Winning start for ex-Hawks duo on record-breaking afternoon for new club Chatham

Former Hawks pair Dean Beckwith and Danny Kedwell have joined ambitious Kent club Chatham Town.

By Simon Carter
Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 3:47 pm
Dean Beckwith celebrates a goal for Hawks against Wealdstone in January 2020. Photo by Dave Haines
Dean Beckwith celebrates a goal for Hawks against Wealdstone in January 2020. Photo by Dave Haines

And the vastly experienced pair - both 38 - got off to a winning start on a record-breaking afternoon in Kent yesterday.

Defender Beckwith started the 2-0 home win against Southern Counties East Premier Division promotion rivals Sheppey United.

Striker Kedwell, who left his role as Cray Wanderers manager last week, sat on the bench in front of a league record 1,876 crowd at the Bauvill Stadium.

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Danny Kedwell in action for Hawks against Eastbourne last January. Picture: Neil Marshall

For context, Chatham play at the same step 5 level of the pyramid as the Wessex League Premier Division, where their highest crowd is 1,485.

Prolific Dan Bradshaw netted both of Chatham’s goals against his former team - taking his seasonal tally to 28 in just 18 matches

Chatham are now seven points clear at the top ahead of second-placed Sheppey, who were losing for the first time this season. Sheppey, though, do have two games in hand.

The previous best South East Counties League crowd was also recorded in a Chatham v Sheppey fixture, with 927 attending in December 2019.

Bradshaw was playing for Sheppey that day, in a season where he fired 49 goals in just 37 league and cup appearances.

He moved to Chatham in the summer of 2020 and netted 13 times in 12 games prior to the pandemic-enforced abandonment of his debut campaign at the club.

Kedwell was appointed Cray manager last summer after being released by Hawks for the second time in as many years.

He was initially brought to Westleigh Park by Paul Doswell ahead of the 2019/20 season - as was Beckwith - where he formed a prolific partnership with Jonah Ayunga.

After leaving the club in the wake of Hawks’ National League South play-off semi-final loss, Kedwell later returned in November 2020.

Among Kedwell’s signings for Cray were Beckwith, who scored the winner on his last Hawks league outing in March 2020 at Dorking Wanderers, and another of his former Havant colleagues, Andy Drury.

Chatham’s crowd was the best at step 5 level yesterday, though nowhere near the highest at that tier this season - phoenix club Macclesfield attracted 4,373.

At step 6 yesterday - the same level of the pyramid as the Wessex League Division 1 - Isle of Man attracted a huge crowd of 1,744 for a North West Counties League Division 1 South game v New Mills.