This week saw Wells entertain CS Stags 1863 at St Marks on a sunny but chilly Saturday afternoon. CS were promoted last year and had already taken the scalp of Wimbledon, the league leaders, early on in the Season. They sat in 11th spot in the league, one position below Wells, so this game was important for both sides and the game certainly showed this.

Wells started strongly putting CS under pressure from the kick off. Only the final pass going astray or silly errors preventing Wells from scoring. However after 5 minutes CS made a break and Wells were penalised for offside in front of their posts which CS converted, making the score 0-3. Wells fought straight back and after several attacks, they were awarded a penalty which Frank Reynolds converted with ease. Strong running from the backrow of Allen, Hathaway and Doherty finally paid off when Nick Doherty picked up from the base of a ruck and powered over for Wells’ first try, converted by Reynolds. 10-3.

Soon after, on the brink of half time, strong phases of play, with Stu Nicholls hitting Earle in the lineout, Wells scored their second try with George Montgomery skipping his way around the defence to score under the posts. Again converted by Reynolds, taking the score to 17-3. The referee then added another 8 minutes of extra time much to the bemusement of the supporters and players, CS Stags scored a try in the corner in 48th minute taking the half time score to 17-8

Cs started the second half much stronger having been boosted by their extra time try and put Wells under a huge amount of pressure testing the defence of the home side. Wells held strong and it was not long before they were back in attack.

From a lineout on the 22 they caught and drove in a unit and could not be stopped, Dave Allen touching down from a magnificent forward effort. Reynolds again converting to take the score to 24-8.

CS were not going to give up, however, Wells lost prop Ben Williams to an injury and this was a key point in the game. Cs pressurised Wells in the scrum and were finally rewarded with another try which they converted following on with another penalty taking the final score to 24-18.

Wells will be happy with another win under their belts following a disappointing result against Bedford a couple of weeks ago. A great all round performance and a debut appearance from Anthony Storkey at scrum half, who also had an excellent game.

Wells travel to Chingford next week (KO 2 30pm)whom they last played in the promotion play off 2 Seasons ago, coming out victors by 2 points after extra time. Wells will be looking for a further victory on the road as they look to close a 4 point gap to the sides above them.

John Crees

CS Stags 1863 19 Tunbridge Wells RFC 31

Wells travelled to Chiswick on a very windy Saturday afternoon to try and right the wrongs from the week before, when they threw a 17 point lead away in the last 5 minutes of the game. The squad had worked hard during the week knowing that CS Stags would be a very tough opponent. On the very open sports field the wind was howling down the pitch and Wells chose to play into the wind first half. The game kicked off and was stalemate for the first 25 minutes before back rower Nick Doherty was sin binned after a team warning. Stags took advantage of the extra man and 3 minutes later scored between the posts after the ball was fumbled at the back. They converted making it 7-0 and soon after scored again off a lineout which they converted taking the game to 14-0. Doherty returned and Wells were soon on the attack, with wave after wave, though pick and drives, Hathaway powered over the line which Reynolds successfully converted. Wells came out for the second half playing with the wind and they came out of the blocks very quickly. A quick line out between Crosilla and Pankhurst, saw the ball go through quick hands with Montgomery taking a straight line which split the Stags defence for him to be driven over the line by his pack. Again successfully converted by Reynolds. 14-14. Soon after the physical and attacking defence took its toll on Stags, with the Stags second row, their most influential player taking a head knock and having to leave the field, soon followed by the scrum half and a back row player. This soon told and Wells started to take a hold of the game and they scored further tries through Taylor-Dennehy and Mike Doherty.

The back row of Doherty, Hathaway and Isbell were immense, making driving runs and putting up a solid defence, with strong carrying by Crosilla making scrum half Rigby’s afternoon mainly on the front foot. With 5 minutes to go Stags broke through what had been a solid defensive wall and scored out wide taking the score to 19-24. Wells had learned their lesson from the week before, they kicked off, Rigby turned the ball over and the forwards took control once again. From 10 phases of play and excellent possession of the ball, it was spun wide for Mike Doherty to round off an excellent team performance and score between the posts for Reynolds to convert. Final score 19-31.

Wells will take a lot of positives from this game and now look to secure their place in the London & SE Premier League when Chingford visit St Marks in two weeks time on 23rd March. 3pm KO. Wells will need 5 points from that game to secure their place for next Season.

John Crees
Tunbridge Wells RFC Chairman



Bedford Athletic made their first visit to Tunbridge Wells in this London and SE Premier League game and chose to play up the slope with the wind in the first half. This looked like a good choice as they took a 7-0 lead after 9 minutes as Wells fluffed a clearance kick. It took four further minutes for Wells to be back on terms as a handling move including returning skipper Ryan Taylor-Dennehy saw the ball into the hands of Matt Spicer who took his chance well to score in the corner with fly half Frank Reynolds pulling off a great conversion against the wind from the touchline.

By this time Wells had established a scrum dominance which they were to maintain for the rest of the game with Croall, Pankhurst and Crosilla turning the screw. Wells despite being against the wind handled well and occupied a high field position and increased their score on 16 minutes as Christian Earle finished a rolling maul and Reynolds again added the points 14-7. The game see-sawed from end to end for the next 16 minutes with both sides defences to the fore but Bedford drew Level on 31 minutes with a fine midfield passing movement which culminated in centre Sawford-Smith scoring under the posts and Mortimer converting 14-14. Soon afterwards the visitor’s skipper Rob Watkins got a yellow card and spent 10 minutes out of the game.

Wells though came straight back as the visitors made a handling error in midfield picked up by back row Josh Hawkins and continued through several hands to Nick Doherty who scored Wells third try with Reynolds getting the conversion for a half time lead of 21-14 and with the wind to come in the second half.

The general conclusion at halftime was that Bedford had not tactically used the conditions and Wells immediately on the restart put the ball in the top right hand corner of the pitch through fly half Reynolds and scrum half Charlie Rigby and kept the opposition trapped there for long periods. This territorial advantage saw Reynolds increase Wells lead on 52 minutes with a simple penalty 24-14. The period between that score and the 75th minute saw Bedford unable to get into the Wells half but apart from a slick handling move which looked like George Montgomery had scored a fourth try but pulled back for a marginal forward pass Wells could not breach the Bedford defence.

It took until the 75th minute for a fourteen phase ‘pick and drive ‘ battering of the Visitors line for the ball to move wide to Christian Earle who took his second try and the bonus well with Reynolds again adding the extras. 31-14.

This remained the score until injury time when the game took a completely different character with Bedford running the ball almost it seemed in desperation. It proved not to be desperation as a tiring Wells side with no ability to bring on fresh players from the bench were stretched wide with Bedford scoring unconverted tries on 80 and 83 minutes before scoring another right on full-time. Mortimer who had not until then had the best afternoon with the boot adding the extras to tie the game with time up.

Both sides gained 3 points for a draw and a try bonus but for Wells this was two points lost as they turn to their next game against CS Stags in West London this Saturday KO 3pm. The town side will look forward to getting some of their injured and unavailable back as they seek to play towards mid table by the end of the campaign.

Roger Clarke

Brentwood (Home)

Notice: Trying to get property 'result' of non-object in /home/matt5221/public_html/wp-content/plugins/zenfoliopress/Zenfolio.php on line 47

This was the first game between these sides in an official league game although they have met in preseason friendlies. Having gone down in injury time the week before the home side were eager to make amends

Sadly for spectators and players for the second time at home in consecutive fixtures it was wet and gusty and this was to have a very big influence on the way the game unfolded.

Wells were without Josh Pankhurst, injured and Christian Earle unavailable with Luke Hawkins and Chris Pentney taking their places. Skipper Ryan Taylor- Dennehy moving to the centre to accommodate the returning George Montgomery at full back in his first start since returning from London Irish Wild Geese.

Max Hobbs started on the right wing.

Wells had the elements first kicking off down the hill and with the wind and needed to build a reasonable lead if they were still to be ahead at the end. With seven minutes on the clock a sustained pick and drive saw the home team over the line but the ball was knocked on in the act of scoring. It was not until the 17th minute that Frank Reynolds kicked a simple penalty after Brentwood’s Adam Thomas was sent to the sin bin as punishment for repeated team misdemeanours close to their line. 3-0.

Despite pinning Brentwood in their 22 it took until the 23rd minute for Wells to threaten on the right with ball being skilfully directed to George Montgomery entering the line for the try which Reynolds converted 10-0. For the next ten minutes or so using the elements Wells pinned Brentwood down but could not add to their score as the visitors defended valiantly. It took until the 35th minute for Wells to move the ball wide on halfway where left wing Jake Caddy beat his opposite number on the outside to then feed the supporting Reynolds who scored close to the posts and converted his own try for a 17-0 lead. At this point another try would have been a reasonable return but it was the visitors who in their first visit to the Wells 22 found space out wide for a diagonal kick to right wing  Liam Batty who finished the scoring for both teams on 37 minutes 17-5. Max Hobbs departing the field with a serious shoulder injury as the half concluded to be replaced by Matt Spicer.

In  normal circumstances Wells lead could and should have been enough but the rain intensified and it was the home teams turn to be pinned in their own half. This pressure was rarely relieved as conditions made it difficult for both sides to handle the ball with Wells experiencing big problems at the line out where securing their own ball became difficult. Within two minutes of the restart the home tackling was found wanting down the left as fullback Toby Simpson scored with fly half Brad Burr converting 17-12. For the next 18 minutes Wells found it increasingly difficult to break out as a combination of inaccurate passing under pressure and poor technical kicking from hand added to their inability to make progress up the park. When they did all too often the movement was too lateral to make real progress. It took Brentwood until the 60th minute to go ahead as not for the first time they spotted space on the right flank and another diagonal kick found Batty in space again to score with Burr converting from the touchline. 17-19.

Despite some manful defending Wells continued to find it difficult to break out and in the 68th minute a poor clearance kick found Brentwood fullback Simpson in space as he moved the ball wide for Batty to finish with a hat trick and for Burr to convert again 17-26. Try as they might for the last 17 minutes of the game Wells could not find the pattern or incisiveness in the conditions to launch a counter and the game came to an end with no further score.

Wells have to ponder their third home defeat in a row and despite a better start can only rue one or two missed chances in the first half and a very narrow backs defence which offered the opposition four tries on the flanks. The elements clearly had a big role to play as Wells won the first half with them 17-5 and Brentwood the second 21-0.

With six games gone in the league season Wells reach the first rest week on 12 points but with this defeat drop to third from bottom in a league which is unforgiving if you don’t take your chances. Time for Simon Whatling and his coaches to work on tactics and technique prior to Wells getting on the road to Sutton and Epsom for a 3 00pm KO on the 20th October to start the process of moving back up the table.



Wells had a day to forget on Saturday as the journey took 4 and a half hours- Dartford tunnel closure- and then despite floodlights the referee insisted on starting the game less than 30 minutes after arrival.

Despite this a relatively unchanged starting line up Carl Straeche for Ben Williams -the only change- started reasonably well with Frank Reynolds kicking the visitors into the lead and then converting a well taken Mike Doherty try in the corner to give a ten point lead in as many minutes.

Things were to get worse from this point on as first Wells lost Richard Murray- replaced by Richard Webster- to a head injury and then lost Max Edmonton to a yellow card which proved pivotal as the Bedford number 14 led a try fest as the home team scored 17 points in the period whilst Edmonton was off. Bedford rounded this off with a further converted try to leave Wells trailing by 25-10 at halftime.

Wells started the second half in better form but without a platform in the tight found it difficult to close the gap as they would have hoped. Player coach Dave Allen got a try on the Board from a line out catch and drive and Richard Webster picked up a well executed try converted by Reynolds. Further disruption though followed as scrum- half Edmonton received what appeared to be a serious ankle injury which caused a further delay to the game whilst he was treated. With this loss of momentum Wells then conceded a further penalty and an unconverted try to kill any chance of bonus points or victory. Little consolation that they took the second half despite the disruption 12-10.

Squad: Crosilla, Nicholls, Straeche, Earle, Josh Hawkins, Hathaway, Allen, N Doherty, Isbell. Edmonton, Reynolds, Murray, Montgomery, Bailey, M Doherty, Caddy, Webster, Taylor- Dennehy.



Wells travelled across to Brentwood this week following the loss to Guildford the week before knowing that they had to win this game to avoid the relegation zone. Brentwood on the other hand were extremely confident quoting that this match would be an easy win for them. They were in for quite a shock as the Wells were fired up for this match and were not going down without a fight.

Wells started the game against the wind and up the slope and soon found themselves under a lot of pressure from Brentwood who used their big forwards to punch holes in the Wells defence. Wells were camped on their line for several periods of time but managing to keep them out with solid defence from Hathaway, Doherty and Isbell. After 13 minutes however Wells found themselves offside at the ruck and were penalised with Brentwood converting to make the score 3-0. Straight from the kick off Brentwood piled on more pressure pinning Wells back down in the corner and it was on 32 minutes when their bulky centre punched through a gap and scored between the posts which was converted making the score 10-0. Wells then started their comeback with a great break from Doherty at the base of the scrum, feeding Caddy who skipped through a couple of tackles only for the last pass to go to ground. Just before half time Wells pressured Brentwood again and after several phases lively scrum half Storkey danced his way over the try line, between the posts for Reynolds to convert taking the half time score to 10-7.

The second half started the same as the first with Brentwood taking the game to Wells and scoring first with a try which was also converted, making the score 17-7. This woke Wells up and they soon started playing more territory and using the wind. Some strong running from the front row of Straeche, Nicholls and Crosilla tested the Brentwood defence and this eventually paid off with Man of the match Crosilla crossing the line between the posts, again for Reynolds to score. Brentwood never got out of their half again with Wells now firing on all cylinders. Excellent lineout work from Earle and Hawkins secured solid ball and another strong driving phase saw Earle power his way over between the posts for Reynolds to covert. 17-24. After another strong lineout, a catch and drive saw the returning Pankhurst finish off a rolling maul for Reynolds to covert again. With only a few minutes remaining Talbot replaced Isbell and Clough replaced Storkey. Wells however were not finished and some excellent handing and interplay involving the lively Montgomery, Reynolds, Hathaway, N Doherty feeding his brother Mike Doherty to finish off with an excellent try between the post converted by Reynolds making the final score 17-38.

Wells will take a lot of positives from this game particularly their dogged defence and take it on to their next game in two weeks against the league leaders Sutton & Epsom at home at St Marks. KO 2-30pm.

John Crees
Tunbridge Wells RFC Chairman

Chingford RFC 23 Tunbridge Wells RFC 21

Chingford RFC 23 Tunbridge Wells RFC 21

With a thick covering of dark grey cloud and a stiff cold breeze coming across the pitch it was never going to be a comfortable afternoon. The last time these two sides met was in the incredibly close playoff match which led to us being promoted into this league two seasons ago with Chingford following us up at the start of this season.

Wells started brightly putting together a lovely passage of play with the ball going through hands to Richard Webster who went in at pace and scored in the far corner after 2 minutes. Unconverted. 0 – 5 to Wells. Another 7 minutes and Frank Reynolds made no mistake with the penalty, taking it to 0 – 8. From the restart Chingford’s fullback landed awkwardly damaging his knee and leading to a pause in play for some minutes. When play restarted it seemed Chingford were energised and they came back with a powerful attack which led to a score in the corner. 5 – 8. Both sides continued to work hard in the middle of the field but there was no further score for 15 minutes. With Wells conceding too many penalties in the danger zone Chingford took advantage converting two taking the score to 11 – 8 just short of half time. But then with a Chingford infringement around 20m from their line Frank Reynolds kicked a penalty to the corner for a lineout. The ball was successfully spun out to the backs and after a few probing attacks fed out to Ryan Taylor-Dennehy who took it in for the score in the corner on the stroke of half time. 11 – 15.

Chingford started well in the second half and after some sustained pressure the ref determined that Mike Doherty had his hands in the ruck and was sent to the bin for 10 minutes. Chingford capitalised with a try taking the score to 18 – 15. Three minutes later Wells replied with another penalty drawing the scores level. 18 – 18. And ten minutes later, another. 18 – 21. With the light well and truly fading, and the clock moving slowly towards full time Wells found themselves back down to 14 again after further pressure on the Wells line resulted in a yellow for Josh Hawkins. Chingford piled on the pressure and eventually went over for their final try. 23 – 21 Full time.

Head Coach, Simon Whatling, said “Clearly we were all disappointed at the end of the game. Discipline let us down and we weren’t as accurate as we should have been. We go again next week with the arrival of Dorking.”

TWRFC v Dorking RFC Saturday 1st December 2pm.

Bruce Elliott

TWRFC – Hertford RFC

Notice: Trying to get property 'result' of non-object in /home/matt5221/public_html/wp-content/plugins/zenfoliopress/Zenfolio.php on line 47

Wells Start Season with 5 Points

It’s a long time (if ever) since the competitive rugby season started on the first day of September for Tunbridge Wells. However, with 26 games to fit in during this second season in the level 5 London and South East Premier League it was a sunny St Marks that heralded the opening game of the campaign.

After a positive pre-season ended with a win at Westcombe Park, there are five new teams to encounter this time around in the shape of Bedford Athletic, Brentwood, Chingford, CS Stags 1863, and Wimbledon. However, it was familiar foes in the form of Hertford who were the visitors to the Wells. A fifth place finish exceeded most expectations last year but with Hertford having finished one place higher (and a whopping 28 points ahead) no one was anticipating anything but a tough opener.

Wells have strong continuity from last season with the coaching team remaining in tandem along with the vast majority of the side continuing and Ryan Taylor-Dennehy as captain. The squad has also been bolstered for the season with this week’s team containing big second row Chris Pentney, inside centre Tom Bailey and back reserve Henry Toomer. A few players missed this game due to holidays and last season Players’ Player Mike Doherty suffered an injury in training and will miss the early part of the season.

Wells played the first half up the slope towards the clubhouse and proceedings began very well for the home side. Hathaway secured an impressive lineout steal on the Hertford 10 metre line and the travelling side conceded a penalty, Reynolds sent the kick to the corner for a lineout 7 metres out. A well-executed catch and drive ensued which saw Pankhurst peel down the blindside to touch down unopposed, Reynolds converts from the left. 7-0 after 4 minutes.

Both sides threatened for the first quarter of the game without an end product as a little rustiness showed which was to be expected on the opening day of the season. Wells were getting some joy down the left hand side through Webster and Smith, who were both to have excellent games and Hertford broke through centre field on a few occasions through their 13’s direct running for the most part. Wells’ scrum was proving very solid and would hold a slight advantage throughout the game in what was a terrific battle, whilst the lineout provided some good ball, primarily through Earle and Hathaway, but proved sloppy at times.

It was Hertford who were next to score on 20 minutes, after a number of phases they found themselves in the Wells 22 where the scrum half darted down the narrow blindside to offload to the winger to score in the corner, conversion missed 7-5. Within 5 minutes Wells had responded effectively, they broke down the right hand side up to the 22 after good handling by Taylor-Dennehy and the ball was moved back to the left where Taylor-Dennehy’s superb delayed pass sent Webster powering through only to be pulled down just short of the line. Hertford cynically conceded a penalty for offside and their blindside flanker was sent to the bin. The ball was kicked to the corner and the home support were willing for a replay of the first score, it was not to be as Hertford’s maul defence saw them receive a scrum.
The game was proving very open with strong running from both sides with Hathaway, Doherty, Webster and Bailey getting through a lot of work. Whilst the breakdown was clean for the most part, Hathaway and the travelling four were proving to be nuisances for their opposition.

On the half hour mark Wells scored their try of the game. Hertford were launching what looked a dangerous attack up to the Wells half way line on the Wells left hand side. However, Pankhurst ripped the ball from the attacker and threw the ball deep to Taylor-Dennehy who surged across the pitch before straightening and offloading to Hathaway on the 10 metre line who in turn moved the ball to Doherty. He provided quick hands to Spicer and he expertly drew the final defender and sent Bailey free down the right hand touchline and under the post for an easy conversion for Reynolds 14-5.

Whilst the team’s second try was superb the third would best be described as opportunistic. With one minute to go until half time Hertford looked to play from deep, as they did for much of the game, but the ball was knocked on just outside the 22 metre line. Reynolds reacted quickest to hack through twice before falling on the ball over the line dusting himself off and converting, 21-5 halftime.

Both sides would have been looking for improvement in the second half and the home side were wary of a resurgent Hertford. The half began with strong breaks from both hookers, the run from the Hertford number 2 could easily have resulted in a try after only 5 minutes but the ball was knocked on and Wells had a scrum 5 where the front row of Crosilla, Pankhurst and Williams secured a penalty. The Tunbridge Wells scrum hasn’t always been the strongest in previous seasons but the side now appear to be very secure in the area and it offers an effective attacking platform.

Hertford were next to strike, from a scrum in the Wells 22 they moved the ball wide to touch down in the corner, good conversion 21-12. Wells’ defensive effort was being optimised by Reynolds who made numerous tackles including a crowd pleasing dump tackle on the opposition centre. From this tackle the supporting players were over-zealous and pinged for going off their feet in the centre of the pitch 30 metres from the Wells posts. Hertford opted for the corner, but the ball was sent dead which was to prove a big moment. From the resulting scrum the ball went blind as Bailey sent Smith on a surging run down the left hand side, the ball was kicked deep and Hertford recovered the ball under pressure in their 22. The ball popped out the ruck and Webster was there on this occasion to hack through to score and secure the try bonus point, converted again 28-12. From the following kick off Pankhurst’s comical left foot swipe should, but probably never will be forgotten.

As the game entered the final quarter Hertford saw their best period of the game. Firstly they scored as they broke through the centre and fantastic offloading saw their prop dot down against the post. Then with 10 minutes to go they received a penalty infront of the posts which was successfully kicked, 28-22.

The previously very confident home support were now wary that the next score was crucial, up steps Hathaway. The openside secures a brilliant turnover on the left hand side as Hertford attack inside their own half. The ball is moved inside for one phase and then back to the left where Hatherway powers through before offloading to Doherty who strolls over for the try, Reynolds does it again 35-22. There was still time for Hertford to score a length of the pitch bonus point try which proved to be the last play of the game, conversion missed which meant the away side didn’t secure the losing bonus point.

It was certainly a great game to watch and a fantastic 5 points awith impressive performances through the team. Wells scrum half Charlie Rigby was awarded the Man of the Match award due to his impressive controlling of proceedings.

Head Coach Simon Whatling said “it was a contest between two teams who clearly were rusty, but we had fantastic character and work rate. It was great to see a change of mind-set.”

Next week sees Wimbledon who were relegated from National 2 South last season visit St Marks for a 3pm kick off. This is sure to be a tough game against a side that many consider favourites for the league and won 28-15 against Tring (3rd last year) in their opening game.

Photos from the game can be found here:

Wimbledon (Home)

Notice: Trying to get property 'result' of non-object in /home/matt5221/public_html/wp-content/plugins/zenfoliopress/Zenfolio.php on line 47

Wimbledon 10 Tunbridge Wells 5

On a very wet, cold and windy afternoon, the Wells visited Wimbledon who are currently leading the London & SE Premier league. Earlier in the Season Wimbledon beat the Wells comprehensively by 52-8 and Wells were adamant that this type of result was not going to happen again. Wells saws the return of Ben Williams, Richard Webster and debutant James Catt strengthening the pack.

Wells kicked off with the wind and pressurised Wimbledon with immediate effect. Only solid defence from Wimbledon thwarted Wells from scoring, with strong running from Catt, Hathaway and Doherty. Good handling in the backs threatened Wimbledon phase after phase. Against the run of play Wimbledon made their way downfield and after 12 minutes saw them score their first try through pick and drives from their bulky pack.

Wells fought straight back through good phase play, direct running and great handling given the conditions. They were rewarded quickly after a 5 metre scrum saw George Montgomery dive over the line to level the scores.

Just before half time Wells were on the attack again pressurizing the Wimbledon line and testing their defence. With an overlap looming, Taylor-Dennehy’s pass was intercepted by the Wimbledon winger, who sprinted away only to be caught on the 22 by Taylor-Dennehy, who was adjudged to have seat belt tackled the player, then sent to the bin for 10 minutes. Wimbledon kicked to the corner and from the ensuing lineout, drove over the Wells line to take the half time score to 10-5.

Second half and the conditions got worse. Wells immediately went into attacking mode and pressurized Wimbledon continuously for 40 minutes. Some strong running by Webster drove Wells forward and Wells found themselves camped on the Wimbledon three times, unable to convert the points by either knocking on or sealing off the ball. The solid defence of Wimbledon held out and the final whistle went, leaving the final score at 10-5. Given the conditions the standard of rugby from both sides was excellent and Wells left, feeling that they let this one slip through their fingers again.

Wells now have a two week break for Christmas and come back in the New Year to face Shelford at St Marks on 5th January.

John Crees