Academy Continue to Build With Win Against Dartfordians

Sunday 19 Jan was Academy’s first home game of the season – the weather had taken its toll on St Marks pitches but The Skinners School kindly stepped in to offer one of their pitches.

Wells turned out a squad of 22 against visiting Dartfordians in front of a decent crowd. Wells Academy had put in some good recent performances but as a relatively new squad need time to start working together, string a few phases together and to start unlocking their true potential.

Early into the first half, Sam Dupuy spotted space on the wing and floated a sublime pass out to Harry Child at fullback who opened up the scoring. Sam Dupuy converted 7-0.

It was the forwards turn next as first Will Hawkesfield and then Jamie Phillips made strong carries before offloading to Dan Solomon who scored under the posts. The conversion making the score 14-0.

Straight from the whistle Markuss Launovics made a 50m run to put scrum-half Innes Woodhouse back under the posts for the third try. Sam Dupuy converted and the half ends 21-0.

With 22 players Wells Coaches made a number of half-time changes and sent players back on to the pitch with a discussion on reducing the number of penalties conceded ringing in their ears.

Wells took the squad changes in their stride and it wasn’t long before the backs started to click again and Euan Symonds went in for the opening try of the second half. Score 26-0.

Sam Dupuy made a great break and with some fantastic individual skill ran a try in from halfway. With him slotting his own conversion the score ticked over to 33-0.

Wells continued to apply pressure and of the back off a ruck, Harry Child spotted space, made a great line and off a pop-pass from Sam Dupuy went in for his second try of the game. Wells really enjoyed their rugby with the forwards and backs working well together, Cam Keys spotted an opportunity in the corner for another try but the conversion was missed.

Wells still weren’t done with Connor Bourne on the wing, not wanting to miss out, scored in the last play of the game the conversion made the final score 49-0.

The Academy coaching team watch on

Youth Fundraising Ball – Tickets Available 9am Friday 24 Jan!!

Tickets for the much awaited Youth Fundraising Ball go on sale this Friday from 9am.

The Ball which is the biggest event in the Youth Section social calendar is a great night out but also a key fundraiser – supporting the section delivering quality rugby to over 600 youth members.

This years event will be at The High Rocks Inn on Saturday 21 March 7:30pm – 1:00am.

Tickets are £50pp – including welcome drink, three course meal and entertainment.

Tickets can be reserved by emailing your age group and numbers to sarah@colleyraine.co.uk.

Tickets sell out FAST so in the interest of fair play emails will only be accepted from 9am Friday 24 Jan.

Ladies U11 – Taster Sessions This Sunday

After a very encouraging start for TWRFC Ladies U11s section a second taster session will be held on Sunday 26 Jan aimed at girls in Year 4,5 and 6.

The session is planned from 11:30am – 1:00pm on the 3G pitch at Tunbridge Wells Boys Grammar School, located by St. Johns Sports Centre (TN4 9TX).

The first session,on 12 January, attracted 15 girls and was run by Tammy Samuel, Head Coach of U13s and former England International supported by experienced players from the U13s squad and returning coach Julia Baldock.

The fun session started with a mix of warm-ups, assault course and relay races. From there the girls moved into a game of touch rugby so that the new girls could get used to running forwards and passing backwards.

“It was really fantastic to see so many girls at the session and to watch our more experienced Wells players coaching and encouraging the new girls” said Tammy. “This is just the first step in developing an U11 squad, we have more try out sessions planned and we have experienced coaches lined up to support the girls on their rugby journey”

Youth Fundraising Ball – Hold The Date!

“TWRFC are delighted to announce Saturday 21 March is THE date of the Youth Fundraising Ball. Start talking to your mates, coaches, fellow parents and join us for this infamous event, all profits raised will go to support your club. More details on venue and how to book tickets to follow soon….”

Colts Snatch Last Minute Win

With only one competitive game this season, against Bethany School, the TWRFC Colts were keen to get some playing time under their belts with some tough Kent Cup games looming. Wells’ old friends Crowborough offered that opportunity, but with Crowborough sitting third in the Sussex Youth Championship, after some impressive early season wins, had Wells bitten more than they could chew?

Before kick-off both sides came together to remember Steve Davy who sadly passed away before Christmas. Steve and his family were well known to both clubs with his son having represented both sides over recent years and was playing on the day for Crowborough.

Wells started the stronger of the sides with a hard fought 20 mins with play switching between both sides. But, half way through the first half after a number of pick and goes on the 5 meter line Wells were awarded a penalty for offside by Crowborough. With the Wells scrum dominant they chose to scrummage, with a number 8 pickup from the base and an early pick and go the ball was driven over the try line by Will Hawksfield for his first try for the Colts. Ed Shepherdson converted to take the score to 0-7.

Crowborough mounted a counter attack and a period of sustained pressure saw them disrupt Wells at the breakdown. Wells rode the pressure well but eventually over committed to the breakdown on the 22 leaving gaps out wide which Crowborough spotted and ran in a try under the posts. With the conversion that followed saw the half end at 7-7.

For the second half Crowborough started the stronger of the two teams with them taking advantage of their experience having played together for a number of years. Some fantastic defence work was needed just to keep Crowborough out. With only a couple of minutes to go Wells were awarded a penalty on the 5 meter line under the posts. “Kick the points” was the cry from the touch line but with 13 forwards on the pitch they had other ideas and went for the push over try under the posts. It was a big shove and took some defending from Crowborough on their line. Wells scum-half Innis Woodhouse spotted an opportunity out wide and with a fabulous flat pass by Ed Shepherdson to Cameron Keys out wide, the try was scored in the corner with 30 seconds to go, final score 7-12.

This was a terrific effort from all concerned and the future for Tunbridge Wells Colts is looking good.

Respect: Both squads pause to remember Steve Davy

Ladies Section Announce U11 Squad

TWRFC Ladies section is starting the new decade with plans to expand their player base. The Ladies section already have successful and established U13, U15 & U18 squads and work closely with Sevenoaks RFC in encouraging girls into Rugby.

January will see the launch of a new U11s squad for girls aged 8-11 (school years 4-6) at the club with plans to initiate a Ladies senior squad later in the season.

“The Ladies section  has had great success with our existing age groups with over sixty registered players – playing in Kent League and Cup competitions. We have girls playing for Kent at county level and players who have gone on to represent Harlequins, Cambridge in the Varsity game and England” said Simon Parsons, Director of Ladies Rugby. “As a club, we want to build on that success and introduce an U11’s squad so we can engage girls earlier in their rugby journey. We will also be introducing a Senior squad which will mean TWRFC can offer a full range of rugby and encourage more girls to get into the game and have a clear progression in rugby as part of the #thisgirlcan campaign.”

Tammy Samuel, Ladies U13 Head Coach and former England International added; “No experience is required. If you were inspired by the recent World Cup or just want to come and give rugby a go at a friendly club, come and join us – anyone is welcome. It’s all about having fun and experiencing the exciting sport of Rugby.”

Try out sessions for the new U11s squad will be held at TWRFC, St Marks Recreation Ground from 10am to 11:30am on Sunday 12 and Sunday 26 January.

Big Win for Ladies U18 in National Cup Round

Sunday 15th saw Tunbridge Wells U18s Ladies travel to Aylesford to play in a cup competition for the honour of moving onto the next stage of the national cup.

Apart from the cup itself, there where bragging rights at stake as Aylesford had won the league game earlier in the season with a last minute try, so this was going to be a tough game.

From the very outset it was clear that Aylesford game plan was to use their powerful forwards coming off the ruck close or hitting hard into the 10 channel and so ensued an initial 10-15 minute ‘arm wrestle’ where Aylesford ran hard into the TWells defence which held and on occasions pushed them back. As the great wizard Gandalf said ‘you shall not pass’ and they did not!

We as a group have been working on getting the ball out to our strong running backs and away from any congestion / trouble in close and this is exactly what we did. Due to great defence, turnover ball was won, ball out to the backs and try’s where taken with direct running, running into space and above all support was there, you could see the excitement rise from the crowd every time we did this.

In the first half credit went to the forwards who worked hard in defence and then when in attack got into our patterns and sucked in Aylesford defence allowing the backs to do just as important a job in taking the right decision and working hard in support. Some of the game pattern play was great to watch.

Line outs worked well and although we were under pressure in the scrum, we worked very hard every time and did enough to get the ball out and into hands where we looked strong all day.

At half time we were 27-0 up and looking good although the momentum was always going to swing towards Aylesford and in the second half this is what happened.

Possibly down to the hard work in defence, causing some tired legs and minds (more fitness I hear ollie shout), coupled with some easy penalties against us and that we probably took a step back with intensity and concentration, Aylesford found themselves in our 22 a few times and with their forwards they kept knocking on the door which ultimately and reluctantly opened where three tries were conceded, the last being the very last play of the game (17 points to Aylesford). Despite this, it was not all one way in the second half as we returned the favour with two converted try ourselves one through the forwards and one out to the wing and a straight race to the line which we won.

The game ended 41 – 17 to Wells a very well deserved win against a side which always is strong and will never give up.

Obviously things to work on – line speed in defence, quicker ruck ball and driving passed / over the ball in the ruck, letting the ball do the work – it’s quicker and easier to pass and support, making sure we have our strong forwards defending rucks rather than our smallest backs, fitness …..Ahhh!

As always I find it very difficult to single out individual players because this is a team sport and when one player works really hard to make a tackle or turn a ball over so a fellow player can run into space and sometime score out wide, it’s hard to give the plaudits to any one player, it’s the actions of everyone which allows the winger to run in un-challenged for example.

So with that in mind.… well done to the thrown together hard working front row, the hard working second row and back row catching kicks, making massive tackles and clearing out rucks, taking the ball into contact and making sure it came back cleanly, the 9-10 partnership making correct decisions

Twickenham calls for Tunbridge Wells Rugby Family

Hannah Samuel, 19, of Tunbridge Wells has been selected to represent Cambridge University in the women’s varsity rugby match against Oxford at Twickenham on Thursday 12 December. She follows in the footsteps of her mother Tammy Samuel who also gained a rugby blue in 1994 and 1995.

Hannah started playing mixed rugby aged 6 at Tonbridge Juddians before moving to Tunbridge Wells RFC where she was one of the founder members of the ladies section. She progressed to become U18s and club captain. Hannah went to local grammar school at TWGGS where she helped to establish and run a tag rugby team, inspiring the younger girls to take up the sport. She fits in her rugby at Cambridge around a law degree and singing in her college choir – where she is also a choral scholar.

This varsity match is the 31st year of women’s rugby at Cambridge and it is an historical moment as Hannah and her mum Tammy will be the first mum and daughter Cambridge rugby blues. The sport plays a big part in the Samuel family as Tammy now coaches the U13 girls team at TWRFC where Hannah’s younger sister Nia plays. Tammy, who also played rugby for both Saracens and England in her youth said “we are so proud of Hannah. She has worked extremely hard. She’s the fittest she’s ever been and really loving her rugby. We’ll be very nervous on the day though!”

The women’s varsity match is being shown live on ITV at 1130am on Thursday 12 December, followed by the men’s match at 330pm.

TWRFC Academy Win The Day At Memorial Cup Game

Saturday 7th December saw TWRFC Academy travel to Bethany School for the annual Anthony Clarke Memorial game. The game commemorates Anthony, a First XV player at club and school and long term friend Amy Donelan who tragically lost their lives in a traffic accident sixteen years ago.

A very even match saw Bethany School camped in Wells’ half for much of the game – only held back by some great defensive work. Wells applied huge pressure and forced errors but then too often they lost the ball again at the breakdown. However, the pressure eventually paid dividends when a linkup between forwards and backs set Zach Trengrove up for a great run to open the score.

Wells’ then scored their second try with a blistering run from the half way line by Markuss Lagunovics followed by a conversion from Sam Dupuy. Bethany School responded with a try bringing the score to 5 – 12 but Wells’ quickly came back with a well worked forwards play and Billy Grigson scored between the posts with another conversion from Sam.

Bethany fought back again with a great move off the blindside of the scrum to score but were unlucky with the conversion hitting the post. The final whistle went with the score at 10 – 19 to Wells.

“Today was our first run out for the newly reformed Academy” said Jim Scully, Director of Rugby at TWRFC. “The Academy aims to develop our Youth players through to our Senior squads and today’s performance showed the boys have some real potential. But today is also about Anthony and the fund established in his name that has helped numerous players from TWRFC and Bethany School on their rugby journey”

Anthony Clarke Memorial Game – Please support TWRFC Academy.

Saturday 7 December 2019 sees TWRFC Academy travelling to Bethany School for the annual Anthony Clarke Memorial game.

The game commemorates Anthony (a talented sportsman and a First XV player at both the School and rugby club) and his long term friend Amy Donelan who both tragically lost their lives in a car accident 16 years ago. A fund was established in Anthony’s name to support those that may not be able to join the Club, go on an important tour or do some form of Rugby Course. At Bethany School, the fund pays for conditioning training, trips to Premiership Clubs with coaching and for partial costs of Rugby Tours.

This year’s game also marks the first competitive run out for the newly reformed Academy team. The Academy, which benefits from the expertise of senior coaches and First XV players, aims to build planned progression for our Youth players into Senior rugby. Anthony had himself started in the U6s and progressed to First XV by the age of 18 and the Academy aims to support more players to do the same.

This game is always a great occasion, kicking off at 10am at Bethany School. Please do come along, watch some great rugby, support the Academy but also commemorate Anthony and all the good work the fund does to support individuals on their rugby journey.

Applications to the fund can be made, in confidence, to Honorary Secretary Michelle Greenall.