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 and we will come back to you.


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


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


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

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.


1. Organise and administer our fundraising efforts

2. Design, create and deliver a fundraising event


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


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

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

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.



Club Chairman


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.


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.



Kinsale 2011 Tour – 10th Anniversary memories…….

This May Bank Holiday weekend marks the 10th Anniversary of the club’s first ‘modern-day’ tour to Kinsale.

That the 2011, 2012 and 2014 “Believe” Tour took place at all was on the back of what Ron Birkby quite rightly describes as “groundbreaking” trips a decade or so earlier (and for “fans” of the 2003 Tour keep your eyes pealed for a trip down memory lane tomorrow…..)

Of course, much of what took place in County Cork in 2011 falls under the hallowed “What goes on tour, stays on tour” rule….thankfully…. #wgotsot.

However, there are some stories that can be shared which when coupled with the photo gallery below, will serve to evoke and stir very fond memories for all that made the trip.

We left from the club at 10.30 on Friday 29th April, many of us after a “slap up” breakfast and beers…as if we needed a head start lol… Spoons. The Forwards were to wear crowns and the Backs wore eminently suitable tiaras as homage to the Royal Wedding of William and Kate that very day.

As Tour Priest I was immediately to work as the first rehearsal of my Tour Choir (Masters Dedman, Sparkhall, Maynard, Montgomery and the Corcorans – Josh and Cam) and then a premiere performance took place at Gatwick, with another on arrival at Cork airport. The boys worked hard and were mighty impressive….even if I say so myself, performing at each Tour Court and throughout all four days. In 2012 we added a Cheerleader Squad and 2014 a Mariachi band playing ukeles and distributing Doritos and dips, but I think it’s fair to say that the 2011 Choir remains the pinnacle. We performed at the 2011 Club Supper too:-

Whilst off the pitch activities largely fall under the #wgotsot rule, the on-field activities deserve pride of place here.

We entered two teams – one in the Junior Open and a second Veteran 10s team. I think it is pretty fair to say that the TW Animal Surgeons (Vets….see what we did there?) were not at their best during the Saturday morning qualifying session. However, we did enough to make it through to the Final against the local undefeated Kinsale Vets. It was “big game” time now and we even stopped drinking(ish) an hour before kick off in readiness as possible glory awaited…..and we grabbed it with both hands beating the locals 10-7 with JC and Bobby G to the fore, and with a phenomenal late cover tackle from Mr Paul Miles securing the win. Cue major celebrations and another Murphys or ten (County Cork being Murphys not Guinness territory).

The Kinsale Sevens prided itself in being the largest 7s tournament in Europe at the time and, consequently, despite fielding a very talented First/Second team squad, more losses than wins on Day One meant we would be playing in the Junior Plate knockout event on the Sunday……and more of that shortly.

Unless you have been to Kinsale on Sevens weekend, it is hard to emphasise quite how brilliantly organised the event is. Everyone in this gorgeous fishing village is involved in the event and the atmosphere throughout the place is electric – all day and all night! Before hitting the nightlife on Saturday we had booked a full squad dinner at our base, the famous Trident Hotel. The Animal Surgeons were still basking in the aura of victory and we all needed a good feed to sustain us by now. And what a feed it was – “Potato….Potato….Potato!” Steak & Kidney Pie and carrots, garnished with “Roast Potatoes, Chips and Mash”….the days of famine were clearly over 

We arrived at the ground on Sunday morning anticipating a full days drinking, and given a boisterous evening’s entertainment, just a limited amount of rugby to watch from the TW team. How wrong we were…..showing admirable “bouncebackability”, three morning wins suddenly saw the boys reach the afternoon quarter and semi finals and then….suddenly….we were in the Final! I have no doubt that the raucous touchline support contributed (fuelled by some superb “liberation” of beer vouchers by that morning’s Mustard & Ketchup slaves messrs Claridge and Crees junior)… did Andy Hill’s charismatic leadership as Band Master that saw the rest of the squad take to the field in marching band formation at half-time in each of their games.

And on to the Junior Men’s Plate Final – held on the main pitch in front of a very large Sunday afternon crowd. Alex Maynard and David Sparkhall’s “wheels” had been key weapons all day but in the final it was some of the older heads – Tiggy Bartley, Rob Harrison, James Gwinnett and Killian Casey who stepped up. However, leading 24-19 in the final seconds, there was dismay when our opponents crossed in the corner and had a touchline conversion to win it. Thankfully, it sailed wide and the Tour Priest and Tour Chairman John Crees were quickly on the case with the organisers over who should be awarded the win.

The rules quite clearly stated that no extra time was to be played and that the winner would be the side that had scored the first try. Once we became aware that the referee and the opposition were actually unsure as to which team had crossed the whitewash first, Mr Crees was “on fire” as he explained that “rules is rules” and that we had scored the first try. Such was his utter conviction that no one argued and we were the champions – the honest truth is that no one actually knew who’d scored first (well apart from Mr Crees and I it seemed and, shall we say, I think it’s fair to suggest that we “liberated” this one too….)

Different tourists make for different tours and I, personally, had great enjoyment from the next two to Kinsale as well, as I was able to share them with more friends and both my sons. However, Kinsale 2011 remains up there with the very fondest of rugby memories for yours truly and, no doubt, all in attendance.


Band Meister Andy Hill with his erstwhile side-kick Francesco Colangelo
Congregating pre-Tour at St Marks…..
Tour Choir’ s first “overseas” performance at Cork airport
“Court” at The Trident….Dom Palacio took an early lead in the TC (if you know you know!) classification and managed to keep the yellow jersey for most of the weekend from memory!
The Nelson brothers as the Mustard and Ketchup slaves….
And Messrs Dry and Withers performing the same role….and bloody good we were too!
The Kinsale Sevens official “Roll of Honour”
TW Animal Surgeons – 2011 Kinsale Veterans 10s Champions of the World
TWRFC – Kinsale 2011 Junior Plate Winners

Over £100k to be invested into the pitches at St Mark’s, the home of TWRFC

As some of you will remember when I became Chairman I said we would review our investment priorities and create a route to delivering them. At the time our priorities were:

  • Improving our Clubroom in the Clubhouse
  • Improve our parking at St Mark’s
  • Improve the availability of our pitches.

We quickly reached a conclusion that with St Mark’s as our long term home our most pressing priority should be having pitches to play rugby on! So investment in pitch availability became our priority, closely followed by improved parking and then the Clubhouse.

We continue to progress our thoughts on the Alternative Grass Pitch which would sit alongside pitch 1 and I hope to update you further on that soon. Today I wish to make you aware of a significant investment into pitches 2 and 3. We are optimistic that this investment will give significantly enhanced availability of these pitches and keep St Mark’s open for rugby for a considerably longer period. We are taking our drainage back to basics with:

  • Brand new main carrier drains from the east end of pitches 2 and 3 to the small pond beside Frant road.
  • Brand new primary drainage channels (that feed into the main carrier drains) running length ways down pitches 2 and 3. These are perforated plastic drains that are connected together and run between 3 and 5 meters apart. The channels above them are filled with gravel and root-zone sand.
  • Brand new secondary drainage sand and gravel slits running across the pitches to feed the primary drainage channels.

The work is due to start at the beginning of May and the pitches will be out of action for several months to allow the grounds to recover and re-seed. Our friends at Borderers Cricket have kindly agreed to use the ‘Kent wicket’ this year while the work is completed.

This will mean that during the extended rugby season in May and the start of the cricket season (in May) the remainder of St Marks will be a little congested and we thank you for your understanding as we juggle training/fixtures to fit everyone in. It’s likely that we will have to adjust training times, and potentially move the occasional session to Saturday to accommodate.

Like all projects of this size they involve many hands and the financial support of many. In terms of the grounds strategy and engaging with contractors Roger Clarke has done a tremendous amount of work and diligence. In terms of paying for it there are many to thank: firstly the club has been saving away and sinking monies to prepare for this moment; secondly Tunbridge Wells Borough Council have offered to support; lastly the RFU and Sport England have supported us throught their ‘Winter survival fund’.

We thank you all for your support of our club and sport in Tunbridge Wells.

Come on you Wells