As some of you will remember when I became Chairman I said we would review our investment priorities and create a route to delivering them. At the time our priorities were:
- Improving our Clubroom in the Clubhouse
- Improve our parking at St Mark’s
- Improve the availability of our pitches.
We quickly reached a conclusion that with St Mark’s as our long term home our most pressing priority should be having pitches to play rugby on! So investment in pitch availability became our priority, closely followed by improved parking and then the Clubhouse.
We continue to progress our thoughts on the Alternative Grass Pitch which would sit alongside pitch 1 and I hope to update you further on that soon. Today I wish to make you aware of a significant investment into pitches 2 and 3. We are optimistic that this investment will give significantly enhanced availability of these pitches and keep St Mark’s open for rugby for a considerably longer period. We are taking our drainage back to basics with:
- Brand new main carrier drains from the east end of pitches 2 and 3 to the small pond beside Frant road.
- Brand new primary drainage channels (that feed into the main carrier drains) running length ways down pitches 2 and 3. These are perforated plastic drains that are connected together and run between 3 and 5 meters apart. The channels above them are filled with gravel and root-zone sand.
- Brand new secondary drainage sand and gravel slits running across the pitches to feed the primary drainage channels.
The work is due to start at the beginning of May and the pitches will be out of action for several months to allow the grounds to recover and re-seed. Our friends at Borderers Cricket have kindly agreed to use the ‘Kent wicket’ this year while the work is completed.
This will mean that during the extended rugby season in May and the start of the cricket season (in May) the remainder of St Marks will be a little congested and we thank you for your understanding as we juggle training/fixtures to fit everyone in. It’s likely that we will have to adjust training times, and potentially move the occasional session to Saturday to accommodate.
Like all projects of this size they involve many hands and the financial support of many. In terms of the grounds strategy and engaging with contractors Roger Clarke has done a tremendous amount of work and diligence. In terms of paying for it there are many to thank: firstly the club has been saving away and sinking monies to prepare for this moment; secondly Tunbridge Wells Borough Council have offered to support; lastly the RFU and Sport England have supported us throught their ‘Winter survival fund’.
We thank you all for your support of our club and sport in Tunbridge Wells.
Come on you Wells