2019/20 Budget

Following on from the page-turner that was the update on the club shop. I continue my series of bestsellers with an update on the 2019/20 budget.

Our Chairman Mike alluded to the club finances in his earlier update. The recent loss of several key sponsors, coinciding with the higher running costs of being at level 5 meant things were starting to look a little tight. Arguably that’s not entirely new news – the club finances have been a bit ‘tight’ for the last two years.

The commercial team have already been very active, both to engage with new potential sponsors, and also to make sure that our sponsors receive a compelling proposition from the Club. Whilst there is still work to be done – the picture is already looking slightly more positive.

The exec have now set the 2019/20 budget:

To call out a few areas of note:

  • Commercial income (which basically covers all income generated from sources other than membership and the bar):
    YoY increase of 13%.  This is going to take some work!  The planned increase comes through:

    1. Engaging with and attracting new sponsors. Without wanting to steal Simon’s thunder (commercial team blog to follow) – the recent addition of 6 youth sponsors is a great start to this and gives some confidence that the plan is achievable. Progress is also being made towards securing first-team sponsors, but these are not all fully confirmed yet.
    2. Making sure that the events we run are profitable (two events ran at a loss last year and we are keen not to repeat this).
  • Senior section running expenses:
    reduced 8.5% from last year (8.5% understates the real YoY reduction as it doesn’t account for the fact we also lost a key sponsor who was paying two players match-fees directly).  The majority of the reduction comes from lower coaching and kit costs.  Despite the overall reduction in Senior running costs, there is a slight increase in player match-fees, partially as a result of us now paying those players who were previously paid directly by a sponsor.
  • Projects
    A number of investment projects in the clubhouse and groups have been proposed. None of these are quite at a state for us to pull the trigger on – but we have held back some of the planned income to permit this
  • Membership Subs
    The exec have now set membership prices for 2019/20 at £200 for senior players and £150 for families. Whilst this represents a £10 increase, we remain incredibly competitive, particularly for families.
  • Bar/Kitchen and Other Clubhouse income
    This is held flat…  we hope to better this, but have planned conservatively.

Club shop update

Samurai have been managing the online store on the Club’s behalf for a season. During the last few months we’ve been looking into how to get the best experience from our relationship with Samurai, the conclusion of which is that we are asking them to hold too much bespoke TWRFC gear, and in some cases it makes sense to replace with core Samurai stock (explained below).

Our approach will be try and reduce the number of bespoke items we are using and holding stock for.

  • Where we really do need an ‘essential’ item to be bespoke (socks & playing shirts) – TWRFC will try to maintain a stock with Samurai.
  • Where we don’t really need an ‘essential’ item to be bespoke (shorts) – we will allow our stock to run-down and replace with a stock Samurai item.
  • Where an item is not ‘essential’ or there is not enough demand to hold stock (hoodies) – we will make these available to order via ‘order-windows’ (explained below).

Since we moved to Samurai – we still have some (assorted) stock left in the the St Marks’ club shop which we will be looking to sell if possible.. planning’s still under way, but a pop-up shop at the TJs game (30th Aug) and first-mini’s session (8th Sept) are likely.  If anybody is able to help with either please do get in touch (mcroker@gmail.com, 07770 936977).  The stock we have left to sell is generally some leisure items such as polo shirts, beanie hats, some umbrellas and also so rain-smocks, but not either shorts or socks.

Key changes

Item From
Youth playing shirts

Historically the youth section have had bespoke shirts with a different design for each age-group, and arrangement which has caused all sorts of logistical problems. These have not been available online.

Following the generosity of our youth sponsors (and some hard work by Andre and Simon) we are moving to a single shirt design across the entire youth section.  Even better – the sponsors have all committed to TWRFC for 3 years. More communication on this to come…

As the shirts are the same across the whole youth section – we will shortly be able to stock these online.

Socks

No change – these will remain ‘as is’

I have two batches on order – one of which has just arrived, but not yet been reflected in the online store (expect this next week – although the 1st team have grabbed a portion of the ‘L’s) and another one about 2-3 weeks behind.

Shorts

The cost/overhead of using bespoke shorts isn’t justified.

The residual TWRFC Bespoke White/Gold Trim Shorts will continue to be available through the online store whilst stocks last, but will not be replenished (the race is on to get the last 9 3XL shorts). We will replace with Samurai Stock Navy Shorts.

NB: If there’s enough demand for the white/gold trim shorts I will consider making these available via an order-window.

Blue/Pink Hoodies

I like these tops and intend to continue to make them available, but can’t justify the cost/overhead of holding stock for bespoke hoodies.  I will be allowing our stock of these to run-out and won’t be replenishing the online stock; instead these will be available using an order-window (explained below).

What’s an order-window?

Rather than holding stock of bespoke items, we can instead batch together your orders into an ‘order-window’.  We have done this before on a few occasions such as the chequered playing top, and it worked well. This provides a good compromise between making things available, and us having to hold the stock.  It also should help manage expectations of how long these items will take.

The way it works is that the bespoke items are added to the online store for a limited period of time (the ‘order-window).  At the end of the order-window, provided that the minimum order quantity has been met (usually 10 items) – the order will be batched together, manufactured and shipped to us.  Typically this will be 6-8 weeks from then end of the order-window.

Why? – Bespoke vs. Stock

The eagle-eyed may have noticed there are two types of item in the club shop:

  • Bespoke goods manufactured specifically for TWRFC: The can be identified by the tag “TONBRIDGE STOCK” and includes our custom hooped socks, the blue/pink hoodies, the match shorts with the white/gold trim and of course any playing tops.
  • Samurai stock goods which are customised with TWRFC logo: These can be identified by the tag “CORE STOCK” and includes pretty much anything else… blue hoodies, T-shirts, polo shirts, navy shorts, …

Bespoke goods are a bit of a pain – they have to be ordered by TWRFC in a minimum order quantity, and take 6-8 weeks to be manufactured and arrive into the online shop (compared with slightly over a week for the core stock).  Managing stock levels for core stock is also entirely Samurai’s responsibility (that’s not to say they never go out of stock – but it happens less frequently).

To try and make this a better experience for everybody the club (previously Michelle, now I) pre-orders some of the bespoke items and then holds them in stock at Samurai.  It’s a bit of a matter of guess-work, the club can’t afford to hold lots of excess kit and our demand is so ‘peaky’ that we sometime under/over order. Both under/over ordering cause issues – in one case the club ends up owning stock we can’t recover our costs from, and in the other goods people expected/need are not available for 6-8 weeks.

Wonga

Given I’m writing about Samurai – I also thought I’d answer a question raised at the AGM regarding what (if any) money the club makes from the online store.

The club does make a small amount of money on each item of clothing sold through the TWRFC club-shop – In return for appointing Samurai as our sole supplier of kit, Samurai give us a discount on all kit we order through them and also provide us a number of items free of charge (basically the first-team kit). Essentially our ‘slice’ is the difference between the online price and the club’s discounted price.

This isn’t a huge money spinner for us – and we try and keep TWRFC items at similar prices to those in the rest of the Samurai store (if you see an item that that isn’t the case for, please let me know).

Senior Update July 2019

I hope you are enjoying the break from rugby and taking the opportunity to watch and play all the other summer sports we invented and taught everyone else to play better than us!

Pre-season is going very well for the seniors and we are delighted to have Simon Whatling coaching alongside Aston Croall and a new management team of Jim Scully (DoR) and Stuart Montgomery and Steve Wickenden as Joint Chairs of Playing.

We have players joining every week and the vibe around the training ground is extremely positive.  Encourage players to come and join us – especially those who are returning from university and are looking to get back in the game.

All all players who wish to play this year including academy and social players are invited to pre-season training which has kicked off at St Marks, Tuesdays and Thursdays 7:30PM and Saturdays 9:30AM.

Congratulations to all those students who have graduated this year and we look forward to seeing you at St Marks very soon.

Mike’s first update

So it’s three weeks since the AGM and I already feel fully ensconced in the role of Chairman. I thought I would share a quick ‘Blog’ with my thoughts and what we are working on to ensure we deliver on our mandate.

So here is a whistle stop tour of what’s going on:

  • The first Board meeting was held last week in the new format. I have slightly expanded the Board to ensure it represents every aspect of our club: Seniors; Ladies; Operations; Commercial; House/Grounds; and of course the Youth. I asked each member to give an overview of their area and their aims for the year. We also had a good look at the financial budget for the year ahead and we all felt we are able to achieve good progress this year despite the loss of long terms sponsors like Axa.
  • The Board is fully focussed on our three main aims for this year:
    • Increase the number of volunteers across the club
    • Diversify and increase visibility of revenues
    • Build a development plan that is realistic and achievable
  • In terms of other news:
    • Steve Wickenden and Stuart Montgomery are settling in well to their roles of Co-Chairs of Playing. They are working smoothly alongside Jim Scully as Director of Rugby.The Seniors are back training and we are seeing good numbers enjoying the best in class coaching of Simon and Aston. The squad have welcomed a healthy number of new players and have already had the first social of the year!! Three pre-season games are arranged with a super local derby vs TJ’s on 31st August. Should be a great day up the club.
    • The Ladies section are already back training and have their Rachel Burford summer camp coming up on 14th August.
    • The Youth section is in planning mode but has the big and very enjoyable Kiwi camp coming up on 5th August. Sign up for guaranteed fun!
    • Nick Van O is full steam ahead in his House and grounds role and hopefully you will see/feel a few changes around the clubhouse soon.
    • Michelle and Martin are working hard to get us ready for the new season with Playing shirts, Kit, Membership and newsletters
    • The next big event to have in your diary is the Summer Ball, please do get this in your diary and contact Michelle for tickets. https://twrfc.com/news/twrfc-summer-ball-28th-september-2019//
    • Lastly, we are working really hard on our commercial ambitions and if you have any one we should contact for sponsorship/partnerships do let me know.

Lastly, I am enjoying the challenge of getting us ready for the new season and whilst we have come up against a few challenges we are relishing them. Can’t wait to see you up the club soon. If you feel you can help us in any way then please let us know, all volunteers are welcome.

One Club, #oneTWRFC

Mike

Development Update: January 2019

Since our last club development update, the Board of TWRFC have invited a sub-committee formed of club experts in the building, legal and land development areas, to look at the progress achieved on this topic to date. In doing so they have reviewed all of the key documents, advice received and the various approaches made to us.

The group comprises three club members who work close to or in the development field and are: Jim Hendley (Life VP), Mike Vos (VP) and Richard Baines (Member).

This group spent some weeks carrying out a detailed analysis and presented their findings to the January Board meeting. In summary and following this presentation the Board has determined that any future domestic development or land swaps are likely to take a number of years. This is because of the legal complexities around split ground ownership, split planning authorities (Tunbridge Wells and Wealden) and the current development environment in our area of the town as well as the difficulty in obtaining ownership of a suitable land swap site through developers financing.

Given this assessment it has been concluded that the likely time scale for any major change to this assessment is probably 10 years plus as a minimum.

As a result the Board has now determined to ask the group to look at options for developing St Marks.within the 10 year timescale.

In drawing up such plans we have asked them to address the various areas we see as priorities (in no particular order):

    Increasing the parking availability

    Extending the Club room on the first floor of the clubhouse.

    Improving the drainage to pitches two and three (to the same standard as Pitch one).

We have also started to look beyond the clubs present boundaries to potentially solve some of these challenges as site capacity may become a greater challenge to the youth section as it continues to grow.

Finally, and longer term, once we have acquired or leased further land we have asked the Sub –committee to look at the potential for developing the current fourth pitch next to the Cala homes development. This will be looked at in conjunction with the Board who will examine the potential for grant and self funding as well as prudent loans for these projects.

As things progress we will continue to update you and will ensure that this topic is included on the Agenda for the 2019 TWRFC Ltd. AGM ( provisionally fixed for Monday 24th June 2019).

Roger Clarke
TWRFC President

Asterix gets his comeuppance

TWRFC vets 16- 66 Sevenoaks Vets

The year is 50 B.C. Gaul is entirely occupied by the Romans. Well, not entirely… One small village of indomitable Gauls still holds out against the invaders. Meaning life is not easy for the Sevenoaks legionaries garrison outside the fortified camp of St Marcus, Tunbridge Wells. 

“Oh bollocks”, said Geriatrix Maynard as he rose from post gym slumber and wiped dribble from his chin, “the senility of old age has caused mayhem recently.” And with that he picked up the magic cauldron, of vets rugby brilliance, and, mistaking it for his chamber pot, poured the contents down the latrine….

Later that day, as the Sevenoaks garrison strapped their sandals, chief vital statistix, aka Gobby G, called his tribe of rugby heroes together and spelt out his cunning and erudite plan. “Errr…Let’s beat Sevenoaks at rugby and..er…Eat fish… it makes me rich”. 

The tribe cheered as the cauldron was placed in the changing room. “It looks a different than usual”, noted Beamicus the speedy, but they ignored him and carried on cheering. At least most of did… for fat father Obelix was strangely absent; awaiting a ride from a limping French immigrant called Gregoire dirtytarticus. 

Addipem bracus, the big britches, stirred the pot afresh and handed a spoon of infamous brew to the assembled Gauls. “Ooh it tastes different but somehow familiar” said camp Rainbow the bard, as Hackeriticus, not a swallower, spat his on the floor. “No it tastes like shit” said Sedgicus Caesar who had much better food awaiting upstairs.

“It a disaster” screamed Chinese dave, the slave with freakish cartoon lips and rounded tummy, as they realised the potion was gone. Hughesicius, Darbyititus,Mac Macias and webbitus did weep. Big Baldockus rent his garments. Lance lancius smoked a fag. And all the gauls agreed it was a disaster indeed. The game was minutes away, the potion missing and only Geriatrix body fluids to feed them. 

At first it seemed the plucky Guals might just do it without as they matched the ferocity of the well drilled Sevenoaks garrison. Tiny Asterix Miles running through their legs and scoring under the posts to even things at 10-10. But soon the lack of that magic fluid took its toll as the oafish Sevenoaks men, seven of whom were playing ones last year, began to turn the screw. Only Severus Slattery smiled for he was secretly one of them. And nasty Rigbius for he truly is evil. 

Oh dear! It all got too much for Zakaria and Parsonica. The first raging at the referee in frustration, the second squealing to the crowd about the missing liquid. “Don’t just gawp bring on the water!!” Only Getafix Whiting kept his cool, strangely tranquil as ever, even offering himself to the foe as a makeshift human carpet. 

The final score was 16-66 and so the drama is now on for the legend of Gaul lies in ruins. Will the plucky veterans return to winning ways? Will they turn instead to anger and vitriol – as did nasty Wrattenicus who deserved his yellow card? Or will they fade to obscurity? Tune in next time for the next exciting chapter of Asterix gets his comeuppance- aka “how to take a right old stuffing from a stupidity good team” If only Timmy Ali had not left camp he might have saved the day with that mighty left hook…

TWRFC Mini’s Festival 2018

We are really looking forward to welcoming 110 teams from 14 different clubs to St Marks on the 18th November.

This is always one of the highlights of the year for the club as we see over 1000 players from Under 7 to Under 11 play on the lovely St Marks pitches.

We hope the day will be a shining example of the values of rugby: Teamwork; Respect; Enjoyment; Discipline; Sportsmanship.

It would be great to see as many Friends of TWRFC turn up and support the festival with your presence, cheering and support. We have lots of coffee shops, food outlets and rugby to enjoy. We even have the world famous chef “Laurence Taylor and the Under 12’s” on the Burger stand!

We are delighted to again be sponsored by our friends at Markerstudy Group this year. We are both key parts of the Tunbridge Wells community and this festival should be something the town will be proud of.

COYW

Mike

Youth Chair

                                                                       

 

Development Update: October 2018

Since our AGM we have continued to look at potential longer term development opportunities for the club. To help make progress in forming a full development Committee I have been joined by Jimmy Hendley- Life VP and Managing Partner of Henry Riley and Mike Vos a VP who is a lawyer working in the Development area. Currently I will continue to project manage this area.
Further expertise will be added to the Development team as things progress and we as a club determine which option route to take. Development of our 4th team pitch remains an option as does the land swap route if an option to purchase suitable land can be delivered. In addition we are also looking at the stay at St Marks option if no big development option proves acceptable or deliverable. This would mean further improvement of pitch drainage, extension of the top of the clubhouse- plans have been revisited- additional car parking facilities- currently being investigated by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council who are drawing up plans and looking at costs-  and also looking for additional space both within and outside the current boundaries of the grounds.
In the last two weeks, the 2nd team pitch has been verti-drained and sanded for the second time this year and has now had 120 tonnes of sand applied over the April- October period. The last of these maintenance works being paid for at a cost of £4K by Kent County RFU.
These potential development routes take time to investigate thoroughly and will require a range of professional advice should one particular option be approved after consultation with the membership. We will continue to update you from time to time as things progress.

Roger Clarke
President TWRFC

Summer Ball

So I think we’ve just about recovered from what was a very lively and entertaining evening. Feedback from Martin Corry was that he had a great time and really good to catch up with lots of old faces. Pete Gould is still counting the cost of each glass of champagne that he drinks from his Jereboam that he won in the auction. Overall it seemed a great success and feedback has been fantastic. I’ve no doubt that we’ll look at doing it again next year and no doubt it will be bigger and better….For those that missed it, chat to those that went, no doubt you’ll come next year! A massive thanks to all that helped me organise and if we do it again, we’ll need a lot more helpers!!!

We have several more Social events coming up so keep an eye on the website!

 

COYW!!

Vets report: Cranbrook away (friendly)

Cranbrook Vets 10- TWRFC Vets 54

A reading from the (less than) sacred scriptures 

And it came to pass, in the second year of the reign of King Creesius the lusty, that the Lord God commanded the ancient men of Tunbridge to battle the heathen men of Cranbrook. For Cranbrook were an brutish and ungodly rabble unpleasing to the Lord. 

And so, verily, the men of Tunbridge wandered to that far and distant land; robed only in cloth of finest blue, provided by an strange man of hideous appearance whose loins were girded heavily as to maketh his pants seemeth fat. 

And, hark, a whistle blew and the Spirit of the Lord descended- so as to maketh them all keen unto a man. And they did take the fight to the heathen heartily, the Baldock running hard, his knees lifted high, his chest stuck out, until the breath runneth from his lungs and his rounded belly dragged upon the earth. And he was joined in the warrior pack by an assortment of blessed disciples; Milo, Tiggy, Craney, Gray, Fatpants, Kenners, Mac, Croker and an dodgy looking chinaman named Taz.

And these mighty men did battle hard, singing hymns of love unto the prophetess Emily, and did provide much ball to the glory of God. And they were inspired by the oldest amongst them, an ancient man whose years span eight and fifty, and Maynard is his name. And he is an miracle. And he also played the day before, despite his crumbling form, for the seconds. And he is an hero of the vets. 

And lo! A giant then appereath from amongst them, Andrew by name, of the tribe of the Northern of Irish, who smashed the heathen aside to put the first points on the scoreboard. And then did a fishy prophet of the Lord, one Bob-eye Jee, kick the conversion. And the Lord was mighty pleased. 

And the whistle bleweth again and the men of Tunbridge returned to battle. And lo! A pretty angel did appear in the backs, sent by God, and his face was brilliant white and his buttocks rounded and firm. And he did score an brilliant try by using a dummy, scissors and pop. And Beamooooo was his name. And Bob-eye Jee did converteth again and the men rejoiced heartily…for it was now 14-0. 

And Beamoooo was joined amongst the angel host by other fair beings of smooth face and effeminate nature. And their names were Hacker, Daley, Webster, Wratton, Derbyshire, and Hughes. And an angel that was fallen stood amongst them, an demonic and evil being, whose leg was deformed. And Riggers was his name. And he was an horrid abomination before the Lord. And the men of God turned their faces from him. And none would speak of him. 

At his command the enemy rallied and the heathen respondeth with an glorious try- straight from the kick off- the ball sailing into the hands of a winger to frustrate the will of the Lord. But the men of Tunbridge were not afraid for a midget did then rise up from amongst them. And the midget did score an third try. And the people of God asketh him to stand before them. And Milo was his name. And the Bob-eye Jee did kick once more and the Lord was mighty pleased. 

But lo! What awful play is this? An calamitous and embarrassing knock on from an hairy and brutish man, Mac, whose anger spilleth over and who did provide for the heathen many penalties with his loutish play and angry visage. But the problems were overcometh when a soldier of the Lord, fleet of foot, did outsmart the enemy on the flanks. And Wratton was his name. But the try was not given for an monstrously foolish and ignorant man, named Croker, did raise his flag and call for a line out. But the soldier of the Lord was not dismayed and scoreth again and this time it stood. And the Bob-eye Jee kicketh but this time the ball striketh the post and the Lord was displeased. And Riggers did laugh for he is evil. 

Now there stood on the field an crippled man whose arm the Lord had healed; an copper man, strong of back but wonky of eye. And he did stand behind the pack to play scrum half for his healing was so recent. And Tiggy was his name. And he did try a fancy boxed kick and verily did make himself look like an arse. And riggers did laugh at his misfortune, for he is a vile and evil being, and wants to return at 9. 

And there was on that field of play also an greedy man who did run mazily through the heathen hoard to score under the post in the second half. And Charlie Hacker was his name. And he did convert his own try for the fishy prophet, Bob-eye Jee, was taking a breather. And the Tiggy also scoreth an try and the Hacker kicketh that also. 

And behold! The Bob-eye Jee did return to battle and was tackled naughtily by heathen swine. And the fury of the Lord possessed him and he did breathe mightily through is nose, red of face and awful stroppy. And he did smash his opposite man and whinge a plenty. And the heathen laughed at him and scored another try in return. 

And the battle drew to a close and the Lord proclaimed his delight in them all. And the men of Tunbridge did stay for a beer and also won the drink off. And then did they travel to the home of the fishy prophet, Bob-eye Je, for a festival of sausage cooked on a brazier of silver. And the men enjoyed their ‘bit of sausage’ and danced into the night. And two disciples of the Lord, Tiggy and Laurence, did attempt to entertain them all with gripping tales of a constabulary nature which sent them all to sleep.

And the Lord looked down on the mighty vets that day and saw that they were good. And he proclaimed this a year of jubilee and commanded them to go forth into the world of Kent and claim a cup of finest gold…the season has begun. 

Here endeth the lesson.