-forgotten play-off victory at Sale.
But our first ever season in National One has provided plenty of highlights and new adventures along the way. The 1st XV exceeded all expectations to finish sixth which means there are only 29 teams ahead of us in the country. It was a tremendous effort by the squad and a position I believe we would have gladly taken at the start of the campaign.
The Extra 1st XV finished third in Zoo 1, our best ever performance at second team level, while the Bulls also finished third in Kent Premier West. Both outstanding efforts.
The only disappointment was the Extra 1sts' narrow Kent Cup final defeat to Sidcup in the end of season finale at Footscray RFC, although they contributed fully to a very exciting game of rugby between two good sides.
OEs Women, in their first ever season of league rugby, went through the entire regular season undefeated to be crowned league champions, before losing by just a single point in a thrilling Play-off final against Medway Ladies. Catherine Spencer’s squad can be hugely proud of just how far they have come in such a short space of time. I know everyone at the club is proud of them.
We are also justifiably proud of our mini and junior sections - and with good reason. The Under-18s, U17s and U15s won their respective Kent Cups, continuing the club’s fantastic record in county junior finals in recent years. All brilliant efforts.
Well done to everyone on and off the field for a great season.
So now it’s onwards and upwards and planning is already under way for next season. We will renew our friendship with the three promoted clubs in National One next term - Sale, Cinderford and Chinnor - all great clubs against whom we’ve had some cracking games in recent seasons. And we will also prepare for a first ever visit to Rotherham who were relegated from the Championship.
However, it's sad to say goodbye to Fylde, Old Albanian and Hull Ionians who were relegated from Nat 1.
Now we can all look forward to a long hot summer and recharge the batteries, although the most important question is what to do on a Saturday afternoon now. June is sorted with the three England games in South Africa, but I will have to scratch my head for things to do on the other weekends. I’m sure Mrs B has plans for me!
Have a great summer and see you next season.
Updated 15:39 - 15 Jun 2018 by Jon Edwards