President’s update

The challenges presented by the Coronavirus restrictions are certainly the biggest faced by us in my over 50 year association with the Club. In fact one would probably have to go back to the Second World War when the Club closed for 6 years, to find anything equivalent. We bounced back from that and I have every confidence that we will come through the current difficulties stronger and with a renewed relish for our Game.

I am encouraged to see that training has restarted at all levels with the young in particular getting some much needed physical exercise after being in lockdown for so long. It’s also about getting out to meet old friends again because Rugby is very much a game  where lasting friendships are forged; I still have friends in the Club I played rugby with at School. It will be that spirit and a shared purpose that will see the Club through these difficult times and on to a brighter future.

Club spirit is in the right place and the Board is very active in managing the current situation and putting plans in place for the future. I am confident that all will work out well.

On a domestic note I have appointed 5 new Vice Presidents in a deserved recognition of their services to the Club over many years. Tim Collins, Bruce Elliott, Martin Slattery, Brian Whiting and Matt Wilkey will be joining the VP ranks from the beginning of the season, and I look forward to the return of normality when I will be able to welcome them properly.
So, stay confident about the future and please take every opportunity to involve yourself in Club activities even if it’s only coming up for a social beer on the new decking.

Alan Skinner
Club President

Chairman’s update

Dear Members and Friends of TWRFC,

I hope you are well, healthy and safe. We have all had a fairly challenging past few months which has tested all of us in many new ways. It was certainly nice to see the minis and youth age groups back at St Mark’s as the restrictions eased. It is equally good to see the senior and Ladies sections back training this month too. I think we have all enjoyed a small step back to normality.

We are very busy and excited about the return to rugby at the beginning of September. We have been busy preparing the club to be compliant with both the Government and RFU guidelines to ensure we have a safe return. If you have been to a shop or restaurant recently you will all be familiar with the look and feel at the club: Lots of hand sanitisers, lots of one way signs etc. But we are ready and can’t wait to get back.

Over the summer it has been great to see St Mark’s being used by our community. In addition to most of our Mini and Youth age  groups training we have welcomed: Rugby Tots; The Mead School, ??? Puppy training, First Class Football a running club and of course our friends at Borderers Cricket club to St Marks. Of course this is in addition to the endless runners, dog walkers, fitness enthusiasts and walkers. In fact this week we have the ground let out to the Kiwi Experience sports camp with lots of kids having a great time. So in short it has been thriving and vibrant as well as of huge value to our Community.

We have also been busy investing. Early on in the summer we had some volunteers strimming and chopping to keep our perimeter tidy. We have seen some fantastic art work go up on the ground floor to make the Club a little brighter (kindly paid for by Countryside Homes). We have also expanded the decking in front of the clubhouse to make a nice place to eat or drink your delights from the Café. We have also seen investment into the pitches, with lots of slitting, sanding, seeding and hole filling. Trying to ensure we have the pitches as prepared as we can for the new season.

We have also progressed our investment and expansion plans. More news will follow on this soon but we are making progress.

As for the club more operationally. We have budgeted for this year, we have sensitised the budget for this year and we have scenario planned for this year. We are financially strong enough to trade through all such scenarios but will be launching our annual membership renewal soon to help us.

As I ended last night’s Board meeting I said:

  • We have a mini/youth section that is growing in numbers (600+) and is offering an ever improving experience
  • We have an academy that ended last year with strength and depth as well as qualifying for a Kent cup final.
  • We have a ladies section that is going from strength to strength with over a 100 members as well as growing senior members
  • We have a senior section that had a really strong finish last season, has a great team spirit. They have carried good numbers into pre-season training with some new faces. The Vets and social members are very welcome but I suspect will appear a little later!
  • We are financially safe and operationally compliant

We are in good shape and I thanked the Board and all our volunteers for putting the club in this position.

We do however have lots to work on still:

  • We strive to diversify our revenues further and particularly over the summer
  • We want to continue the progress on delivering an all-weather pitch as well as better grass pitches.
  • We want to deepen our value to the Community and ensure more people enjoy the beauty of St Marks
  • We want to broaden our Commercial partners to allow even more investment into the facilities we all enjoy
  • We want to attract more social members to play rugby, socialise and enjoy our club

If you can help us achieve any of the above then please do let me or any member of the Board know.

I look forward to welcoming you back up the club soon and hopefully to enjoy some competitive rugby (when we are allowed!)

COYW

Mike
#oneTWRFC

Charity Quiz Night – Sold Out!

The Charity Quiz Night for the Lewis Moody Foundation has sold out!

The quiz starts at 7pm hosted by our very own Tim McCabe – with Heads & Tales and a Raffle as well. Curry from our friends at The Raj will be served from 7:45pm

Ahead of the quiz we have 18 brave souls who have volunteered to “Brave the Shave” and be sponsored to have their heads shaved – the razors start buzzing from 5:45pm.

Even if you cannot make the quiz you can still sponsor “Brave the Shave” via our just-giving page:

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/twrfc-brave-the-shave

Raffle tickets will be available all day Saturday from Chaz or Stu for £5 per strip or £10 for three. Some great prizes are on offer including signed memorabilia from former England, Leicester Tigers player and World Cup Winner Lewis Moody

1XV Game Moves to Friday

This weeks 1XV fixture against CS Stags will take place on Friday 6th March at the Boys Grammar 3G pitch – KO 20:15

Location: By the Tunbridge Wells Sports Centre, St Johns Road, TN4 9TX

Parking: Please park in the Tunbridge Wells Boys Grammar School carpark which is next door to the Sports Centre.

Play Your Part, Support Your Own!

On Sunday 15th September, myself and a close group of friends involved in the senior playing squad will be cycling the London to Brighton event to raise money and awareness for the Crohns’ and Colitis UK Charity.

This is a charity that has become very close to us all after seeing our best friend, and former coach and TWRFC Director of Rugby, suffer due to the disease. Over the last 6-8 months this man’s life has been turned upside down. Exacerbations in his condition led to multiple surgeries, two intensive care admissions and more than 55 days in hospital. Seeing the impact this had, not only on his physical and mental health, but on his loved ones was heart breaking! Fortunately, with the support of his family, friends and amazing fiancé he is feeling himself again and back on the road to recovery.

Having witnessed his ordeal, myself, Chaz Spence, Nick Doherty, Adam Webb, Tom Claridge and Bruce Wilson will be participating in the London to Brighton Cycle ride in September. We will be raising money for the ongoing research in Crohn’s and Colitis for the continued and developing care of it’s sufferers. To make the journey that bit more special we will all have the pleasure and privilege to celebrate his wedding day two weeks later.

In the famous words of Jean-Bertand Aristide:

‘If one of us suffers, we all suffer. Togetherness is strength”

With that in mind let us show what a great community club TWRFC is. Let us all get behind this event and show support for the clubs own through such a challenging time. Any donation would greatly be appreciated, however big or small. Please use the just giving link below to show your support.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ldn2btown?fbclid=IwAR2PBNig4cFArp-In60kyh_WYkLABpBg506fWCCi810Gg-3vElQTo7ISNSE&utm_campaign=pfp-share&utm_content=LDN2BTOWN&utm_medium=fundraisingpage&utm_source=Facebook&utm_term=b66Egw6pd

Mike Hathaway

Success for three U16s

Paddy Hagger Finn Bradley and Dom Bradley (not related) have all played for Tunbridge Wells and Kent for a number of years with all three getting into Saracens u15’s academy last year.

Now after a gruelling selection process including training 2 days per week at Saracens training ground in St Albans throughout the school holidays and Matches against Harlequins and Bath Academies all three have been selected again for the Saracens’ U16 academy.

This is an amazing achievement! Places in the Saracen’s academy are exceptionally competitive.  Of the 3000 players at U15 across Hertfordshire Essex and Kent, only the top 100 U15 players were selected to trial for Sarries’ for just 35 places. At U16 this was reduced further-still to 25 places.

It’s a great success for the three lads – and reflects on the amazing coaches are and the quality of the children coming through the ranks at Tunbridge Wells.  Hopefully we can look forward to some home grown talent for the first team in years to come… (the boys themselves are probably hoping to play for Saracen’s and who can blame them)