The TWRFC History Quiz

Work is underway to update photography around the club house – one of the things we want to reflect more is the clubs history.

That is where you come in – we’ve already found a number of images but the year they were taken remains a mystery. Do you recognise any players in these photographs, can you tell us the year they were taken?

In addition if you have any interesting photographs you think would look good on the wall at the club house please send any copies/scanned image to me at drewraine@hotmail.com

The Best Kept Secret

As members we all know that TWRFC is great family orientated club offering a brilliant atmosphere for members and players to enjoy their rugby. As part of the three year development plan the club is getting even better – a short way into 2019/20 season and we’ve already seen new playing kit across the club (kudos to the sponsorship team), improvements in club house audio visual, pitch side PA and gym. More events are in the pipeline and many of you will have seen initial plans for ground floor catering to improve the pitch side experience – and all of that is just for starters!

Yet outside of our membership do many people know much about the club, its aims, the atmosphere and facilities?

TWRFC has been described as one of Tunbridge Wells best kept secrets – and that is something we are trying to change.

We are actively trying to improve awareness of the club through:

• Improved social media – look and feel and content

• Increased press coverage beyond first team match reports – see this weeks Times of Tunbridge Wells for coverage of our “SOS Kit Aid” campaign

• Fixture list posters around town,

• We’ve put in a schedule of all Youth Teams to submit stories so people can see the engagement across all age groups,

• We are looking at more prominent advertising around town,

• Having stands at local events,

• Making our first team home fixtures more of an event.

But what more can we do? Do you have any suggestions for stories, events or anything that could raise the profile of the club to wider community? If you do drop a comment below or email me at drewraine@hotmail.com.

Look forward to hearing from you!

#oneTWRFC

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.

My New Relationship

I’m Michelle Greenall. Club Secretary, first team admin person, Saturday gate and lunch  organiser and purchaser of stash. And I’m in a new relationship.  The club has changed kit supplier and I’m tentatively getting to know my new “partner”. We are in a very pleasant honeymoon period and I’m getting lots of attention and being showered with samples of lovely new kit (which will be available to buy very soon in our on-line shop).  The new kit really is cool and the males in my house get very excited by it all.  To the wives and mothers out there it’s just more rugby stuff and surely they’ve all got enough now.  But there’s never enough stash is there boys?

When I took over ordering the club kit in 2016 my partner had been chosen by someone else. Then that someone else decided that he needed to spend more time with his own real family and I was asked to step in. It was like an arranged marriage. I felt like I pulled back the covers and lay down in someone else’s warm spot. I waited to see who would make the first move. But it turns out that Kit Supplier doesn’t make a move. Kit Supplier has zero moves. Kit Supplier tells you that if you want anything from him you need to put it in writing and wait for 12-14 weeks. He was nice enough, he called me back when I left a message, he answered my questions with just the slightest hint of derision but there would be no kit for 3 months. I learned very quickly that although generally in life there are good and bad days, sunshine and rain, in the club/kit supplier relationship the club have all the bad days and the kit supplier takes the cash. The kit arrived that season but some of it didn’t turn up till Christmas. I stood in the shop every Sunday telling people that it was a good thing there were no wet tops in November because then little Jonny would really appreciate it when Santa brought him one for Christmas. Wherever I went random strangers would ask me if I had any socks in the shop yet and my children would laugh at them and say “soon”.

Year 2 came. The gift of choice for a first anniversary is paper and I was swamped in that. Everyone needed new shirts so that was 12 lots for the youth section and oh by the way, can you also order the on and off field kit for the seniors too? Plus the stock items for the shop; that was a whole lot of kit. I was absolutely up to the task. No problemo. I learned a whole new language. I learned about DST files for embroidery and the colour run info that goes with it. I learned about pantones and EPS files and sublimated fabrics. I got to the stage where I could look at someone’s hoodie and know whether the logo was the right euro gold or not. Lots of them weren’t but that’s all to do with the factory apparently. Obviously it can’t be Kit Supplier’s fault. Refer back to sunshine and rain in the paragraph above. The kit arrived and it arrived pretty much on time. Boxes and boxes of the stuff filled my house. My husband lost his sense of humour and we lost sight of our floor. I was ridiculously happy and told every head coach that would listen that I had his shirts all ready to give out on the first weekend of the season. I spent an absolute fortune and the Treasurer went mental. 18 months on he’s still talking about the amount of money we gave Kit Supplier last season. It doesn’t matter that every age group had a sponsor and the parents all contributed. We still spent thousands on kit and the accountant hates the sight of those big numbers on his balance sheet.

While I was wading through boxes the first team had had a pretty good year. They got themselves promoted to the National Leagues and picked up a shiny new coaching team. The shiny new coaches had been in a relationship with another kit supplier and they really wanted me to join the party. I had just got used to the old one and the treasurer had almost stopped mentioning the bills. Why would I want the pain of a messy divorce? How would I tell them it was over? I agreed to meet with new Kit Supplier. A first date – just a coffee, with a chaperone. New Kit Supplier sent a representative who was very young but keen. Nothing was too much trouble though and I warmed to his enthusiasm. I asked to meet the MD of the company and he swept in with the presence of Anthony Joshua and a handshake to match. It was like meeting the new in-laws and finding out that you were marrying into rugby royalty. The list of other wives in the harem was impressive and MD told me that there was a place for me if I wanted it. So I’m starting again with a new Kit Supplier. My own personal second marriage. Just about to sign the pre-nup and promise to faithfully buy everything from them for the next three years. I will honour them with timely orders and obey the rules of the contract. I will spend hours working out quantities and sizing and approving new designs. At the end of the day nobody really cares where it comes from. As long as they’ve got the stash I’ll be seated on the top table, I’ll get the cake and the sugared almonds and the Chairman will thank me in all his speeches. If I get it wrong there’s a get out clause after 12 months and I’ll have to start the whole process all over again.
Is there an app for that?

Michelle