Chairman’s Update: 3G – Alternative Grass Pitch

In my last update I mentioned that the club was planning for the future, looking at how we continue to develop and grow as a club. A key part of those plans includes looking at delivering a 3G Alternative Grass Pitch (AGP). Even with all the work done on improved drainage this year there is still demand for all year round playing space at St Marks now and in the future.

Whilst the club will benefit from access to an AGP we are keen that this development is part of us becoming a community sports hub. To that end we have been working closely with local schools, sports clubs and the council, as part of their sports field strategy, to develop  plans and supporting business case.

Given the intended location for the AGP is alongside our current 1XV pitch we are working very closely with TW Borderers Cricket Club on plans – which include the creation of a new cricket square on the land to the south of the 3rd XV pitch and the construction of a cricket pavilion adjacent to the current Sussex square. This will ensure no loss of playing space for the cricket club.

We are well progressed on pulling together all of the technical reports required for submission of a full planning application over the next few weeks. In addition to the AGP, the planning application will also include installation of hard standing in front of the clubhouse, new storage for equipment, cricket pavilion, new cricket wicket and extending and improving our onsite parking.

As part of the preparations for planning, the club held a Public Consultation evening for residents in the neighbourhood to talk them through the plans and take on their feedback ahead of making our application.

The full suite of plans will shortly be available to all members to view in the café. We would warmly welcome you to take time to have a look next time you’re in the café.

Whilst a lot of work has gone into getting the AGP project to this stage, we recognise that planning is just the first stage. Once we have planning, we then need to start fundraising for the actual build – we have some interesting plans in development and are looking at what grants we could apply to for funding. But, we will still need help from all our members to support fundraising, so please keep an eye out for more news on that front.

The fundraising stage of the AGP project will also need a lot more support to deliver so if you are interested in helping please contact Steve Daly in the first instance on 07825 286 813.

If you have any questions about the proposed plan please send them to secretary@twrfc.com and we will come back to you.

#oneTWRFC

Proposed Plan
Proposed paving improvements and equipment store
Proposed equipment store – front elevation
Proposed improvements to existing parking
Proposed extended parking
Proposed Cricket Pavilion

KIWI RUGBY CAMP

This summer NZ Rugby Experience will be back at St Marks running their Kiwi Rugby Camp 2nd – 6th August, 9am to 3pm. The Camp is one of the highlights of the club calendar where players form 6yrs to 16yrs can experience learning rugby the Kiwi way including the famous Haka!

NZ Rugby Experience have been running the camps at St Marks for over ten years and put on amazing camp where players learn not just the skills but also the ethos of rugby.

The camps are incredibly popular so be quick and book your space – the cams is £175 per player, sibling discounts and day rates are available. Follow the link below for bookings:

Spond Club

#oneTWRFC

May 100 Club Draw

The results of the May draw were:-

1st No 52 Pete Gould £250

2nd No 60 Malcolm Greenslade £100

3rd No 25 Sarah Clarke £50

There is still “room at the inn” so if you’d like to support the club with £10 per month and have the opportunity of cash prizes then do contact Alan Skinner at skinners205@btinternet.com

Chairman’s Message – Volunteers Needed

As we approach the end of one, very challenging, season and prepare for the next one there are a number of volunteer posts that we would like to fill ahead of the season starting.

Some have opened up as current long standing volunteers are standing down, and we thank them for their support over the years, but many are driven by the clubs desire to be better, improve our proposition and appear even more professional.

In addition there some project specific roles to help support key projects the club is embarking on.

Have a look at the details below  – feel free to contact the leads noted against each role if you want have a chat about the role or how you could help.

Fixtures Secretary Senior Squads (Contact: Mike Rigby 07793 458 856)

Purpose: To take responsibility for organizing league, cup and friendly matches for all of the adult teams at the club and ensuring the fixtures provide the right standard of rugby, reflecting the needs of your club.

 Key aspects of the role:

1. Coordination of fixtures propose a fixture list for all teams, reflecting the ambitions of the club, confirming the list in writing by June of each season. Coordination of a group of volunteers to arrange manage fixtures, if applicable.

2. Ensure information is distributed to relevant parties Ensure that the relevant lists are supplied to the RFU, Referees Societies and other relevant agencies, confirming the fixtures with opponents at least two weeks before the game and that they are provided with kick-off times, directions to the ground and, if applicable, complimentary match tickets.

3. Dealing with any unexpected problems that arise Deal with match cancellations and finding new fixtures; handle any fixture queries throughout the season.

Is this role for you? If you are enthusiastic, patient, well organized and conscientious, with a familiarity with the club and its vision and strong communication skills, you could be the source of all knowledge about upcoming matches, keeping the season alive and on schedule.

Events Manager (Contact: Nick Van O’  07977 577 906)

Purpose: To ensure that all events, such as those to provide additional investment, motivate people to attend and/or reward volunteers, are successes in order to ensure the future well-being of the club.

This role is split across two areas:

Part 1 – Is the social side of the club – Helping co-ordinate our fundraisers and working with existing volunteers to bring a full calendar together

Part 2 – Is the commercial side – Working with local businesses who hire our pitches and club house to ensure they are well looked after and this valuable income stream grows

Key aspects of the role:

1. Lead the organisation of all events Plan, organize and lead a team to deliver major events, e.g. Summer Balls, Sportsmen’s Dinners, Tournaments, Beer Festivals, etc.

2. Work with other officers to set targets In consultation with other club officers, set targets for each event in terms of increased participation, funds raised, rewarding volunteers or simply having more fun.

3. Maintain a calendar Put in place a calendar of events to maintain momentum and awareness throughout the club.

Is this role for you?

If you are motivated, well-organised and well-connected, excellent at inspiring others with experience in event planning and understand and are aware of other competing activities, you could hold a position that is instrumental for keeping the club running.

Equipment Manager (Contact: Mike Rigby 07793 458 856)

Purpose: To ensure the club maintains a consistent identity across the club and ensure that appropriate kit and equipment is available for all teams. This helps set the tone for the club and our ability to function on the pitch.

Key aspects of the role:

1. Arrange and buy all equipment for the club subject to agreed budgets and need.

2. Keep an up-to-date list of all club kit and equipment.

3. Responsible for storing, arranging washing and repairing maintenance of all kit and equipment.

 Is this role for you?

If you are familiar with the culture of the club, enthusiastic and well-organised (and the owner of a washing machine!) you could hold a position that is truly essential to the club

Assistant Clubhouse manager (Contact: Nick Van O’ 07977 577 906)

Purpose: To help ensure the effective running of the Club House café. The Café is a key part of the club in-terms of offering quality service to members and visitors but also a key revenue stream.

Key aspects of the role:

1. Operate the café with optimum stock levels managing costs and wastage 

2. Work with staff and volunteers to ensure the café is effectively staffed

3. Ensure Café runs within required licencing and food safety standards

Is this the role for you?

If you are well organised, maybe have some hospitality industry experience, and want to help run one of the key parts of the club let Nick know.

Webmaster (Contact: Mike Rigby 07793 458 856)

Purpose:  To create and maintain a dynamic and easy to navigate website to showcase the club, ensuring that up-to-date information is presented attractively for visitors.

Key aspects of the role:

1. Lead on website creation and maintenance Create/update the website and design a navigation structure for players, opposition, coaches, volunteers, spectators, members, sponsors, media and other stakeholders, ensuring that there are regular updates to the news stories on the front page of the site (work with the Social Media Officer to share these articles) and the fixtures and results section.

2. Act as a point of contact for website content Liaise with the Communications and PR Manager and the club committee to publicise club events on the site and ensure the site complies with the code of conduct and reflects the values of the game.

3. Maintain the commercial side of the website Promoting sponsors, where applicable, and managing any e-business transactions that occur on the website.

Is this role for you?

 If you have good IT skills and a working knowledge of website creation and design, sound judgement and a strong attention to detail, you could hold a position where you will have the chance to be creative and put your web design and journalistic skills into practice for the betterment of the club.

Alternative Grass Pitch Project (Contact Steve Daly 07825 286 813)

In my most recent Chairman’s Update I mentioned the club was embarking on a strategic project to deliver improved facilities with the main deliverable being an alternative grass pitch (aka 3G). We are looking for a number of volunteers to help drive this key project. If any of the roles below are of interest please contact Steve.

Fundraising:

1. Organise and administer our fundraising efforts

2. Design, create and deliver a fundraising event

Design:

1. Help design branding/style for the project

2. Design marketing collateral

Organisation Design:

1. Help with designing target operating model required to support the club going forward

2. Support implementing the agreed operating model

Grants:

1. Support identifying opportunities for grants to support funding the project

2. Initial submissions and management of applications through the grant processes. 

TWRFC Limited AGM: 14th June 2021

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of TWRFCL will be held remotely via Zoom at 7.30pm on Monday 14th June 2021. NOTE: Any member who wants to attend should send their contact details to the Secretary (secretary@twrfc.com) by Wednesday 9th June; joining instructions will be sent out on Friday 11th June.

AGENDA

1. Welcome and Apologies.

2. To approve the Minutes of the previous AGM held on 21st September 2020.

3. To receive a report on the affairs of the Club since the previous AGM (to follow).

4. To approve the Financial Statement for the 2020/21 financial year (to follow).

5. To elect Officers and other Directors

Full papers will be sent to all Members

The Academy shows its quality…

Last Sunday, Tunbridge Wells Academy headed to East Grinstead for their first game this season.

It’s been a dreadful year for team sports so all were relived to finally be playing a proper game of rugby, that is of course if you can have a ‘proper’ game of rugby with out scrums and mauls. That said we all just longed for that first game. With the extended season we saw a few players unable to make this initial game due to cricket and exams so with 13 players East Grinstead kindly leant us two players to even up numbers.

As we headed out in the morning we were pleased for a bit of rain to soften up the pitches but by the time we kicked off this had turned into monsoon conditions, it didn’t matter we were on the pitch, ball in hand (most of the time) playing the sport we loved. With over a year from our last game it would be understandable if we looked a little rusty. However the training ground moves were spot on and we executed our patterns to the script. Each time we had possession we had a two or three player overlap, but then the weather had other ideas of any champagne rugby displays. The weather proved to be a great leveller and the team to get on top of the weather would ultimately win the contest. After a couple of forwards moves up the middle of the pitch for Wells with our big ball carriers, Jamie Phillips and Will Hawksfield an opportunity was created with space opening up yet again on the wing, unlike all our other opportunities this time the ball stuck to the hands and in went Gabriel Riordan for the first try of the game. It was a big ask kicking into the rain from the touch line, but we were on the score board at 0-5.

Max Maywood
Max Maywood

Now we knew our formation worked we just needed to keep plugging away and get the ball through the hands. Before long Innis Woodhouse, at scrum half, had connected with Reinis Zveidris and Jasper Tizzard who opened up the space for Gabriel Riordan to run in his second try taking the score to 0-10. The game was incredibly hard fought by both teams with some incredible tackles, particularly from Quinn McManus, Luca Chowdhury and Calum Scott however our only lapse in concentration came with a rarely missed tackle allowing them to score in the corner and to bring the final score to 5-10

The East Grinstead players played brilliantly and put in a proper shift on the pitch and we know we had two committed players as one of them was overheard calling us The Mighty Wells! And were only too happy to stay with us for our second game against Heathfield.

Triple try-scorer Gabriel Riordan

The rain had eased but with standing water on the pitch it meant conditions were still far from ideal and meant the link play and hands was still not there for either side. For some reason we ditched our prerehearsed plans and decided to carry the ball into traffic and not to utilise our well structured set up and get the ball out to where we had created the space. However we were still putting in some great tackling particularly from Harry Child and we could see where the next opening was going to come from so with a perfect jackal from Max Maywood the ball was carried up field by George Callow before connecting to George Owen who delivers the ball to Gabriel to run in his third try for the day under the posts.

A determined Jamie Phillips....
A determined Jamie Phillips….

The conversion took an unfortunate rebound off the post but at least we were in the lead and with only 3 ½ minutes to go surely we would be home and safe. But right from the kick off Heathfield challenged and pushed us off the tackle jack-ling the ball and turning it over. We had clearly relaxed too soon and Heathfield rumbled the ball over in the corner to level up the score, was the conversion going to be the decider, fortunately the weather stepped in and settled matters with a very fair 5-5 draw.

Innes Woodhouse

Regardless of the score it was great to be back playing rugby with great hosts and opposition.

On the 30th May Tunbridge Wells Academy will be playing their final game of the season at Westcombe Park.

Reinis Zviedris


Andy Child

Chairman’s Update

Members and friends of TWRFC,

As we have recently seen a return to rugby and sport at St Marks I thought it timely to provide an update on the club. 

Pleasing as it is to see the latest lockdown conclude and rugby resume, there is no doubt that the pandemic has touched every single one of us. Many of you have personally caught the virus, most know someone who has been significantly impacted by the virus and all of us will have felt some negative impact. Unfortunately some club members and friends of the club have paid the ultimate sacrifice and our condolences are with all their families.

 Whilst we have had little actual rugby to enjoy this year, the Board has remained focused on the Club with perhaps a greater focus on the future of the club. Our thoughts have turned to our ambitions for the club over the next 10 years and what we would like the club to look and feel like in our centenary year (2031). Whilst 10 years seems like an age away, this is the horizon we look to when we assess our broader development plans. Also, as we know time flies when you are having fun, it was only 10 years ago that I made my vets debut……..or maybe slightly longer. 

So, let me take you on a quick trip through the club and give you an update:
The Senior Section: 

We have three very divergent parts of our Senior club: The Elite squad; The Social side; and of course the Vets. But this year they have been united in playing no fixtures! There is of course a clear divergence in one matter: Training. The Elite squad have trained hard and benefitted from our fantastic coaching team…..The Vets have not trained for rugby at all but have made several videos that have entertained tremendously through lockdown. The social sides are in a happy place in the middle.

The Elite squad has recently resumed training and in fact recently enjoyed a friendly game of touch with TJ’s. They will shortly break for the summer before returning early for pre-season training. We have a couple of pre-season friendlies lined up and are very optimistic of a full season of competitive rugby. Most will now be aware that we have been joined at training by Ben Kayser who has given a real added dimension to forwards training. I also recently advised that Simon has departed to pursue new opportunities, Stuart and Dave are busy establishing our new structure for the new season. We have also started the drive to build a squad for next season and please do spread the word of our club, its ambition and culture. Thanks to all our senior coaches and players. We can’t wait to see you back in action next year.

It’s good to be back – Elite Squad training

The Youth section:

This year has been extremely different for our youth section. No fixtures, no festivals, large periods of no physical training and lots of online activities organised to help our members through lockdown. In case you have not heard, as he has told just about everyone he has met, Tommo has successfully managed to take our Under 6 age group (years reception and one) to 150 members. This is just outstanding and demonstrates the strong local demand for getting kids active. It also shows the tremendous role we provide to our community. We now have over 730 youth members and it has been great to see so many of them back at St Marks recently.

The reason for the success of our youth section is very clear: The incredible volunteer coaches that support every single age group. These ladies and men get qualified, plan sessions, complete endless admin, prepare kit, turn up bright faced and deliver an exceptional experience for our members week in week out. Thank you.

Thank you one and all you are keeping the future of TWRFC very much alive and growing. Thanks to Laurence, Martin and Alex for Chairing the Youth and the Mini’s.

Just a few of our 150 U6 players!

The Academy: 

Following the return to play the Academy also returned raring to go but with a minimum period before we could taken on opposition in competitive games we had a lot to do to get ourselves ready.

But with the hope of games before we close down again for the summer numbers and energy at training has been fantastic. Linking up with the U15’s, who will be formally coming into the Academy set up next September, we have had some really productive sessions.

It is so encouraging to see how keen the boys are to be back and play this great sport. We are still building but clearly the fundamental foundations from which we build are stronger than ever.

Huge thanks to our first team players who are helping out and doing a brilliant job, Max Douch and Matt Spicer. Big thanks to Andy and all the academy coaches.

The Ladies section: 

Despite the lockdown the U11’s, U13’s and U15’s have all grown with new players keen to enjoy social sport. This has made the Wednesday and Sunday sessions busy and a lot of fun. The noise is tremendous to hear across St Marks.

The Over 18’s (Adults!) with new members are growing and this is all before our inner warrior session on the 9th May. The squad are enjoying getting back to sport, improving the fitness and core skills. They are also enjoying playing the new RFU adapted touch game.

As the end of season beckons the ladies section also has the Rachel Buford camp to look forward to on the 31st May. Should be a fun end to the season.

Well done Simon and all the Coaches. But also well done to all the players, you have a real sense of community and are the fastest growing section of the club.

Ladies O18 Squad showing their Inner Warriors

So lastly to the running of the club and the area we have spent time on during lock down.

The Commercial team

I would like to thank all our sponsors for their unwavering support this year. Every single one of them continued their support for our great Community club. They have helped us keep going, engage with our members and continue to invest in the fabric of the club. We also have doubled our efforts to give as much social media coverage for their support as possible. I hope to welcome them back up to the club soon to personally thank them.

We are under no illusion the ability to get new sponsors next year will be harder and hence if you are able to help support Simon Hughes and Andre Van Zijl it would be most welcomed.

The Operations: 

Membership: Has been a huge success this year as we transitioned to SPOND. No doubt this has helped us perform track and trace as well as tracking membership fees. A record year for membership collection. Thank you for your support of your club. 

Covid-19 Policies: Who would have thought we would celebrate our ability to react to the relevant Government and RFU CV-19 guidelines. But we have trained at every opportunity because we have adjusted our approach to stay safe. Thanks to all involved in keeping us legal/safe and training. 

Pitches: Well this is the first year we haven’t cancelled training for the weather!! Mainly because we haven’t been up the club in Dec/Jan/Feb. We have invested though and they are looking good.

Clubhouse: The cafe trades on (for takeaways) and the decking is a great place to carry your produce over. Hopefully these will both come into their own over the summer.

The Future of the Club: 

You will all have seen our recent posts on how we wish to focus our attentions on future ground improvements. We have started to progress plans in this regard with brand new drainage systems going into pitches two and three. We are also progressing our thoughts for an alternative grass pitch and will provide a further update within the next two months. The latter has a thirst for volunteers and so please do let myself or Steve Daly know if you can spare a few moments to help us plan for 2031. 

So in summary:

–          Not the year any of us wanted, but we have kept on performing our valuable role in our community.

–          We have a growing youth and ladies section

–          We have a successful academy

–          We are ever closer to our #oneTWRFC ambition

–          The number of volunteers are growing but we do need more!

–          We are financially stable and operationally organised

–          We have direction and purpose for the future of St Marks.

Thank you to all our many volunteers and to everyone who keeps TWRFC at the heart of our Community.

COYW

Mike

Club Chairman

#oneTWRFC



Simon Whatling to step down

Head Coach Simon Whatling has decided to step down from his role at Tunbridge Wells RFC to take on a new challenge as attack coach at Tonbridge Juddians.  Simon has been with TWRFC since 2017 when he joined us ahead of our first season in the London and South East Premier League.  The coaching team of Whatling and his long time friend and team mate Dave Allen were successful at TWRFC for two seasons finishing fifth and then seventh in the league before Allen retired in 2019.  The curtailed 2019/20 season ended with TWRFC in a respectable sixth place.  Before joining TW Simon was with Blackheath for 4 years and made 55 consecutive appearances.  An all-round sportsman, Simon excelled at many different sports as a boy before cementing his love of rugby at Bath Rugby Academy, where he represented England at U16 and U21 level.  Prior to joining Blackheath Simon played for London Welsh, Cornish Pirates and Worcester.  Club Chairman Mike Rigby said “It was a pleasure for everyone involved to have Simon as part of our coaching team and we are sorry to lose his knowledge and ability along with his good humour.  Simon is still very much part of the TW family as his son plays his mini rugby at St Marks. Our senior management team of  Stuart Montgomery and Dave Marshall are looking forward to a full season of rugby with a new coach at the helm and several new player signings”.

We wish Simon every success at TJs.

 

TWRFC U6s Fly Past Membership Record

Tunbridge Wells RFC Youth Section have set a new milestone record by surpassing the 150 registered members in the Under-6 age group.  This new record highlights the dedication, and safe environment the coaches provide for our members.

Tom Callaway, the Under 6s Head Coach said “this is an incredible milestone for the club.  It’s been great to get back to training, and many new members have joined because they’ve heard of how enjoyable our sessions are.  We have a really good team of volunteer coaches, who have all been incredible in helping to deliver our ethos of fun and engaging training.  The future of this team is looking fantastic, and am proud to be associated with a club that has helped support such a large, expanding group”.

If all the members of the U6s rugby journey sees them into senior rugby with Tunbridge Wells RFC, this would be the equivalent of 10 full playing sides for the club at this level. The future of the club is certainly looking bright.

The U6s welcome boys, and girls into the group, with Tom Callaway adding “it’s about encouraging everyone to be a part of our team.  We’re seeing more girls joining this age group every year, which is great testament to the club’s involvement in supporting the women’s game”.

Among the comments received from parents, one said “every week my son comes back with a huge smile on his face, he’s loving his rugby here”.

For more information on TWRFC Youth Section please go to www.twrfc.com/youth

Kinsale 2003

And following yesterday’s recollections of the 2011 Kinsale Tour……

…a trip down memory lane to Kinsale 2003 courtesy of Mr Geoff Casely.

Enjoy

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