Meet your new VPs – Brian Whiting

“My first introduction to the club was when Simon Jones first invited me 30 years ago to watch England play at Twickenham with the Vets, little did I know that later on Steve Webb would convince me that it would be a good idea for my pub company to sponsor the inaugural Tunbridge Wells Sevens event in 2012. I could never have anticipated that what would become the Whiting & Hammond Sevens would even see me playing my part on the pitch!

In that first year the team I sponsored (the W&H Leopards) were the Plate winners but despite an annual attempt to emulate this with a W&H team we have not been able to pick up anymore silverware – often failing at the final hurdle. This is despite me pulling on kit and boots and playing my cameo appearance on the field which resulted in a sore body and the odd black eye….that was not in the original “pitch” Webby gave me! It was hard playing in my youth as being a chef I had to work weekends when matches and training took place, it hasn’t ever stopped my enthusiasm for supporting and watching games at Twickenham and travelling to Australia to watch the Lions Tour.

We have had he usual “highs and lows” that go with sponsorship over the years (the latter largely connected with our persistent weather misfortunes, damaged marquees and a stolen Hog Roast) but the highs have certainly outweighed these. It was great to associate W&H with such a dynamic event and it was particularly satisfying that our final year of sponsorship saw Tunbridge Wells RFC both retain the Cup and also win the Plate with the Under 18s squad in 2019.

We now support the club in other areas such as hosting the annual Youth Ball, and taking over club lunch catering whilst I have gone on to play my part too with the occasional 3rd XV and Vets run out! Aside from this I remain a passionate supporter of the club from the touchline and a vigorous “luncher”.

I think rugby is one of the only sports where throughout your life there is a bond and camaraderie amongst everyone, I have continued through TWRFC to meet and make some great life-long friends. I think the club is fantastic and I am proud to be part of it and honoured to be asked to be a VP.”

Meet your new VPs – Matt Wilkey

“I started playing at TWRFC when I was 4 and have fond memories of the old clubhouse.

My family have, of course, been very involved for a long time. Dad, Chris, was social secretary for many years and often held “infamous” youth discos. Brother Rich played for the club from minis to seniors , sister Rachel was one of the very first girl players at the club and brother-in -law Steve is a player, coach and a past social secretary too. As a family we have also been delighted to have linked up with the family business and as ID&C grew so did our contribution to the club – from sponsorship of scrummaging machines to providing wristbands and ticketing for club events.

I am delighted that I am still friends with guys I played with throughout the minis and beyond which shows the strength of bonds TWRFC and rugby as a whole can provide. Mostly ended up playing social rugby after discovering I was better at the off-pitch activities than the on-pitch ones. Played a few games for the 4’s as I got older and a horrendous memory playing for the 2’s and getting thumped 95-0. Very occasional run out for the vets which I keep threatening to repeat despite officially retiring 2 years ago. Pretty sure I’m unique in rugby having once played a half on the wing followed by a half at prop………..modern wingers physique has changed.

Now I am a coach for the U12’s having started with my son at U6’s and am looking forward to giving back to the club and community as much as I can.

One of my favourite photos attached when I played a game with both my brother and brother-in-law for The Kew Occasionals RFC. Rare instances when you get an opportunity like this and it was pure, brilliant fun.”

Meet your New VPs – Martin Slattery

“I joined the club in 1988 in the mini section with my Dad as one of the age group coaches. Interestingly, I was in the same team as Rachel Daly, wife of Steve, and sister of Matt (another new VP).

I stayed with the minis for a while up to the age of 13 when I went to secondary school at Sutton Valence. I maintained my rugby at school playing in the back-row. At the age of 16 following a training camp that was led by the great Chalkie White, he encouraged me to move out to play at 10. Under his advice I moved and thrived. At school I went on to represent Kent, captained the Scottish Exiles, represented Scotland u18 and was in the u19 World Cup squad. Unfortunately due to a head injury I had to pull out of that squad and missed out on a great opportunity.

I continued to play my rugby at DeMonfort University in Leicester. I had a trial at Leicester Tigers and represented the Academy up to u21 level. I played alongside future England internationals such as Harry Ellis, Louis Deacon and Danny Hipkiss. On graduating I moved home to TW and rejoined the club. I was surrounded by some fantastic players and club legends such as Mav, Bobby G, Harry John Crees, Milo, Josh Taylor, the Sharples brothers and the Claughton ‘sisters’…and as a young, slender 23 year old in my second season of senior rugby at TWRFC I won young player of the year, was the league’s top points scorer and represented Kent 1st XV at fly-half and Centre.

My job took me to London and for the next 5 seasons I played at Richmond. It was there where I scored 40 points in 1 game during, what was then called, The Pilkington Cup. This record still stands today as the most points scored in a single game in the cup competition.

I moved back to TW in 2007 and rejoined the club under Mav as captain. I was enjoying being back. In the mid point of 2008 I suffered a very bad knee injury that kept me out for a few months and on my return a few games back I became very ill due to having Crohns Disease and was rushed into hospital. As a result, I was in hospital for a month and had a long road to recovery. This meant for the next 5 years I didn’t play any rugby and with my son getting to the age where he could join, I decided to give it another go and signed us both up.

I began to play again and coach my son’s age group. I continued to play for the senior teams but my knee was never fully fixed and continued to hinder me. I noticed my pace was dramatically impacted because of this…that or the weight gain! I found a whole new appreciation for the club as a member of the minis and playing teams. I had missed the rich value and community that a club like TWRFC provides. It is no surprise that many of my closest friends are also members of TWRFC!!

Now I am giving back and have been so proud to watch my son and his team mates progress and develop a love for this sport and club. I have been with the Academy since it was first set up alongside the likes of Tiggy, Gwinny, FP and Milo. More recently, I have been helping Milo and Simon Parsons with the ladies teams and seeing this side of the club grow. As my daughter has shown more interest I feel fortunate that she can take part in the women’s section thanks to the great work done by Milo and Simon.

Rugby is a huge part of who I am and I have enjoyed the many experiences across many years and refuse to hang up my boots just yet (probably should though)….”

Meet your new VPs – Bruce Elliott

“I grew up in a rugby family. Mum is from North Wales and every Summer from the age of 3 we’d spend time there. There were connections to South Wales on Dad’s side too. Growing up in the 70s it made it a really good time to enjoy watching Internationals with the absolute dominance of the Welsh side. And that was my introduction. There have been a few lean years since but what a decade!

I was fortunate enough to go to Skinners’, but unlike my two older brothers, I wasn’t much of a rugby player. My peak was playing a half for the As at U13 or U14 and never being asked back! So I stuck to being a spectator.

My brothers both played for TWRFC in the 80s. Huw for a short while and Dave for longer. It was probably only a couple of times but I tagged along for a few Saturday evenings to the Hole in the Wall in the High Street back when the Club used to regularly sing and particularly enjoyed the rendition of Banana boat song/Day-o which involved someone running halfway down the high street to call back day-o to the pub. Was there diving off the top of the inside porch into the pub as well? It’s a long time ago.

My direct involvement with the Club really started in 2004 when I bought a digital camera. I quickly became bored of landscapes and portraits and was looking for something else to try. I turned up at the club and Milo was watching the match. Milo’s a good friend of Dave’s and a family friend so I had a quick chat and asked who I should talk to about photography. He pointed me at Roger Clarke and that was that. I’ve been threatening to retire at the end of every season pretty much ever since.

So that’s 16 seasons of photography – 15 and a half looking at the most recent. I haven’t done a proper tot up but something like 300+ matches, and probably around 25,000 images prepped. Promotions, relegations, Twickenham, a truncated season. It’s been an interesting run.

Out of those 300 I have a clear top three, even if I struggle to decide between 1 & 2.

Twickenham was an incredible day for me. I’ve never had to get accreditation for a match before and seeing that other side to the job was fascinating. I’m much happier standing on the side of a muddy pitch following my local side, but it was a great experience, and my 3rd placed match. Only in 3rd primarily because we were too good and it was a bit one-sided. That’s not a bad thing of course.

The Chingford play-off match is my 2nd. Making the play-off was a bit of a surprise to us all with Havant fading in the last few weeks allowing us to pip them by 1 point on the final day of the season. Chingford had a similar set-up pipping Brentwood by a point. I’d photographed our 7s tournament in the morning before heading to Chingford. On the day it was like playing a mirror image of ourselves with both sides having a very imposing and stout defensive line, impressive forwards play creating space for pacey backs to cause damage. It was brutally physical and incredibly close throughout, eventually ending 33-35 after extra time, and gaining us promotion to Level 5 for the first time in the Club’s history. What a way to do it.

But I can’t imagine ever watching another match that was quite as nerve-wracking as Matson. With over 1,000 spectators and a very irritable and physical Matson side the atmosphere was electric. It genuinely could have gone either way for most of the match and with so much on the line… it really should have been the final at Twickenham.

I think we all know I’m not the most sociable of people, but in part that’s why turning up every Saturday is so important to me. I love seeing everyone, saying hello, and then clearing off and hiding behind my camera!

A rugby club isn’t the pitch or the clubhouse. It’s the people that turn up every week because they love the sport and the camaraderie that comes from playing, supporting or volunteering in some way. We’ve got a great club with a lot of amazing people who keep everything running and I’m really grateful to be a small cog in that very big wheel.

See you pitchside!

#oneTWRFC”

Meet your New VPs – Tim Collins

“My earliest rugby memory is probably going to be the 1995 RWC – mostly Lomu stomping all over England much to my disappointment and of course the final. The first game I saw live was a England vs NZ Barbarians fixture at Twickenham – looking at the teams now I realise how good both sides were with many legends of the game playing (Lomu, Fitzpatrick, Leonard, Cullen, Johnson etc)

Despite an interest in the game I did not start playing until I was about 23 – my first club was Tonbdridge Juddians which was mostly a decision made by geography. After about three seasons I moved house to Tunbridge Wells and coupled with TJ’s decision to build a first XV from paid players I made the decision to come to TWRFC.

I joined the club in 2010 when to be frank the 1st XV was not in a great position (ironically some of the best players had been ‘persuaded’ to change to TJs….I am not sure TW got the best of that transaction). I was however able to be a part of a successful 2nd XV managed by an up and coming G Withers. Two relegations followed and it was not a successful time for the club’s senior playing sides but I did get some opportunities to play in the 1st XV.

Things did start to turn around as we managed to get promoted in 2014/15 – and behind the scenes the gears were turning as the 1st XV got stronger in consecutive seasons – and I started to get more chances to start for the 1st XV. Obviously my best memory is the 2015/16 session – the team was strong and we just built momentum towards being unbeaten in the league and of course getting to play in a Cup Final at Twickenham. My favourite game for the First XV was the semi final however – the intensity before the game was something I will never forget and the fact we did not really pull away until the final few minutes just kept the tension going.

I made the decision to take a step back from playing to concentrate on a somewhat neglected family after that but have still been lucky enough to to play a couple more times for the 1st XV. My aim now is to play as many games as possible for the Vets and wherever else I can help out.

I think I have been very lucky to be able to play with so many talented players and coaches. I hope my playing career shows that willingness and persistence can sometimes make up for ability. The ‘glory’ of Twickenham is all the more poignant for me because of the difficult times and low points the team and club went through in previous years.

My favourite photo is with no doubt Bruce’s on taken in the mud bath that was Crowbough away in 2015 (everyone looking epic except me).”

Meet your new 2020 club Vice-Presidents

Club President Alan Skinner recently announced the election of 5 new Tunbridge Wells RFC Vice-Presidents for 2020.

The members of the VP “Class of 2020” are (in alphabetical order):-

Tim Collins

Bruce Elliott

Martin Slattery

Brian Whiting

Matt Wilkey

Each is well known within the club, but how well do you actually know them? I have had the chance to speak to each and over the next day or two I shall be sharing a little more of their respective rugby histories.

Vice-Presidency remains one of our club’s greatest honours and you can now all get yourselves along to Simmonds and purchase your striking VP Blazers ……..as modelled by my good self in the attached photo with new VP Tim Collins after that amazing Matson 2016 Intermediate Cup semi-final win 🙂

Graham Withers

AGM: Message from your Chairperson, Mike Rigby

Evening all,
As we are approaching the AGM, albeit a virtual one, I wanted to share with you a few of the topics we will be covering and encourage you to read the documents you have received. We did ask for people to register their attendance by tonight, so please let Michelle know if you are able to make it ASAP.
Topics we will cover on the night:
  • Chairpersons update on all matters relating to the club
  • Don to provide our Financial report for the year ending March 2020
  • Electing our officers (President, Chairperson, Hon. Secretary and Treasurer) and other Directors of the club
  • Lastly a vote on the proposed amendment to our Articles of Association. This is an important amendment and requires our members to decide on the night  if they wish to approve it. I have received a couple of queries from people not understanding what we are proposing and hence below I provide a little context to help (hopefully!)

Special resolution:
During this past year we identified an item in our Articles which placed a restriction on the amount of monies we were able to pay players. This restriction (c. £10k) is less than the amount we intended to pay players this year (c.£30k).
When the TWRFC Limited company was first set up (several years ago) the then Directors thought they would structure the Company as a CASC (Community Amateur Sports Club) and hence inserted wording into our articles to ensure we complied with the CASC guidelines on player payments. The Directors subsequently decided to not structure the Company as a CASC and not be bound by its restrictions. However, the articles were not amended to reflect this and we now wish to update the articles in line with our present practices.
Irrespective of this history the club Membership has a decision to make. In the Board’s opinion, the club will only be able to sustain competing at level 5 if not constrained by the existing wording in our articles of association.  This requires a change of the club’s articles by the special resolution proposed.
Members should read the proposed amendment, which the Board have considered, where we recommend we amend our articles to align with RFU guidelines on player payments

Any questions, please feel free to email me or ask on the night.
 
I look forward to seeing you on the night, providing an update on the Club and taking any questions you may have.
COYW
Mike

August 100 Club Draw

The winners were:-

Number 99 David Barton – £250

Number 51 David Sloan £100

Number 5 Simon Jones £50

September’s Draw is one of the big ones with a £1,000 prize.

TWRFC Ltd AGM – 7.30pm on Monday 21st September 2020

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of TWRFCL will be held remotely via Zoom at 7.30pm on Monday 21st September 2020.

NOTES: Members will receive associated papers by email.  If you believe you are a member and have not received the papers please contact the Secretary*

Any member who wants to attend should send their contact details to the Secretary* by Monday 14thSeptember; joining instructions will be sent out on Friday 18th September.

 

AGENDA

  1. Welcome and Apologies.
    2. To approve the Minutes of the previous AGM held on 24 June 2019.
    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 2019-20 financial year (to follow).
    5. To elect Officers and other Directors

Nominations by the outgoing Board:
President: Alan Skinner
Chairman: Mike Rigby
Secretary: Michelle Greenall
Treasurer: Don Bailey

Other Director(s): Roger Clarke, Stuart Montgomery, Andy Child, Laurence Taylor, Nick van Overstraeten

  1. Consideration of and, if thought fit, passing the attached Special Resolution to amend the TWRFCL Articles of Association
  2. To consider Any Other Business of which due notice has been given.
  3. Any other relevant matters for consideration by the Board.

Notes for members:

  1. Notice of any other business on which the AGM is being invited to vote must be received by the Secretary* by 11 September 2020
  2. Any nominations for a voting member to be elected as a Director must be in the attached format and received by the Secretary* by 11 September 2020
  3. Any member unable to attend the AGM may appoint a proxy using a formal Proxy Notice in the attached format, to be received by the Secretary* by 18 September 2020

 

(issued by authority of the Board on 2nd September 2020)

 

*Secretary: Michelle Greenall, secretary@twrfc.com

Full AGM Notice with Proxy and Nomination Forms can be downloaded here:

AGM 2020 Notice