Category: Youth

Match Report: TWRFC 2XV (31) v Canterbury RFC 3XV (19)

Match Reporter: Mike Rigby

On a bright sunny autumnal day we welcomed Canterbury 3’s and referee Michael Weller to St Marks.

Captain Ben Kennard losing the toss meant Canterbury kicked off on the 2nd XV pitch playing towards the Frant Road end.

We were to have a fast and furious start as within 5 minutes we had already seen three penalties for TWRFC and a beautifully worked try. The Wells were using their strong ball carriers Brockman, Webb and Daniels to punch through the Canterbury defence.The try came from one such run as Brockman broke through the defensive line to release the sparky Inees Woodhouse to run home the first try in front of the posts. The Wells 10, George Spice, was in a hurry so drop kicked the conversion. 7-0 to the home side.

But, if the Wells thought this was going to be an easy afternoon they were sorely mistaken. Within 3 minutes the impressive Ben Waite went over for Canterbury. Freddie Chapman slotting from the 15m line to take the score to 7 all (after only 8 minutes).

Wells continued with the strong carries and even the strong George Spice breaking the line and heading towards the try line. No one was quite sure whether the try was scored except Mr Weller who called held up. But Wells were again looking dominant in the scrum, in the line out and in open play. This meant the penalty count was rising for Canterbury. At one such penalty Brockman went quick and scored in the corner. The conversion looked very challenging, so much so that Spice called for the kicking tee. Well worth the wait as he slotted very impressively. 14-7 to Wells and only 14 minutes gone.

Unfortunately this was again to spark a resurgence from Canterbury as they came back hard to the home side, It required some significant defence and the Wells pack held firm. A particular highlight for the crowd was a huge Webb tackle on the opposition 9 who wore it well. Having been pinned back in their own half for 10 minutes Wells went to the Boot to evacuate. And what a boot it was! Jack Smith took the ball in hand and kicked high and long. He chased his own kick and after the away sides 15 fumbled Smith took him to ground, sprung up and secured possession. The lively Collangelo was on hand to pick up the ball and cover the 3 yards to the try line and score a beautiful try. After two very impressive conversions Spice was in no mans land of the 15m line, he was unsuccessful. 19-7 and still 10 minutes of the first half to play,

Wells came back strong and Hawkins took his impressive defence shift into his attacking game. He ran hard to the line with defenders scattering in all directions. It looked a certain try but the mighty Canterbury 9 managed to hold the huge front row player up. Another goal line drop out which saw Canterbury make good distance. A couple of missed tackles in midfield saw the omnipresent Ben Waite go over again for Canterbury. Chapman missed and we went in at half time at 19-12 to the home side.

Coach Jarrod gathered his men together and imparted some words of wisdom. Jarrod was joined in the coaching by Charlie Rigby and Stu Nichols. It was also great to see other team mates Tom Pithouse, Chris Brown and Avatar on the touchline supporting the boys. The squad look and feel very tight at the moment.

Anyway as the Wells kicked off what we really needed to know was what did the Canterbury coach say at half time. Because they came out a different team. Their scrum became dominant from nowhere and TWRFC were giving away penalty after penalty, many of which were in the red zone. We were lucky to have a referee in Weller who let the came flow as we could easily have been penalised. Wells were defending hard and were under immense pressure. In the end Wells suffered a double whammy when the very impressive Webb went off with a head cut and Brockman saw yellow for a high tackle. This inevitably led to another Canterbury try which was converted to take the scores level at 19-19.

Fortunately the home side found a never say die attitude and went back to their strong ball carriers to punch through the defence. One such move saw Spice make a clean line break where he immediately realised he did not have the legs to make the line, he looked left and same Smith with gas to spare. He was straight over the line, under the posts for Scully to convert. 26-19. When another Penalty came the Wells way they showed good game management bu shooting to go for posts. Unfortunately Scully went wide but his did put pressure on the away side as they failed to clear their line. As Canterbury tried to run out they man into the man mountain Ollie Daniels who put another big tackle in which saw another Wells turnover. Daniels went quick and was over in the corner. A challenging conversion was missed and the score hit 31-19.

That was how the game finished where we saw a second win for the TWRFC 2’s vs a strong Canterbury side and officiated by impressive Michael Weller. A good game with lots of good rugby on show

Match Report: Westcombe Park 1XV (31) v TWRFC 1XV (15)

Match Report: Jim Hendley

With overcast conditions and a freshening breeze Wells took to the field looking for a response after the previous weeks result. Westcombe Park were at full strength and in confident mood after their unbeaten start to the season.

Combe kicked off with the conditions against them, so Wells needed to make a fast start and get points on the board which they duly did. Straight from the kick receive the forwards burst through the Combe defence but a loose pass ended the move in front of the posts. Wells exerted pressure at the scrum and were awarded a penalty which Montgomery duly converted, 0-3. Combe came back hard at Wells and after a series of forward drives and a quick tap from a penalty their forwards forced over for a try well converted from out wide by Buckley, 7-3.

The game then settled into a rhythm with the Wells back line looking dangerous in open play and the scrum yet Combe dominant in the line out. Wells created several great attacking opportunities due to the fine field kicking of Montgomery and utilising the conditions well but then losing key lineouts in the opponents 22. Wells were however finally rewarded by another Montgomery penalty goal on 26 minutes after WP were penalised for offside, 7-6. Almost straight from the restart another Montgomery kick led to a 50-22 to Wells but the ensuing lineout was again stolen by Combe who managed to clear their lines once more.

Wells continued to pressure the Combe defence but handling errors and turnovers by both sides meant neither side were particularly dominant although Wells continued to have the better attacking positions. The final score of the half was another Montgomery penalty goal which gave Wells a slender 7-9 lead at the break. A great flowing move by the backs was brought to an abrupt halt by deliberate interference from Combe in front of the posts with only the penalty awarded.

The feeling was that if Combe could utilise the conditions as well as Wells had then it could be their opportunity to extend their unbeaten run.

Wells however had different ideas and started the second half as they did apply pressure on the Combe defence. Both sides were trying to play some open rugby but all too often it was punctuated by a poor pass or a knock on. Harrison eventually made a couple of great kicks into the Wells corner and their superior lineout provided the platform for the first score of the second half after 50 minutes when a very fortunate ricochet allowed Orelaja to touch down for an unconverted try, 12-9. Wells were soon back on terms after an eager Combe defence were caught offside, 12-12. However, straight from the kick off Wells were penalised due to blocking off and Combe were clinical with the ensuing penalty. A kick into the 22, lineout secure and drive over the line for an unconverted try 17-12 after 55 minutes.

At this point Combe looked in the ascendency but to their credit Wells came back at Combe and were awarded yet another penalty in front of the posts to enable Montgomery to make it 17-15 on 60 minutes and the referee still showing no signs of any further sanctions due to these continuous infringements.

Wells then came under some sustained pressure in front of their posts and managed to turnover the ball and with quick hands they moved the ball swiftly wide to Hobbs, on the left, who burst past his Radcliff and seemed clear only for an outstretched Combe defenders’ arm to ankle tap him and stop a certain score.

The game was in the balance until the last 5 minutes when Combe scored twice with a push over try and then another lineout drive both converted by Buckley to give a final score line of 31-15 which didn’t reflect the overall nature of the match. Wells will reflect on not being able to convert territory into points but there are plenty of positives to work on during the week to ensure they’ll be well prepared to host Sidcup next weekend.

We are nearly there…..two weeks to go

Just over two weeks to go until the start of the new season. The team of volunteers are scurrying around to prepare for the new season:

  • Roger is praying for some rain so the further investment we have put into our pitches this summer is fully realised. We again had to outsource the summer maintenance programme to ensure our pitches remain as good as we can get them.
  • Nick has had a busy summer with repairs and maintenance. The Clubs boiler has had to be replaced (at significant cost!) but we will have nice warm showers come September. The Club’s gym has been heavily invested and now is a real asset to the club. We have invested in more storage to ensure the clubhouse looks as good as possible inside. We have created a physio and first aid room for the club to ensure we are fully prepared should anything undesired happen on a Sunday or Saturday.
  • Simon H has been busy renewing the sponsorship on the senior and youth shirts. I am delighted to see several new ‘friends of the club’ appearing on the shirts: Ridgecrest Cleaning; Easistore; The Dorset Arms; Speldhurst Sausages; CLM; Minifie architects; Food team Group. Obviously, our loyal existing and renewing ‘friends’ are also very much appreciated: Sitsmart; Bethany; Nortrade; Cripps, Countryside; Ascender consulting; Streetfuel.
  • Julia has been negotiating with our suppliers to bring some new options to the bar this season. New beers and new lagers how exciting!
  • Jude has been working to ensure our pre-match lunches continue to be well supported and have excellent food to enjoy from local restauranteurs. Book early if you want to secure a seat at one of these fun days out.
  • Martin has refreshed all our membership options and is also trying to ensure we all have a membership card with benefits! It might even get you a discount on Julia’s new beer!
  • Jim, our new President, has been in contact with our Vice Presidents to personally connect with all of them. I am sure Jim will bring fresh passion to the role and maybe even a joke or two at the Club’s lunches.
  • Laurence and Alex have are all set for the youth and mini season to kick off. Coaches all up to date on courses, first aid and DBS (our license to coach!). Thanks to Dawn and Rachel for the latter. We are all set with Dean again looking after our Under 6’s Rugby Rocks!
  • Simon P has not had a summer break as he runs our social touch rugby over the summer whilst transitioning into Ladies pre-season. Huge numbers at touch this summer, really great to see.
  • As you will have seen we have also resubmitted our planning permission for a Alternative Grass Pitch this summer. Please do take the time to support these planning permissions if you can (see previous posts). Thanks to Steve Daly and Rich Bains. Relentless effort from you guys.
  • Lastly, the senior squad has been training now for nearly two months. Simon Jervis has been putting the returning and several new players through their paces on fitness (using the new gym) and introducing his structure of play for this year. Simon has been well supported by Chaz, Hathers, and Hammy. We have also secured a 2nd XV coach in Jarrod who will ensure this team is well structured, supported and equipped to perform well in the league. Our club ambassadors and good friends Ben Kayser and David Strettle remain ever supporting and inspiring the players. We needed to invest more time into our senior squad and Monty has delivered this over the summer. Thanks Stu.

So all we need now is you back at the club doing what you do best:

  • Playing mini rugby having fun, giggles and learning the values of rugby with your mates
  • Training and playing matches in the youth and ladies sections as you increase your skillset and teamwork to bring home the wins.
  • Supporting your senior, youth, ladies, minis players with a drink in your hand and some nice food.
  • Playing in our senior sides be that for the 1st, 2nd, 3rds or Vets
  • Or just enjoying being at one of the most stunning sports venues in Tunbridge Wells with your friends telling yarns of days gone by.

I can’t wait to see many of you very soon back at the Club

COYW

Mike

#ONETWRFC

The Rugby Project

The Rugby Project, is a youth development programme being run in Kent in collaboration with Kent RFU, and KSRFUR, and is open to 14-16 year old applicants for the 2022/23 season. This is the second year the programme has run, and the feedback from clubs who participated last year was particularly positive.

The aim of this project is to build life skills and to find more ways to get involved in rugby. The course is designed to help young people to get their first insight into refereeing, first aid and coaching, giving them the skills to safely build confidence in doing so.

The course is ideal for 14–16-year-olds and fits in well with the Duke of Edinburgh award as well as Physical Education at GCSE level, teaching new skills, keeping kids interested in fitness, volunteering and raising money for charity.

Links

Course Outline

The course comprises 6 modules (four courses and two participation modules) which all must be completed prior to award of the The Rugby Project Award in the Spring Term of 2023.

The four course modules, which are all delivered by RFU educators, will take place in the first half of the Autumn term of 2022 (these are mainly scheduled for weekday evenings, at Sevenoaks RFC). The modules are: Coaching (“Kids First” contact course); Refereeing – Basics of refereeing  run by the Kent Society of Rugby Union Referees; First Aid; Mental Resilience.

The two participation modules – (Volunteering hours and fund raising) take place in the Autumn and Spring terms.

Cost

There is a £60 registration fee associated with the programme; plus participants are expected to fund-raise £40 during the course.

22/23 Membership

With the Rugby season no longer looking quite so distant; the board has set membership fees for the 22/23 season as below.

Membership of TWRFC brings a number of benefits including: the right to apply for clubs allocation of international tickets; hire of the clubhouse hire; attending club lunches/events and bring guests; and of course for playing members a little bit of rugby. The exec have also decided to introduce a discount for members in the upstairs bar; more details on this to follow shortly.

Senior Playing Members£90
Family Membership£170 Single Child
£220 Multiple Children
Social Membership & VPs£90

Further details can be found on the membership page.

The £10 membership increase reflects the additional ongoing costs the club expects to incur due to higher cost of services and ground rates at St Marks’.

All family and senior playing members will shortly receive a payment request via Spond; we ask that this is paid prior to the start of the season (Sept. 4th). New players are very welcome to have two trial sessions prior to joining and paying membership subscriptions. It’s not easy for Spond to track this – so please do bear with me if it chases before you have finished your trial.

For Social members, and VPs, it’s easiest for me if you are able to pay either via spond or direct-debit. Existing direct debits will be updated to reflect the 22/23 subscription shortly (plan members will be notified by goCardless when this happens). For new social members, or those switching to DD you can subscript to our plan on goGardless subscribe here.

Tunbridge Wells RFC Youth section has a policy that rugby should be accessible to all, irrelevant of financial or economic background. In cases of economic hardship the club is able to offer alternative payment schemes or reduced fees on a case by case basis; you are also able to apply to the Anthony Clarke memorial fund for support. Please contact the team manager at your age group who will then be able to discuss this on a confidential basis with the membership secretary to seek approval for lower or no fees dependent on circumstances.

Martin Croker
Membership Secretary
membership@twrfc.com

Geoff Casely 07/01/1969 – 10/07/22

For those of you that have not already heard, the club is deeply saddened to have to announce that Geoff Casely passed away peacefully in his sleep last week. Club member and close friend Mav Anderson has kindly written a tribute from him and on behalf of everyone at TWRFC…..

“Geoff was a long-standing member of the club and many of you would have played alongside him in the minis, juniors, senior sides (1-6) and also the Vets. On the pitch I will remember him as a formidable second row/back row player who loved to make big hits at Rucks and in Tackles and I have many fond memories of playing alongside him in my late teens and early twenties, notably in an unbeaten season for the 2nd team in the mid 90s and also for the first team in the early 2000s. I have always lovingly known and referred to Geoff simply as Unit.

Some of you may not be aware but throughout his teenage years and twenties Geoff was also a very successful swimmer and water polo player representing Tunbridge Wells Monson club, winning many Medals at National and European level. He was also a very successful martial artist being a black belt in several forms and again won medals at International, European and world level.

Geoff was a legendary TWRFC Tourist who would always be one of the first to get his place reserved as soon as a tour was announced. He was never afraid to take his fines and would always fully engage in all tour antics. Once he had retired from playing Geoff was a loyal supporter of the club who would regularly be found on the touchline, at the pre match lunches or just in the bar with his friends enjoying being part of the club. I was reminded of a story today that summed up how much TWRFC meant to Geoff. On his wedding day to his first wife, Geoff got married at lunch time and then went to the club and played rugby in the afternoon. I am not sure even the most loyal of us would dare have tried that on our wedding day.

In life Geoff was a gentle giant, he was kind and had the most wonderful warm and welcoming personality, he would do anything to help anyone. He was a wonderful story teller with an extraordinary ability to recount tales of games we had played together or drunken nights we had been on many, many years ago.

Geoff had been through some tough times over the past few years but I am so proud of how he managed to pull himself back to a good place. He had recently completed a mental health first aider course to assist with his life coaching business which he set up as he was passionate about helping others, who were going through difficult times.

In a recent message he sent to me, it simply said “The Unit is Back” after knowing all he had been through, I will take great heart in knowing that in the end he died peacefully in his sleep at peace with himself, he won and he never gave up.

On behalf of all of TWRFC I would like to send our deepest condolences to Geoff`s sister, Venetia and his children: Imogen, Sebastian, Matilda and Tabatha, may they find comfort in knowing how much their brother/dad meant to us at the club and that there will always be a warm and welcoming place up at St Marks for them to come up to, to share some lovely stories of their brother and dad.

Rest in Peace my friend”

Maverick Anderson 14th July 2022

Mike Hathaway Returns to TWRFC

We are delighted to announce the newest member of the TWRFC Coaching Group ahead of the 22/23 season as Mike Hathaway joins as 1st XV Forwards Coach.

Mike started his rugby at Tunbridge Wells, playing all through the age groups from U6’s to 1st XV where he was a key member of the team that secured back to back promotions and a cup win at Twickenham. Mike has unfortunately had to hang up the boots due to a shoulder injury and is now fully committed to his role as Forwards coach ahead of the 22/23 season.

Mike said “It’s brilliant to come back home to Tunbridge Wells. It’s a great club that has even greater aspirations, and although it’s a shame my return can’t be as a player as once hoped, that hasn’t curbed my excitement in getting on board as a forwards coach. It was a pleasure to be approached by Simon Jervis to take on the role and its great to be learning from the experience that Jervo, Ben and Stretts bring. Despite last years results we have an extremely talented squad and I am chomping at the bit to help support this young group of lads achieve and play at the best level that they can. Bring on the 2022-23 season. COYW.”

Mike Rigby, Club Chairman said “I am delighted to welcome Hathers back to St Marks. I fully encouraged him to go and challenge himself to play at the highest level he could and told him he would be welcome ‘home’ whenever he was ready. I’m delighted he’s back and ready to make a huge difference to TWRFC’.

The 22/23 Coaching Group for Tunbridge Wells:

Director of Rugby  – Simon Jervis

Forwards Coach – Benjamin Kayser

Forwards Coach – Mike Hathaway

Backs Coach – David Strettle

Backs & Skills Coach – Chaz Spence

S&C – Hamzat Ahmed

Autumn International Tickets

The RFU have just given us the details for the Autumn 2022 fixtures.

Schedule:

  • Sunday 6 November – England v Argentina – KO: 15:15
  • Saturday 12 November  – England v Japan – KO: 15:15
  • Saturday 19 November – England v New Zealand – KO: 17:30
  • Saturday 26 November – England v South Africa – KO: 17:30

I have been given an indication of our allocation but confident I can source some additional tickets. To satisfy as many people as possible I will have to keep requests to a combined total of 2 tickets per member across the New Zealand and South Africa game’s (can be a single ticket for each). Both the Argentina and Japan game’s should not be a problem and no restrictions will apply. I will formulate a list on ‘first come, first served’ and work through the list as and when I can secure tickets – to validate your requests you will have to be, at minimum, a ‘paid up’ social member of the club.

Ticket categories and prices (including £5 admin charge):

New Zealand

Premium £179 – 215

Cat 1 £163 – 184

Cat 2 £137 – 158

Cat 3 £116 – 132

Cat 4 £96 – 101

South Africa

Premium £132 – 148

Cat 1 £127 – 142

Cat 2 £111– 122

Cat 3 £96 – 101

Cat 4 £75 – 80

Argentina

Premium £122 – 137

Cat 1 £111 – 122

Cat 2 £101– 111

Cat 3 £90 – 96

Cat 4 £70 – 75

Japan

Premium £85 – 96

Cat 1 £75 – 80

Cat 2 £70– 75

Cat 3 £59 – 64

Cat 4 £49 – 54

Junior tickets should be readily available for the Argentina and Japan games for all the ticket categories for £28 & £23 respectively. It is highly unlikely that I will be able to secure any junior tickets for the New Zealand and South Africa games but we can live in hope (£28 if available) – if you do apply for these games please state whether you would want the adult tickets even IF the junior tickets are not available.

Please apply for tickets via email:

Montgos.89a@hotmail.com

Stuart Montgomery

TWRFC All Stars v Old Skinners’

A beautiful sunny Easter Saturday saw the re-arranged Boxing Day fixture between Tunbridge Wells All Stars, made up of a mix of players young and old and special guests from other clubs, and Old Skinners’, made up of past players from The Skinners’ School.

Referee Martin Croker blew his whistle and we were off in front of a large crowd of around 150. For anyone expecting to see a fun social game the first 5 minutes showed that this was going to be fiercely competitive as tackles came crunching in from early on foiling attacks on both sides. With Old Skinners’ wing Tom Lane and George Gomersall putting in some big hits early on, as did Tom Petty and Tom Bagwell for the All Stars. The deadlock was broken after 7 minutes when Max McCabe was in support to take the final pass to run in under the posts, converted by Isaac Jones for a 0-7 lead to Old Skinners’.

Max McCabe goes over for the opening try

What followed was 10 minutes of attacks on both sides foiled by good defence and a few mistakes. Just before the 20 minute mark Alex Maynard found some space and a turn of pace not seen since his Twickenham appearance in 2016, and he touched down in the corner for to reduce the deficit to 5-7.

With the sun pouring down the match was played in 20 minute quarters – The All Stars squad was big so replacements made regularly and a few new faces appeared for the second 20. Old Skinners’ started well and took the points despite the light-hearted boos from the crowd. Isaac Jones increased the lead to 5-10. The All Stars pressed hard but were met with a wall of great defence from the young Skinners’ side. Then following a clear penalty given away by the Veteran Paul Miles, a quick tap was looking certain to be another score for Old Skinners’, but it was Rob Harrison’s side’s turn to put in some defence to stop the scoring opportunity.

Towards the end of the half Old Skinners’ once again took the points and Isaac Jones added another 3 to take the lead to 5 – 13. The half ended as the All Stars ran out of defence and with Old Skinners’ knocking on as the final pass was made. The half time whistle went despite some confused voices in the crowd expecting a more severe punishment for the offence!

All Stars ringed the changes in the 3rd quarter and started well pressing hard for the first 5 minutes but the passes just didn’t fall as Old Skinners’ continued to defend ferociously. Breaking quickly from defence Old Skinners’ found the gap and raced to the line with Finn Holden scoring and adding the conversion. Old Skinners we’re having a purple patch and it was Anthony Storkey who split the defence to score and convert increasing the lead to 5-27. Soon after Jack Palmer got on the scoresheet with a fine swallow dive try converted by Isaac Jones as the 3rd quarter ended 5 – 34.

No quarter was given during the game

The All Stars made some final changes again for the final quarter and again started well. Prop John Owuso stole a ball in midfield and linked with Tom Bagwell to Alex Maynard who set our other Twickenham 2016 winner Charlie Harding away for a well deserved try which he converted to close the gap to 12 – 34.

But it was Old Skinners’ that finished the stronger with the final try to finish a great game as Will Corrie capped a great performance scoring to make the final score 12 – 39. Skipper on the day for Old Skinners’, Matt Humphrey received the winners’ trophy from Tim McCabe and Craig Fleming (Assistant Headmaster at The Skinners’ School). The Man of the Match awards went to Rob Harrison and Conrad Fletcher (who received the Tim McCabe Challenge Cup, jointly) for the All Stars and Old Skinners’ MOMs were Max McCabe and Anthony Storkey.

It was a great day for the town club with some exceptional young talent on show, boding well for the future of rugby in the area.
Next week sees the final TWRFC 1st XV fixture of the season as we welcome Dorking RFC to St. Marks – Sat 23rd April – 3pm k.o.

Fran Colangelo

Squad Photo From Top Left: Bill Gillespie, Akbar Kyshtoobaev, Ben Rothwell, Bertie Brown, Isaac Hawken, Freddie Jones, Grig Antonovics, George Crossland, Charlie Mitchell, Archie Steger, Dylan Armstrong, James Croker, Flynn Hawken From Bottom left: Kit Morgan, James Litchfield, Albie Andrews, Jake Ward, Hamish Weaver, Jared Van Zijl, Ollie Rigby, Quinn Massey, Joshua Hacker

Tunbridge Wells RFC Under 14s crowned Kent Cup Winners

 

Squad Photo

From Top Left: Bill Gillespie, Akbar Kyshtoobaev, Ben Rothwell, Bertie Brown, Isaac Hawken, Freddie Jones, Grig Antonovics, George Crossland, Charlie Mitchell, Archie Steger, Dylan Armstrong, James Croker, Flynn Hawken

From Bottom left: Kit Morgan, James Litchfield, Albie Andrews, Jake Ward, Hamish Weaver, Jared Van Zijl, Ollie Rigby, Quinn Massey, Joshua Hacker

Not Pictured: Sam Smilowski

TWRFC Under14’s have won the 2021/22 Kent Cup. 

The Competition took place over three weekends under the “waterfall” format, with teams streamed by ability to play the most appropriate teams by the time they reach the last weekend. This keeps all teams engaged in the competition until the final round of matches and encourages player engagement and enjoyment.


In the opening weekend, the Wells’ squad met Gravesend, Ashford, Sittingbourne and Aylesford Bulls, winning all four games by an aggregate 81-0. The following week saw them take on three new teams: Tonbridge Juddians, Old Elthamians and Dartford Valley, all of whom would also have progressed with winning records from Week One. An aggregate score of 37-5 saw them then progress to a Finals Day Cup group held just up the road at TJs.

The hosts, Tunbridge Wells, Southwark Tigers and Old Alleynians represented the 4 leading clubs in Kent and South London and played a “round-robin” group to determine the Kent Cup winners. The opening match saw a dominant performance over Southwark Tigers, ending in a 24-0 victory. The Wells had warmed up well and the forwards were strong in all the set-pieces. A solid scrum coupled with a very effective line-out and rolling maul, offered a reliable platform for the backs. This produced four lovely tries with two for Jared Van Zijl and one each for the twins Isaac and Flynn Hawken. The front row of Bill Gillespie, Ben Rothwell and George Crossland looked rock solid, with Charlie Mitchell and Bertie Brown as constant pests at the breakdown.

The second game was a local “derby” against TJs. There is a strong and healthy rivalry between these two neighbours, and this was to be a game that lived up to the billing as Wells looked to recover from a recent defeat to their rivals….and “bounce back” they did with real passion and belief. The match started as a close and balanced game, but it wasn’t long before the power of the boys from St Marks began to show. After 5 minutes, the 6ft 5 colossus Wells no.8, Freddie Jones, picked up the ball in midfield and stretched his legs all the way to the try line, which James Croker converted. Hamish Weaver at outside half was now starting to control the game and Jake Ward and Albie Andrews started to cause real problems for the home team. When they were awarded a line-out on the home side’s 5 metre line the visitors deployed the driving maul, with Grig Antonovics providing the momentum that saw Akbar Kyshtoobaev could go over for the try. His delight was clear to see as he set off on his celebratory dance! Flynn Hawken completed the scoring, with the ever-willing Kit Morgan in support. This 17-0 win saw Tunbridge Wells move onto their final match against Old Alleynians.


The ‘final’ game was the meeting of the two undefeated sides and was poised to be a belter. The sun was shining, the pitches were perfect, and the players could not wait. Wells had vocal travelling support on the touchline, as well as three of their injured players: Ollie Rigby, Joshua Hacker and Dylan Armstrong. A great demonstration of the “One Squad, One Club” mentality. After a competitive opening period, Wells got a scrum on the OAs 5 metre line. Whilst the half backs loaded one side, Freddie Jones picked and went on the blind side with the support of Quinn Massey and Jared Van Zijl, leading to a try for Jared. However, there was a reason that OAs were in the final and they responded robustly to make the score 5-5 at half-time.

It became something of a war of attrition as 10 games in three weeks started to take its toll on committed bodies. The depth of the Wells squad was now being tested as they lost Crossland, Morgan and James Litchfield, but it was their discipline as much as it was their resilience which now came to the fore. As the OA’s penalty count started to rise, the trusty boot of Croker added two penalties to make it 11-5 with just a few minutes left. The supporters (and coaches!) nerves were soothed when a breakdown on the right touchline saw the ball secured and then spread superbly across the backline for Flynn Hawken to power over for the winning try. A resounding 16-5 win to see Tunbridge Wells deservedly crowned Kent Cup Under 14s champions.

Mike Rigby, Chairman of TWRFC said: “This is a fantastic achievement for our Under 14s and is the culmination of their hard work during the entire season. We pride ourselves on being a volunteer run community sports club which offers best in class coaching across the age groups. It is great to see those volunteers delivering such a fantastic experience for these kids here. Well done boys”. A note of thanks must go to the entire 54 strong Under 14 playing squad, the coaches and of course the parents for unwavering support for TWRFC. Tunbridge Wells RFC is a volunteer run community rugby club whose senior side plays at Level 5 in the London & SE Premier League and has over 775 youth members. They offer sport for all at their home ground at St Marks where they offer rugby and cricket for ladies, men, minis and vets.