As we reach the end of a fantastic season there are lots of things worthy of note and hence I wanted to share some of them with you. Enjoy the read and have a great summer. Hope to see you all very soon,
Future of the club
This is the part of the club that looks to ensure we remain a vibrant community sports club for many decades to come. Steve Daly who looks after this has had lots to work on this year and remains focussed on ensuring the club has the best facilities possible. Our priorities remain: Pitch improvements to increase availability or sport at St Marks; Parking improvements to reduce down our impact on our neighbours and make a better arrival experience to our members/guests; and Clubhouse improvements to allow us to accommodate our increasing diversity of membership and create a bigger social space. This year we have progressed our planning application to a stage where it is now submitted and awaiting a decision. The support of the RFU, ECB, Sport England and Strutt’s has been incredibly helpful. The option to re-locate fell away due to a challenge releasing legacy restrictions on our land. This year we invested further into our pitches (£40k), into our gym (£10k), and into our storage options to make more room in the club room. (£7k).Thank you to all involved to this point especially Richard Bains. If we are successful we will need to raise a few £ to pay for it all….
This is our main reason for being running our club to ensure Ladies, Men, Boys, Girls can use St Marks to enjoy rugby, cricket, fitness, interaction and socialising.
Stuart Montgomery is our chair of playing and is omnipresent at St Marks out of his pure dedication for our Club. He is well supported by our Director of Men’s Rugby Simon Jervis. The seniors have had a cracking season with the 1sts successfully achieving a comfortable mid-table position where they beat all sides above them. The squad was strengthened in numbers and ability and were well coached by the great team of Chaz, Mike, Stretts and Ben. This also resulted in a strong 2nd XV who won their league. It also meant the social side were not called upon to bolster the 2nd XV and could get some good team spirit and momentum. Numbers were great and Andy steered them to 1st place in the league. The Vets played rugby and socialised well. All teams were officiated by Lino in exemplary fashion. One new aspect that has grown and grown over the past two years is ‘touch tuesday’ where we welcome all for fun, exercise and socials. Come and give it a go!
So in short for Adult Men’s: One solid Mid-table performance and 2 table topping champion teams.
This year also saw our first league outing for the TWRFC Ladies team. This was a magical moment for our Director of Ladies rugby Simon Parsons who achieved a multi-year ambition. Awesome. During the year the Ladies grew in numbers; grew in spirit; grew in technical skills and the result was of course improving results. I loved watching this team get stronger and stronger. BRILLIANT.
In the youth section we hit another milestone as the proposition we offer just gets better and better. Laurence Taylor our Youth Chairman, for over a decade, has (with his 100’s of volunteers) created a youth section that is one of the strongest in our region. The passion of the coaches, the organisation on a weekly basis, the investment in training/equipment are all testament o his leadership. As Laurence stands down from his role as his kids Josh and Ollie progress to adult rugby we say THANK YOU. Enjoy relaxing on Sunday mornings Sir, you deserve it.
Some achievements this year:
- The TWRFC Academy re-established in 2023, this summer we add the Ladies academy to the set up. Well organised, professionally coached, focussed on delivering strong, confident and able adults.
- Youth membership remains stable at well over 700 for third year running (almost at capacity with our pitches)
- The Mini’s section is looking really strong and means we now have 10 age groups with over 50 kids in them.
- Ladies section is now so close to 100 members.
- Too much success to list but we have age group County champions, lots of County selections, and several progressed to professional academies.
Replacing Laurence as our Youth Chairman are two people:
- Simon Hughes will be Youth Chair
- Suzanne George will be Deputy Youth Chair
- Alex Nicholson remains as Mini’s chair
It is worth me pausing for a second to reference someone who is synonymous with the playing part of our club: Bruce Elliot. Bruce has covered every game (home and away) for as long as we can remember. The images are engaging, descriptive and for many who can’t make the game keep them in touch with our club. Bruce is stepping back a bit next season and will cover a few less games. Those games you are not there Bruce, you will be sorely missed.
The hub of our club, where we celebrate great wins and tell stories of lucky oppositions over food and refreshment.
A big step forward this year saw Simon Prince come in as General Manager. Simon has had a huge impact on lots of aspects of the club: Providing food after training, ensuring we are fully stocked, keeping on top of maintenance jobs, overseeing our investments, booking external events and managing our team of weekend staff. What a shift, thank you.
We also have Jude ensuring all our Saturday guests are hosted expertly and made to feel very welcome. The lunches have been a huge success this year.
The result of these is that the turnover through the bar/café/catering has risen nicely reflecting people have enjoyed our club and choose to be here.
Saving the best to last. The team of volunteers who just make it all run smoothly and help out across all aspects of the above. Be that Pitches (Roger), Commercial (Simon), Membership (Martin), Treasury (Don), Marketing (Drew), Secretarial (Michelle), Safeguarding (Dawn), H&G (Nick), President (Jimmy), VP Liaison (Fran), Kit (Charlie), Disciplinary (Mark) First Aid (Oliver), etc etc I am sure I missed lots of but you have all ensured we kept straight and tidy this year. Thank you, you are the unsung heroes of our club.
It is worth singling out one person this year: Michelle has been supporting the Senior squad for at least the last 7 years, liaising with the opposition, with our league secretariat, with Kent RFU. She knows rugby inside out and has been a great assistance to me personally. If you want something done, ask Michelle!! Michelle is stepping back from her fixture and senior club role to focus on the Club Secretary role. Thank you Michelle for making everything happen so smoothly
A few amends to roles as we transition through the summer:
- Youth Chairman: Laurence Taylor steps aside and hands to Simon Hughes
- Deputy Youth Chair: New role taken by Suzanne George
- Commercial Director: Simon Hughes hands to Nick Van O (Nick takes responsibility for all non-rugby operations/income)
VOLUNTEERS WELCOME: As you can see this club is run with many hands helping out. It is remarkably rewarding and quite a lot of fun as well. If you have a spare hour or two then please do get in contact and we’d love to have you as part of our team. Please contact Mike……
Thank you for all your efforts over the past few years (not forgetting your playing prowess before you became Chairman). As you know I’ve been a member for over 70 years -I started in the A XV after I left Skinners’ and I have to say the club has had its ups and downs over the years but I can honestly say it’s never been in better state – financial and organisation-wise, and couple that with a great standard of rugby. Well done to you and all your committees . One thing you can help me with – do we still have a club shop where I can get some new Tee-shirts etc. All ,best wishes Phil