The fans, players and administrators of Kent Ravens Rugby League Club are counting down the hours to the biggest event in the club’s short history, their inaugural match at the new Princes Park stadium in Dartford. The move to the stadium, which will be shared with Dartford Football Club, will highlight the remarkable progress the Ravens have made since forming in 2004.
Initially based in nearby Eltham, the men’s first team have worked their way up through the local amateur ranks, from the London League in 2004 to the Rugby League Conference Regional in 2006 and the Rugby League Conference Premier in 2007. The progress hasn’t only been limited to the men’s open age squad, a successful youth set-up has been developing whilst the club also boasts one of the south’s best women’s outfit.
Older rugby league fans will be aware of the code’s patchy history in Kent, most notably the short lived Kent Invicta club of the early 1980’s. Several amateur clubs have at various points left their mark, albeit many temporarily, on the history of rugby league in the area, but it is the Ravens who have hopefully laid the foundations for more substantial development.
This is not to say it’s all been plain sailing for the Ravens, the step up to the RLC Premier has been a big ask for the club. The southern division of the RLC Premier is arguably the toughest of all the regional divisions, a sign of the growing strength of amateur rugby league in the south of England. The Ravens currently sit bottom of the division and on Friday night face a London Skolars RLC Premier side hoping to leapfrog reigning champions South London Storm into second place and guarantee home advantage in the semi-final playoff against the Storm.
An upset against the Skolars would no doubt be the icing on the cake for the Ravens and most of the unprecedented 500 fans that have already bought tickets for the match, but win or loss the future is looking good for the Kent outfit.
* Tickets for the game priced at £5 will be available on the gate, for directions and ground details click here for the Kent Ravens official site.