Members and friends of TWRFC,
I thought it timely to provide an update on the club and the progress made this year. It’s a long update because we are a big and active club!
However, let me start by saying the world is presently gripped in a fight against Covid-19 which has had a significant impact on everyone’s lives. It puts many aspects of our lives into perspective and raises levels of appreciation for things we take for granted. We are truly in unprecedented times.
The Board have remained focused on the Club throughout the year, both its day to day operations and of course the longer-term future of the club. Below is a detailed update on all parts of the club before I look to the future:
The Youth section: Another very successful year for the Youth section with record membership numbers (621) and a great spirit across all the age groups. Some notable highlights: A very successful Mini’s festival held; Beamo (Under 6 Head Coach and present senior player) gets up and running with a huge 105 players in his U6’s age group; First team player Ben Whale takes on Head Coach role of Under 14’s (#oneTWRFC), Despite the weather we KEPT training with new 3G locations sourced; Age groups keep the spirit alive in lockdown with remote sessions and fun videos.
To all the players: We are sorry the season ended prematurely but keep active, keep wearing the clubs colours with pride, we will be back before you know it!
The Thank-you’s are endless here, we have over 100 volunteers in this section (from coaches to DBS to Fixtures, parent helpers, to Refs etc etc). Thank-you one and all you are keeping the future of TWRFC very much alive and growing. Thanks to Laurence and Alex for Chairing the Youth and the Minis.
The Academy: As we started the season we had high hopes for the Academy and wanted to revamp it. It would be fair to say the revamp had a tricky start but ended on a real high.
Andy Child has taken on the lead role here and led the squad to stats of Played 7, WON 7 the last one taking them to a Kent Cup Final. It was also great to see Tui, Agy and Max Douch (First team players) playing such an active part in the training and supporting on match days (#oneTWRFC). Our DoR was also very active in supporting this success demonstrating his breadth of role. Well done to all the players, you are the future of the senior section and we look forward to seeing you at training soon.
Some good news for next year, we have a new sponsor for the Academy who is keen we invest further in this important transition into senior rugby.
Thank you to Andy and all the coaches, Jim, Tui and Agy.
The Ladies section: We are really keen to grow the ladies section and make sure TWRFC is the ‘Go-To’ club for ladies’ rugby. We have challenged Simon and the team to grow our Ladies membership and confirmed we are happy to invest to get that growth. So, to the successes: U18’s equalled last year’s national cup run and came 2nd in the County league; U15’s saw numbers grow and got on a good winning streak; U13’s won the county plate against stiff competition; U11 team created to expand the section; and membership numbers rise to 80.
Well done Simon and all the coaches. But also well done to all the players, you have a real sense of community and are the fastest growing section of the club.
The Senior Section: We have three very divergent parts of our Senior club: The Elite squad; The Social side; and of course the Vets.
The Elite squad has clearly had a good season, with a very honourable 6th position in the league. We were light upfront all season but Simon and Aston got the team working really well together and ground out some fantastic results. There was as-ever the odd game that slipped away from us but ‘The Wells’ way of playing was exhilarating to watch: Strong defence, well organised team structure and hugely exciting with ball in hand. Well done guys a fantastic effort and a pleasure to watch.
The second XV struggled this year for players, fixtures and results and is an area of focus for us. Also on that list of focus areas are player-retention and player-recruitment.
The Social side under the leadership of Andy Cunningham has operated well all season winning half their games. The number of players representing the 3rd XV was north of 50 which shows the depth of squad at this level. If everyone wanted to play every week we’d have a 4th XV back before you knew it!!
The Vets…….shall be remembered this year for their activities off the pitch! The lockdown videos have been amazing. Thank-you to Tommo and Tom for your hard work they have kept the spirit of the club alive in these hard times. Awesome.
Thanks to all those that pulled on the Blue and White shirts this year, thanks to Jim Scully and the coaching team, the Captains, the organisers, the helpers, the ref liaison/refs, the caterers, the bar staff etc etc and thank you to the one and only Lino. Thanks to Stu Montgomery for leading this area for the Board.
So lastly to the running of the club and the area I have focussed a lot of my time and effort upon to get us financially and structually on an even keel.
The Commercial team: All major sponsors are now contracted and most on multi-year agreements. They are regularly engaged with to ensure they feel part of our club. We have two new ‘tier 1’ sponsors for next year on multi-year contracts which help build our diversity of revenues. We are under no illusion that our ability to get new sponsors next year will be harder. Thanks to Simon Hughes, Steve Webb and Andre Van Zijl
The Events: After a hugely successful summer ball at the High Rocks we have lost our last two fundraising events to Covid-19. The Youth Ball is postponed to early October and the Player’s end of season dinner will now be delivered virtually. We also lost our VP’s lunch at the Spa. We did however have a hugely enjoyable ‘Brave the Shave’ event run by the Senior section with lots of monies raised for an incredibly worthy cause. Thanks to Sarah Raine, Fran, Michelle and many many others.
The Operations: As mentioned most sponsors are now contracted, all our 1st team players were contracted, our major supplies are actively managed with terms renegotiated, and we are doing some work to tidy up our Board structure. Martin Croker, Michelle Greenall and Tony Pawson have been immense here.
The Clubhouse: Alan and Kathy have kept the Bar well stocked, the match day lunches organised and the volunteers at hand, Martha has kept the Bacon cooking and Charmaine has kept the match teas consistently good. But Nick has overseen not only the maintenance of an ageing old clubhouse but also lots of small but important investment:
- The new combined gym and physio room invested in and refreshed. Including new equipment.
- The interior sound system and external PA system has arrived (Thanks to Pete Gould for sponsoring)
- The first XV changing room has been refreshed with shelving. The ground floor TWRFC street art arrives soon (Thanks to Countryside Properties).
- The Café has arrived! A real improvement to the ground floor and to the feel of the Clubhouse.
- Nick has recently had the ground floor completely painted and is working up some more decking outside the café.
Marketing/Press: An area awash with volunteers from Graham/Roger on match reports, to Drew/Michelle on marketing, Fran on programmes, Mac on videos, Michelle on instagram (so hip!), and Martin on the website. Not to mention Bruce’s brilliant photography each week.
The Future of the Club: You will all have seen our recent posts on how we wish to focus our attentions on future ground improvements. We have started to progress plans in this regard and will continue to keep you fully appraised as we reach key milestones.
Lastly and perhaps at this present time most importantly
The Finances: Don has continued to keep us on the straight and narrow this year. We have added cashflow forecasts and forecasting tools to our armoury as we look to ensure we are financially tight and resilient to blips. Thank goodness we did and thank goodness we ended the year in a far stronger position financially than we started. We will provide a full update at our (Covid-19 delayed) AGM when we get to it but in the meantime I wanted to reassure all the members we are in a stable position. We ended the season with cash resources in the bank, with our reserved funds safely set aside, with no debt and with sufficient cash to see us through to next season despite the early finish. We have availed ourselves of all Covid-19 grants/support that is available to us but we have not taken any funds from the various debt facilities offered from either the RFU or elsewhere. We are financially resilient at present but our planning shows any persistent delay to the restart of the rugby season will have an early impact.
So in summary:
- The Club is in good shape on the playing side
- We have a growing youth and ladies section
- We have a successful academy
- We have a performing 1st XV
- We have a socially active club
- We are ever closer to our #oneTWRFC ambition
- The number of volunteers are growing and making a difference
- We are financially stable and operationally organised
- We have direction and purpose for the future of St Marks.
Thank you to all our many volunteers and to everyone who keeps TWRFC at the heart of our Community.