Category: Front Page


Match reporter: Roger Clarke

Wells made a number of changes for this first home game of 2024 following the narrow win at Brighton the week before. There were changes in the front row due to injury, to the second row due to unavailability, and to the back row as skipper Nick Doherty hit the injured list, and at full back where brother Mike returned after injury to Sam Williams and took over the captain’s armband. Jake Thompson – a past crowd favourite – came onto the bench.

With this number of changes it was of little surprise that the home sides early exchanges were a little disjointed featuring some technically poor kicking which Bournemouth were also guilty of to an extent. As a result both sides defences came to the fore and the Wells found it difficult to get past the halfway line. Indeed the visitors should have gone ahead after 15 mins when a relatively easy penalty kick was mishit by fly half Grant Hancox.

Wells gave away a flurry of penalties in the first quarter which disrupted the continuity of play and things got worse as the quarter came to an end with Ali Main being given a yellow card for a high tackle.

The home side survived the first quarter through some sound tackling from the back row and the centres particularly but had not been out of their own half. However, the yellow card period was negotiated with no conceded score and as the side started to put the ball through the hands more progressed down the slope. Wells also prospered at the line out with Whale and Crichton stealing ball after some inaccurate throwing by the Bournemouth hooker.

With the half coming to an end apparently in stalemate Max Hobbs almost got away down the right touchline but was ankle tapped just as he looked to have broken through. Wells continued though to occupy a higher field position and as the game approached the last 5 minutes Ben Day calmly kicked a 35 metre penalty from the right to give Wells a 3 point lead.

Chapel Down Player of the Match: Jay Smith

With half time beckoning Wells conceded their 8th penalty of the game and Hiscox made no mistake to make the halftime score 3-3 which was a fair reflection of the first 40 minutes play. It was clear that if the Wells were to win this game they needed more ball in hand and fewer penalties conceded in the second half, and true to form this is what they did as from the kick off 4 phases of play saw second row Sam Crichton go over from a maul to get the try which Ben Day kicked 10-3. 

Wells continued to keep the ball in hand and after applying pressure were awarded a penalty on the 22 in front of goal which they opted to scrum. The ball was moved wide from this position and for the first and only time in the afternoon the home side got around the back of the Bournemouth defence for right wing Tom Webster to score in the corner for an unconverted try 15-3.

The hunt was then on for four tries and a bonus point and Wells proceeded for 15 minutes to camp on or in the visitors 22. Ben Isbell was held up over the line, Max Hobbs missed a try in the left corner by a whisker and Jay Smith and Ben Whale came within a metre but couldn’t get the ball over the line through an inspired and spirited Bournemouth defence.

Fulltime came with Wells still camped in the visitors 22 but with no further score for a competent but not inspired 15-3 win on a day where both sides defences were to the fore and with Wells not conceding a try.

Next week sees a rest before Wells have a huge game at Camberley – the only side to leave St Marks with a win this season. Analysis this week will no doubt look at the penalty count conceded and lines of running in attack whilst the rest week could well bring some players recovered from injury into the selection mix.

Man of the Match nominated by Bournemouth for his tireless performance in defence and attack was No 7 Jay Smith

MATCH REPORT: Brighton RFC 1XV (24) v TWRFC 1XV (26)

Match report by Jim Hendley

Wells played the first half with the brisk northerly wind at their backs on a fine but cold day for rugby at Brighton. Ultimately, it was Brighton’s lack of discipline that brought Wells back into the game at the start of the second half with 2 quick yellow cards.

Whilst Wells started of brightly it was Brighton who struck first with a fine flat pass from their fly half to the No8 who took a great line to score under the posts which was converted to give a 7-0 lead. Wells worked themselves back into the game but Brighton were exerting more continuity & control during the half and Wells had to defend well to keep them out. Finally, Wells broke into the Brighton 22 and after good close quarter driving by the forwards quick feet from Hobbs saw him scorch under the posts with Day adding the extras to level the score 7-7.

Wells tried to play their attacking style and all too often passes were put down or speculative passes didn’t find their target. Brighton were more secure in their play and went ahead again 12-7 with a well worked unconverted try in the corner. They extended they lead further to 19-7 their centre strolled through after it looked like the Wells defender had been taken out.

As the halftime whistle approached Wells mounted a sustained attack on the Brighton line which forced their No 8 to prevent the ball being released to the backs and duly received a yellow card and from the resulting penalty Wells drew closer after a Ben Whale try but the kick went wide to leave the score 19-12 at Half time.

Wells started the second half into the wind in fine style as Williams made a great break down the pitch deep into the Brighton half which was initially repelled. Wells continued to pressure and Isbell scored after a good close driving and Day added the conversion to bring the scores level again at 19-19.

Chapel Down Player of the Match – Nick Doherty

Wells now in the ascendancy moved the ball well out to left wing Hobbs who was taking out by a high tackle leading to another yellow card and with Brighton down to 13 Wells pressed for their bonus point try. This was duly delivered by Isbell again after good continuity & driving play by the forwards. Converted by Day for Wells to hit the front for the first time 19-26.

Brighton got back to full strength but couldn’t make much headway into the Wells half until the last 10 minutes when they did score in the corner. Wells had made a hash of a try line drop out to give Brighton an attacking scrum 5 yards out under the posts. Good control and then swift hands created the opening but importantly the conversion was missed and Wells held a 2 point lead.

Wells managed this last period quite well and held out for another good away win. However, there was a farcical end to the game with Wells deliberately throwing the Ball into touch after the 80 mins were up giving Brighton a final chance to snatch victory but their flyhalf kicked the ball dead to end the game.

Wells remain in 3rd place in the League and host Bournemouth at St. Marks on Saturday.


Match Report: Fran Colangelo

A lovely dry Boxing Day morning at St Marks welcomed this years teams made up of a variety of Wells players and guests including none other than former player, England and British Lion Martin Corry playing for the first time with his son Ned and for the last time in a Wells shirt at the place he started his rugby journey.

Martin & Ned Corry – played their first game together

The script could not have been written any better as within 5 minutes of Referee Tim McCabe’s whistle a trademark Martin Corry offload to his son saw Ned cross the line to put the Presidentts 5-0 up. Despite this early setback The All Stars hit back with John Ridley of TJs playing alongside his 2 sons came up with the ball after a great team effort to get to the line. Soon after it was the younger sibling Patrick Ridley who sliced open the defence to put the All Stars in the lead with Ben Shirley adding the conversion.

This was an evenly matched contest with both sides playing open rugby and The Presidents scored next when Sam Crichton went over to reduce the gap to 10-12. The All Stars however were dominating the tackle area with skipper Tiggy Bartley and Kent Veteren Rob Harrison using all their experience to gain the advantage. Soon another score came with Lucas Scully playing alongside his brother Jesse found a gap to go over converted by Shirley. 10-19. Patrick Ridley sealed the half with his second try to put the All Stars 10-24 up at half time. 

The Presidents started the second half well with Jack Greig showing some silky skills and speed to run in from halfway converting his own try to make it a 1 score game at 17-24. There were moments of brilliance in the second half with Sam Crichtons charge from 50 meters out only to get hauled down by Ben Shirley with the line at his mercy. The old and the young were having fun. The All Stars just had the edge though and 2 quick tries from Hamish Towers and Oscar Davies put the All Stars 17-34 up with 5 to go. This was the green light for Fran Colangelo to enter the game for one last run with his son Harvey replacing his old friend Nick McDowell. Quick ball was one and Jack Grieg broke through making a try scoring pass to Fran Colangelo who dotted down in the corner. What a way to bow out!

Friendships renewed, memories made and a special mention for Andy Maynard for a full game at hooker in his 50th playing season at the club at the age of 65 – he made his first senior appearance at 15 in 1974 and still played regularly for the 3rd XV and Vets.

Martin Corry & Andy Maynard – 50 seasons and counting!

Martin Corry presented him with his British Lions shirt from the 2005 Lions Tour to New Zealand.

Finally a special mention for the fathers and sons that graced the pitch, Corry’s, Greig’s,  Childs, Bradley’s, Ridley’s, McCabe’s, and the brothers Scully. A day that won’t be forgotten in a long time.

EDITORS NOTE: A huge thankyou to Fran Colangelo who organised this and many other Boxing Day games. Fran’s continued efforts have made the Boxing Day a great club and community event which also helps raise funds for the club.

MATCH REPORT – Horsham 1XV (8) v TWRFC 1XV (33)

Match Reporter – Fran Colangelo

On a dry day Wells the 1 hour trip to Horsham for one of their “local derbys”. When Horsham came to St Marks in September Wells won against the newly promoted side 45-14. A good crowd after their busiest lunch of the year was on hand to cheer both sides on.

Wells started on the front foot with some good attacks from Ben Whale and the backs getting in the game early but they couldn’t finish off what they created, partly by little mistakes and also by the determined way in which Horsham defended – especially the ruck area. Slowly Horsham got back in the game and their ability to run from anywhere and Wells giving away penalties saw them keep play deep in Wells half. 

After 10 mins, following another penalty, Horsham went to the corner and a clean catch and drive saw them go over for a deserved try and a 5-0 lead. This spurred Wells into action but they couldn’t get a foothold in the game with the quick defensive line of Horsham rattling them. The speed of ball from the hosts was led by their 9 keeping Wells on the back foot. Any attacking play from Wells met a wall of green and on 25 mins the hosts extended their lead with a penalty that bounced off the crossbar twice and over to go 8-0 up, which on the balance of play was a fair reflection.

Chapel Down Player of the Match – Dave Thornton

The next 15 mins was very broken play from both sides as we moved from set piece to set piece with no real threats. With the clock on zero the ref indicated 3 mins of injury time at the end of the half, and in what seemed like the visitors first real attack on the Horsham line the pick and drive went to plan and Ben Isbell went over for the try, converted by Ben Day. Horsham heads dropped as the half time whistle sounded with their lead whittled down to one point.

The Wells team talk at half time must have been good as they started the second half as they finished the first, cutting out their mistakes and putting pressure on the Horsham defence. Wells got a penalty on the 22 and went to the corner confident of scoring a try. The catch and drive followed fast hands to the corner where the quick feet of Angus Horne saw him go over with Ben Day slotting a big kick. Wells led for the first time 8-14. 2 minutes later Wells went over again. From the kick off they went through he phases to score their 3rd try as Harrison Chapman found the gap to go through. Another Day conversion and there was clear water in the scores at 8-21.

Wells were in the ascendency and big carry from Ben Whale, Dave Thornton, Nick Doherty and Jay Smith punched holes as Horsham’s defence tired. It was from a Thornton charge that that saw the ball moved to Max Hobbs in space and he took his opportunity well. The conversion went wide but Wells now had an unassailable lead of 8-26 going into the last 10 minutes.

Wells finished a very good second half performance with another assault on the Horsham line, this time Tom Webster scoring and Day adding the conversion. 8-33 was a good win against a dogged home side who have greatly improved from the earlier meeting.

This was a great way to end what has been a good year and sees Wells sitting 3rd and all to play for in 2024. Good luck to Horsham in the New Year – a great club and excellent hosts to the many Wells supporters.

Boxing Day sees our usual social fixture at St Mark’s – 11am k.o.

MATCH REPORT: Bracknell RFC 1XV (31) -V- TWRFC 1XV (10)

Match report by Stuart Montgomery

On a bitterly cold day Tunbridge Wells travelled to Surrey to take on Bracknell with a few changes in the starting lineup but all the same a pretty strong side in what was expected to be a close game against opposition just 1 place adrift of our league position. Bracknell won the toss and elected, as expected, to play up the slope on a narrow pitch.

The early exchanges and for nearly 25 minutes the Wells controlled territory but the Bracknell defence was solid forcing some handling errors and enough pressure to make a couple of crucial poor decisions where it would have been easier to score than not. A Wells penalty just 10 yards out and 10 from the posts was kicked to the corner only for the lineout to malfunction and pressure relieved.

After 25 minutes and some kicking exchanges George Montgomery chipped over the defence and was taken out by 2 defenders with one getting a yellow card and Day stepped forward to convert from 40 metres out, 0-3. Bracknell were spurred into action and good tight forward play with some excellent offloading increased pressure to force a line out 35 metres from  Wells line. A good catch and drive into our 22 produced a penalty and they in turn kicked the corner seeking a try. Secure possession saw many phases at close proximity to our line but the defence held up and pressure was relieved with a forward pass. A solid scrum and clearance was brought back for a Bracknell penalty for obstruction and the scores levelled at 3-3 after 30 minutes. Bracknell came straight back and just 5 metres from our line the ball came lose, there was a minor scuffle and a player from each side were shown a yellow card. A kick to the corner, good line out and multiple close quarter phases saw the try by one of the tight forwards and the conversion was good from quite wide out, 10-3. The half was seen out with Wells attacking but making a few too many mistakes to make an impression on the scoreboard.

Chapel Down Player of the Match – Ben Whale

It wasn’t going to be easy playing up the slope and it was made harder when Bracknell had a scrum just 10 yards from the Wells line in the first 5 minutes and the second row returned from the yellow card to create solid front foot ball which was rolled in 3 or 4 phases to score, again a good conversion to make the score 17-3. Wells made a few changes with Crichton coming on and Day and Montgomery switching positions. Wells were now forced to play a more high tempo game and against the run of play a  mid-field kick intended for the space behind the wing was blocked and fell straight into the Bracknell wingers hands for a 60 metre sprint to score out wide and another good conversion saw it 24-3. The bench of Petty and Goodger came on in an attempt to help the cause. Wells were playing far better rugby but their efforts were too often eradicated by poor decisions at close quarters. However a good attack down the right flank and a deft chip by Montgomery saw Angus Horne touch down which was duly converted by Montgomery for 24-10. Was there to be an exciting finish, Wells efforts won good positions and a kick to just 5 metres out from Bracknell’s line saw 10 phases but their defence held out with many of their players having to have treatment after they had been stretched. That was to be the last chance for Wells and to cap the game off, on trying to run from deep inside our half the ball was stripped from a Well’s player and the final play of the match was a try for the winger to secure the bonus point, this time an easy conversion, 31-10.

An interesting match and a few lessons learnt, with Havant at home next week the pressure certainly remains on.                          

MATCH REPORT: TWRFC 1XV (31) v Maidenhead 1XV (15)

Match report by Fran Colangelo

After another wet week Wells pitches were given the go ahead on Saturday morning and the rain stopped ahead of kick off to ensure a dry spectacle for the 100 + crowd at St Marks.

Maidenhead won both fixtures last time the teams met in the league and they started well with good early possession. From a line out 10 metres out Maidenhead won the ball and a kick found their left wing Alex Turton who scored in the corner, the conversion was missed and the visitors led 0-5. From the restart Wells wing Tom Webster made a great break and good hands saw Tom Waghorne go over for a try converted by Ben Day for a 7-5 lead. Wells continued to attack well and from a line out in the Visitors 22 Ben Whale caught the ball and the forward drive saw Luke Hawkins score Wells second try with day converting it was now 14-5. Wells came close to a 3rd try but Webster was held up over the line with some solid Maidenhead defence. Both defences were working hard and despite Maidenheads young side pressurising the home line they could not add to their score. With 10 to go in the half however their try came as they wend over from close range converting to reduce the gap to 14-12. Wells came straight back and good hands saw Mike Doherty go over just before half time – Day added the conversion for a 21-12 lead at the break.

Chapel Down Player of the Match: Nick Doherty

Half time saw George Montgomery come on at 15 with Mike Doherty moving to 12 as Ali Main left the field injured. Maidenhead started well as Wells infringed and Hawins saw yellow reducing the home side to 14 early on. The scoreline stayed the the same for the next 20 minutes until a good line out from Wells followed by strong drives by Ben Whale and Jay Smith saw Sam Crichton score on debut with day adding the 2. Wells had some breathing space with a 28-12 lead, but Maidenhead again came back, this time winning a penalty which they slotted for 3 to close the gap to 28-15 and 2 converted tries away from a possible win. 5 minutes later though Ben Day returned the favour added 3 for the home side and resorting the 16 point lead. Wells scrum started to dominate but they could not covert possession into further points. The last 10 minutes were a scrappy affair with neither side getting any quality phases and the game ended with no further scores.

Wells have a break next week before 3 fixtures in December, Bracknell away on the 2nd, Havant at home on the 9th and Horsham away on 16th in what will be the last game of 2023.

CS STAGS 1863 1ST XV          21                     TUNBRIDGE WELLS RFC 1ST XV           26

Wells travelled for a 5 00pm KO on the new Kings House School Chiswick 4G environmentally friendly pitch installed this Summer. It was crisp and damp and as the players steamed the pitch started to fog up but conditions remained good enough to complete the game.

The town side had to make some changes from the team that had narrowly triumphed against London Welsh the week before. Tom Waghorn rotated with John Petty at prop with Petty on the bench to start. Ben Day replaced the injured George Montgomery at fly half with Mike Doherty taking his place at full back, Jay Smith recovered from injury and Sam Williams were added to the bench.

CS started at a high pace which was to be maintained by both sides throughout and within 2 minutes home centre Toby Eaton cut a line to the posts with fullback John Hargreaves adding the points 7  – 0. The home side continued to look menacing for the first 15 minutes but gradually Wells came into the game using their dominance of the scrum an efficient line out and some physical clearing out of the ruck to put the home side under pressure.  Whilst the backs looked the most likely route for a score from some direct running Wells looked as if they would score on 15 minutes from a rolling maul but were penalised close to the line. It took until the 19th minute for a first score when a movement started on halfway culminated in back row Ben Isbell going in under the posts with Ben Day tying the score at 7  -7. Wells continued to dominate physically and in the breakdown and spent the next 10 minutes wearing CS down as the 5 back row in the pack got to work. The CS defence stood up well but on 29 minutes a searing Ben Whale break and a scrum- half Anthony Storkey supporting run saw a penalty awarded in front which was miscued. It took the visitors another 10 minutes to the cusp of half time for the Wells pack to exert their scrum power to earn a pushover try controlled and scored by Nick Doherty and converted by Ben Day. 7  –  14.

Wells were no doubt hoping that given their advantage in territory and ball that they would get to the break in the lead but this was not to be as CS came flying out of the traps for right wing Ikenna Obonna to get round the Wells cover and score halfway out on the right with  Hargreaves converting to make the halftime score 14  –  14.

The second half kicked off with Jay Smith returning after injury replacing  Luke Hawkins at hooker and with the visitors still on the attack. A useful fly hack down the pitch could not be controlled as the attacking player Webster and a CS defender collided. The pattern of the game had also changed to some degree as whilst Wells continued to dominate the scrummage some accuracy was lost at the lineout. After 48 minutes a great forward effort nearly saw Wells over the line but the CS defence mastered the attack. 2 minutes later, however, they could do little to stop an incisive break from centre Max Hobbs who fed  Tom Webster who went in for the 3rd try which was not converted 14  -19 to the visitors.

Despite Wells not having as much of the ball CS chose to kick a lot which gave  counter attacking options. A forward drive on 59 minutes saw the ball moved to the right with Mike Doherty coming into the line to ensure both brothers were on the score sheet with Mike getting the try bonus point and  with Ben Day nudging the conversion off the right upright   14  –  26.

CS again replied quickly to Wells pulling away as on 63 minutes they made progress on the right with centre Toby Eaton scoring his second of the day with Hargreaves converting  21  –  26.

The visitors piled on the pressure for the last 15 minutes and perhaps should have gone further into the lead when on 76 minutes Whale made an even better midfield break and got the ball to an unmarked Toby Webster on the right wing. Sadly as it would have been an outstanding try the ball wouldn’t stick and the chance had gone. The game ending with CS trapped in their own 22 as the pressure was applied.

This was a good win against opposition which the town-side have always found difficult away from home. The control of the forwards at the set scrum, the power of the clear out and midfield running  from the pack and some nice attacking lines from the backs saw the side to the win retaining third place in London and SE  Regional 1 South  Central.  Man of the Match  Ben Whale. Scorers Tries: Ben Isbell, Nick Doherty, Tom Webster and Mike Doherty. Ben Day 3 conversions.

This Saturday the 18th November Wells entertain Maidenhead RFC at St Marks KO 2 30 pm.

Roger Clarke

Reclaim the Night Walk

Kent’s first ever Reclaim The Night walk is BACK for a second year running and we would encourage you to join in, walk, talk and be part of the campaign to make the streets of Tunbridge Wells and beyond safer.

Mark the evening of Saturday 25th November in your diaries – meeting on Rusthall High Street at 7.30pm to walk to the Pantiles where simultaneous walks from all over the town will come to meet.

The Reclaim the Night walk is held on the same day as the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of violence against women and girls, where thousands of women walk in protest for their right to walk freely without fear of harassment, intimidation or sexual assault.

With the clocks gone back and sunset just after 4pm, the dark evenings are very long and can make many of us feel unsafe. With all of us making journeys to and from work, school, college and rugby training, the importance of feeling safe is in all our minds and no one should feel unsafe travelling to and from our doors.

We hope you can all join us from the club and beyond to walk in unison in club colours to show solidarity and support to those affected and try to prevent this from happening to anyone.

As rugby players, we understand how being empowered together makes us stronger alone both on and off the field.

Let’s help put this message out and join together for safer, busier streets. 🙅🏼‍♀️🚫🚨

#reclaimthenight #empoweredtogetherstrongeralone #twrfcladies #tunbridgewells #saferstreets #oneTWRFC


Match reporter: Stuart Montgomery

With unprecedented rainfall over the previous 3 days it was a testament to the improved drainage that has been implemented over the last 3 years and the game comfortably went ahead. This was always going to be a tight game with the sides just one place apart in the league and purely on points difference.

London Welsh started well with 2 dominant scrums setting the standard and extracted a penalty and ball going forward. Using quick possession the LW centre made a half break around the TW 22 and the full back was used to put the winger in, a good conversion saw a 0-7 score in just 5 minutes.

A more stable scrum saw TW extract a penalty whilst moving the ball wide, kick to the corner and a clean catch saw the ball held up just a metre out but a LW forward was given a yellow card – looking very close to a penalty try. Sustained pressure just metres away from the line saw another penalty to TW in front of the posts and Archie Warren duly converted (called upon early due to injury), 3-7. Both sides were playing confident rugby and a good tackle in the middle of the pitch by Webster was not taken well by the LW centre who saw red mist and received a red card for his reactions and TW a yellow card for the ensuing scuffle.

Chapel Down Player of the Match – Ben Isbell

LW went further ahead after some good sustained defence by TW but an offside right in front of the posts was probably the best outcome that could have happened, 3-10. 5 minutes before half time TW attacked down the right hand side and some good handling saw Webster straighten and then beat the full back on the outside – George Montgomery kicked 10 yards from touch, 10-10.  TW weren’t finished and in the last play of the first half their good ball retention was rewarded after a steady scrum 5 metres out and 4 phases before Ben Isbell crashed over, George converted to make it 17-10.

Another good start saw immediate pressure from the LW scrum and their handling was good to work a try under the posts after 5 attempts, the conversion made it 17-17. TW made a change at tight head which was only short term as Hawkins had to retire bringing John Petty back on. For whatever reason these changes stabilised the scrummage which gave TW a more stable platform, their lineout continued to function well throughout. LW tried a long range penalty which seemed the first time they wondered how to break the game up. TW had a good 15 minutes and a good scrum should have seen a try but for a loose final pass, however, another stable scrum in the LW 22 saw a delayed pass from George and Ali Main crashed over which was also converted, 24-17. LW kicked out on the full and some further great play by the driving forwards off of clean lineout ball saw another crossing the line only for the last pass to be adjudged forward.

TW emptied the bench and saw Archie Warren back on for Angus Horne and Toby Talbot on for Ben Isbell. Some good tactical kicking by TW to the LW 22 saw another excellent chance that should have been converted only for LW to clear their lines and score after just one visit to the TW 22, conversion tied the score 24-24. 

Within the last 5 minutes LW gave everything to force a penalty in the TW 22 which was converted and celebrated as they suspected victory at 24-27. TW had other ideas and forced 2 penalties which were kicked deep into LW 22, Harrison Chapman took a clean ball, 6 phases took Wells to just a metre out with 2 penalties in play signalled. A late pass to George Montgomery saw the offside LW defence almost taking the pass but the ball was controlled and kicked to clear the LW wing with Max Hobbs rounding the full back to score in the corner and claim the try bonus point. George slotted the conversion to make it 31- 27 and the final whistle ended the day.

A great game with excellent handling, considering the conditions, and notable performances from Ben Whale who was immense and the tactical game management of George Montgomery. 

Next week sees the 1st XV travel to CS Stags. Support always welcomed. Match details will be posted on the Club’s socials.

Update from the Chair: Future of the Club

I hope you are well and enjoying the rugby season. I can’t believe Christmas is approaching fast and the clocks have gone back. It’s certainly been a great start across the club with all four senior sides honouring all games and challenging the top of the table, the academy starting to look amazing with numbers now above 70 and the youth age groups all in great shape. 

Today I wanted to give our members a timely update on the future of our club and our collective ambition to make this the best club in the south of England with the facilities our members aspire to have.

As I am sure all of you are aware one of my main ambitions upon becoming the Chair was to give us a clear and defined direction for our Clubs future. I was keen we addressed our three main challenges with our home at St Marks: 

Pitches: We needed our pitches/playing surface to be available more often.

Parking: We need to be less of a burden on our neighbours and more convenient to our members.

Clubhouse: We have the best changing rooms in Kent! But we don’t have enough of them and our club room needs extending.

We started off our ‘future of the club’ work by looking at both re-development at St Marks as well as considering a re-location. I am keen to give you an update on both.

Invest heavily in St Marks
As a Board we committed to seeking planning permission for an AGP pitch, to enhance our parking and to build a cricket Pavilion (with changing rooms). We also committed to investing heavily into our pitches.

As many of you will have seen we have recently achieved planning permission to build an AGP pitch, to build 76 additional parking spaces and build a cricket Pavilion. We are delighted with this and are now setting about our various pre-planning conditions and refreshing the costs as well as the business plan. 

Proposed new site image with AGP and Additional Parking: St Marks

Relocate to a new home
Whilst we have been seeking our planning permission we have also been looking into the option to relocate from St Marks. For all the time I have been on the Board we have been approached by developers but we have always known the key to achieving this would be unlocking the various covenants on the site. For two years now we have been working with a Developer who has been helping us try to unlock this option.

We believe we have made significant progress here over the past year and now think we are getting nearer to this being an option.

Board decision

The Board believes it is very close to having a genuine choice to make within a short period of time. This is a pivotal point for the club and its membership and we have been working very hard to ensure that we have all the facts to hand to make this decision. To invest in St Marks or sign an option agreement with a developer to move to a new purpose built location. Our aims remain unchanged – to give our players and members the best facilities in the area.

The Board have asked the development committee to:

Progress the pre-planning conditions and develop a business plan for St Marks investment. This will also include progressing a funding proposal.

Try to finalise an option agreement with the developer, draw up plans for the new location and build a business plan. 

The Board are excited by progress this year and have committed to make a final decision for one of the options within 6 months.

We would welcome any thoughts and comments on the options. Any help you can offer would be welcomed (planning, legal, fund raising, Communications, business plans etc). We will also be inviting you all to ‘an evening with the Board’ over the coming weeks where you can ask us any questions you may have. 


Mike Rigby