TWRFC Club overview which Graham “Press Officer” Withers submitted for a feature in Index (I believe the brief for this was 250 words…)
Tunbridge Wells RFC was officially formed as Old Skinners RFC in 1931 before becoming open to all players and renamed in 1973. Home games are played at St Marks off Frant Road in the town, and it is a quirk of geography that half the pitches sit in Kent whilst the others are in Sussex.
Under new Chairman Mike Rigby and the club’s Executive Board, the club has a vision “to be a volunteer-based Community Club, which champions sport for players of all age, gender, diversity and ability, enabling them to play to the best of their ability on first class facilities; playing high quality senior rugby at or above London SE Premiership level”.
The club is about to embark on a third season at National Level Five after a period of unparalleled success on the pitch that witnessed three promotions in four years and victory at Twickenham (cheered on by 10,000 supporters) in the 2016 National Intermediate Cup Final.
Over half of the current First XV squad are home-grown players, most having come through the hugely successful Mini, Junior and Academy sections, with the rest of the senior squad made up of talented and ambitious British and overseas players who have been attracted to the club by its success. The club runs three senior Saturday teams catering for those wishing to play both “serious” and “social” rugby, plus a thriving Veterans squad.
Last year saw two players – flanker Mike Hathaway and outside half Frank Reynolds – don the Kent jersey, whilst both Chaz Spence and Nick Doherty have played for they county side in recent times. The path of players like Hathaway is a blueprint for what the club is looking to achieve in that he started at the club as a mini rugby player, then moved through all the age groups before returning from University to eventually captain the First XV and represent Kent.
The club have been running Girls-Only Rugby (year 7 and above) since 2014 with considerable success. The Under 15s reached the 2018 National semi-finals & the Under 18s won every Kent Competition, Cup & League in 2019. This has not come easily as rugby must compete with many other activities including Cadets, Dancing, Horse Riding and other sports, but the current 60 girls work really hard to give rugby its time because they get more than just a sport – they get a team of mates around them; they get to play a physical sport safely and there are no size/shape restrictions as everyone can play somewhere. The club welcomes everyone to give it a go and that includes school-age+ ladies!
The Junior section is the bedrock of the club with nearly 550 registered players from under 6s to Under 18s. This includes in excess of 60 players from Under 16-Under 18 which makes up the Colts. This age group also feeds the Academy geared towards nurturing boys into future 1st XV players for years to come. The Academy is at the heartbeat of the club and the challenge it faces are the same as many sports – keeping the next generation interested in playing either elite or social rugby. To do this the club is proud of its “one club” ethos, and with this in mind coaches have gone out into the school community at both at Primary and Secondary level.
For 2019/20 the club is seeking to grow the youth membership (within the confines of space, and to assist in this it has tied up with local schools to gain access to all-weather pitches); to strengthen and deepen the senior squads; to invest further in the club’s assets (pitches, playing and clubhouse) and in an increasingly “professional” era in all aspects, to grow its commercial partnerships. The upcoming Rugby World Cup should also increase exposure to the sport across all media and social channels, which provides significant opportunities for clubs such as Tunbridge Wells.
THE BEST DEFENCE
OPRO has been providing a unique impression service to schools and clubs for over 20 years.
This year, the OPRO team will visit TWRFC and take impressions from all players who would like to purchase a Custom-Fit mouthguard.
Please place your order a minimum of one week in advance of the visit date in order for you/your child to be included for the impression taking.
The OPRO team will be visiting TWRFC on:
Click below for the full range and to order:
THE OPRO MOUTHGUARD
• Wide range of colours and designs
- Custom-Fit – This offers the best protection available when taking part in sport.
- Free Dental Visit – We send a team to the club at a date and time of your convenience to take the impressions.
- Hassle-Free – We supply all the information for you to pass on, people are then able to order and pay through our website.
- Quick Delivery – Your completed mouthguards will be sent back to the club within 7 working days of the impression visit.
- Free Bespoke Design Service – We can offer you the opportunity to create a unique design including your club crest, giving a professional image when playing other teams.
- Large Product Range – We have a wide range of designs on our website. Parents can also add anti-microbial protection to the mouthguard and case to inhibit bacteria growth.
- 12 Month Warranty – All of our mouthguards come with a 12 month dental warranty from the date of manufacture.
- World Exclusive – When ordering a mouthguard parents can opt to have it made from D3O, a material exclusive to OPRO, creating a thinner and stronger mouthguard.
- Complete Aftercare – Once the mouthguards are made, should anyone have a question or query, our Customer Service team will be available for them to contact directly.
- Manufactured in England – We make the mouthguards in our own state of the art lab, ensuring we produce the highest quality product and offer you the best service.
- Loyalty Scheme – Rewards for rebooking and for the amount of mouthguards purchased.
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
It is with great sadness that I report the passing of George Leaney yesterday morning in The Tunbridge Wells and Pembury hospital after a short illness.
George was an uncompromising second row who played at high level in the Army during National Service and for London Irish as well as for Old Skinners’ in the 60’s and early 70’s. He will be sadly missed and our thoughts are with his wife Skip and his family.
Funeral service to be held on 31st July at 3pm at:
Kent and Sussex Crematorium
Benhall Mill Road
Kent TN2 5JJ
Family flowers only. Donations to Cancer Research UK
Wehave the following pre season fixtures confirmed:
Saturday 17th August – Westcombe Park (Away) – 1s and 2s
Saturday 24th August – Medway (Away) – 1s and 2s
Saturday 31st August – TJs (Home) – 1s
Pre-season training starts on Saturday 6th July. Come and train with dynamic coaches and enthusiastic players.
We have a great set up with the (almost) youngest head coach in Kent and a team of fitness and physio experts to put you through your paces and then put you back together. Come along. We want YOU!
Congratulations to all the girls who took part in the Tunbridge Wells Secondary School Ladies tag festival.
U13 Winners: TWGGS
U15 Winners: St Gregory’s
Many thanks to the refs, teachers and other volunteers for helping us put on this event.
During the season, about 550 children (from age 6 to 18) play rugby at Tunbridge Wells Rugby Club each Sunday. The Rugby season restarts on September 8th and anybody who wants to give it a go is very welcome to come along for a couple of free sessions to see how much they love playing rugby at TWRFC. For any players who (entirely understandably) can’t wait that long, the club are running a summer ‘Kiwi’ rugby camp and a Rachel Burford accademy over the school holidays. More details about both can be found at https://twrfc.com/youth19
Congratulations to all the boys and girls who took part in the slightly damp Tunbridge Wells Primary School tag festival.
Many thanks to the refs, teachers and other volunteers for helping us put on this event.
During the season, about 550 children (from age 6 to 18) play rugby at Tunbridge Wells Rugby Club each Sunday. The Rugby season restarts on September 8th and anybody who wants to give it a go is very welcome to come along for a couple of free sessions to see how much they love playing rugby at TWRFC. For any players who (entirely understandably) can’t wait that long, the club are running a summer ‘Kiwi’ rugby camp from Aug 5th-9th over the school holidays. More details about both can be found at https://twrfc.com/youth19
Join us for a fantastic evening at Tunbridge Wells Rugby Club on Saturday 28th September 2019. 3 course meal, auction, raffle, dancing and a special guest MC. Tickets £50/person. Contact Michelle Greenall to book your place or table of 10.