CLUB HISTORY

2010 onwards -  3 league titles on the bounce

The 1st XV narrowly missed out on a 4th promotion when they finished runners up behind Canterbury in 2011/12 and then lost to Chinnor from N3SW in the play-off game, The 2nd XV had a good opening season in the new league finishing in mid table and winning the Kent Plate Final 26 - 18 against medway. The 3s won the Invicta 3 West title and the Ladies XV finished as runners up in RFUW SES2.

The U14s continue to dominate Kent rugby with a 5th Kent title in 6 seasons whilst also adding the Kent 7s title to their bulging trophy cabinet. The U12s and U8s are matching the U14s in their early achievements as well and most age groups now have over 45 players on their books. In 2011/12 the club achieved their highest ever membership numbers across all aspects of playing and supporting.

TJs won back to back to back promotions over the last 3 seasons resulting in them reaching National 3 London & South East in 2011. The 2nd XV won back to back Invicta 1 titles in 2009/10 and 2010/11 before switching to the Rugbytech Shield Division 2 in 2011/12

The 1st XV unbeaten league run finally came to an end at Cobham on Saturday 30th October 2010 when they lost 27-19. A winning streak of 52 league games without a loss was a memorable feat and one in which the Club as a whole can be rightly proud.

A milestone achievement for the Club when they were awarded the RFU Whole Club Seal of Approval for the first time becoming only the second club in Kent (41st naitonally) to be awarded this accreditation.

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10 years and counting.......... 

TJ's 1st XV took a big step forward in 2008/09 and 2009/10 securing promotion as Champions in both seasons and going undefeated to boot. A series of tricky seasons had seen the club start to struggle for results at 1st XV level and to some extent in the other senior sides as well. A change of emphasis and the recruitment of two top class coaches in Pete Dankert and Ben Smith saw the TJ ship turn 180 degrees and start moving forward again.

2009/10 also saw TJs into the National Semi Finals of the Intermediate Cup where they finally lost to the eventual winners, Old Redcliffians, in a tense and close encounter.

The Club also created a new tier of Junior rugby with an Under 18 Development Squad coached by Andy Young. This new level has been a brilliant success and although the squad managed only three games (all won) in 2009/10 the regular training provided for U16/U17 and U18 players involving the added input of the 1st XV coaches has seen a number of players successfully bridge the gap from Junior to Senior rugby e.g. Charlie Gregory and Nathan Sage who have turned out for the Warriors and Jack Mutch in the 1st XV.

With the 1st XV on a high the Warriors (aka 2nd XV) have started to match them in the 2009/10 season. Having lost a number of narrow results in 08/09 the Warriors won all but one of their games last season to secure the Kent RFU Invicta 1 title. The 3s and 4s have both won more than they have lost whilst the 5s won their own league title and promotion in 2008/09 and then runners up in 09/10. The Club also managed to put out a 6th XV last seaosn on four Saturdays and fielded over 230 Senior players over the whole season.

The Ladies XV secured promotion in only their second seaosn of league rugby and continue to go from strength to strength both on and off the field. The Mini and Youth sections have also developed at a startling rate with nearly every age group providing 30+ children with regular rugby.

A Bright Future

Tonbridge Juddians RFC was formed in 1999 by a merger between TRFC and OJRFC, the new club being based at The Slade and the Avebury Avenue site being sold for development, with the proceeds to be used for the furtherance of rugby in the town.

After some testing years in London League 2 South TJs slipped into London 4 South East but we are now on the way back up the leagues and we continue to put out Five regular XVs who compete in their own respective Leagues and Merit Tables (very few friendlies these days!).

 

TJs has thriving Mini and Junior sections, a legacy from many years of hard work by TRFC and The Judd School. Records show a pioneering Colts (U.21) side formed at TRFC in 1946, the forerunners of the current crop of youngsters - which now includes a successful Girls section. We also have a fantastic Womens Rugby Squad which in season 2009/10 should see further progress being made as the drive of those involved starts to reap rewards with a strengthened squad from the local area.

 

In 2004, the Centenary of Rugby in Tonbridge, TJRFC developed its facilities to provide the infrastructure for like minded souls of all ages to enjoy rugby for the next one hundred years. An ambitious Clubhouse development is underway, hopefully a lasting memorial to all the effort put in since 1904 to develop a vibrant rugby community in the town.

 

Those facilities are now in place and it is hopefully only a matter of time before TJRFC can start to reap the rewards from the excellent efforts put in by so many over the first 10 years of existence - exciting times ahead for all and hopefully the Club's Decenary will be a season to celebrate both on and off the field.

 

Modern Times (1970-1999)

In 1971 TRFC reached the final of the Kent Cup, narrowly losing 12-3 to Sidcup; 25 years later OJs hosted the County Cup Final at The Slade, having finally secured on-site changing facilities in 1995.

The OJs clubhouse at The Slade was opened in 1974 and extended twice over in the 80's to include the current bar and lounge. The changing rooms were added at a cost of some £120,000 and completed with substantial support from TMBC and the Sports Council.
 
OJs were late starters to Touring, starting in 1976 with a pre-season tour to Lydney. The first overseas tour by TRFC took place in April 1909 to Boulogne, with the corresponding tour to France in Easter 1940 for some reason cancelled. With travel clearly broadening the mind rugby players from Tonbridge have roamed across UK, Europe and as far as Bahamas, USA and Canada - next stop California in 2005.

1979 saw both clubs celebrating Jubilees (75 and 50 years respectively), with OJs playing a Kent XV and Peter Wright (Judd School, Tonbridge RFC, England & British Lions) bringing an International XV to play TRFC (current immediate past President RFU, Robert Horner refereeing the match).

With the introduction of the National Leagues in 1987/88, due to an impressive playing record in the 1980's (winning 163 games against 26 losses in 6 seasons), OJs were placed in London Two(South), - a position the merged Tonbridge Juddians club occupied when the new entity started rugby in season 1999/2000.

 

Gentler Times (1930's-1960's)

The Avebury Avenue clubhouse included a Boating House, where in 1926 a punt could be hired by members for 7s 6d per day (38p), and in 1928 a Tennis section was formed with the purchase of a pavilion and 4 tennis courts. In the same year a Wednesday XV was started, with a cricket club (The TerRiFiCs) formed in 1932. Throw in a Bar and Snooker Room and it's a wonder any members found time for work !

OJs traditionally changed at The Judd School and trekked through the town to the Sportsground to play, re-tracing their steps after the match before adjourning to a series of local pubs for the post-match festivities.

WW2 saw both clubs "on hold" and an "all-comers" side based at TRFC playing against various service teams - with the clubhouse providing an estimated 7,000 baths for locally based servicemen - before normal service was resumed in season 1946/47.

Season 1953/54 saw TRFC celebrating its Golden Jubilee and OJs their Silver with a joint Easter Festival.

TRFC celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in 1964, with a 440 gallon (that's 3520 pints) brewery tanker parked outside the clubhouse and sucked dry in two days over the Easter Festival weekend.

In the Sixties OJs had some notable successes in the 7-a-side game, winning the Canterbury Sevens in 1965 and 1966 but  losing out on the hat-trick to a rather useful London Welsh side in 1967.

 

The Early Years (1904-1929)

Tonbridge RFC played its first game on 24th September 1904, with the Old Juddians RFC debuting on 28th September 1928.  TRFC started life playing at the Nevill Ground, Tunbridge Wells (as TWRFC!!) before moving to Tonbridge for season 1907/08 (as most members lived in Tonbridge and the rail service to T. Wells was so poor!).

TRFC was initially based at The Bull Hotel, with "more suitable dressing accommodation" supplied by the Boating Club from 1912/13.  At the outbreak of WW1 in 1914 rugby in the town was suspended until October 1919 - when it was unanimously decided at an EGM that the club should be carried on.

The Avebury Avenue plot was acquired in 1923 for £200 and the TRFC clubhouse was formally opened on October 25th 1924, at a final cost of £3774 12s - considerably less than the cost of the alterations planned at the current clubhouse !

OJRFC played rugby "off a park bench" (socialising in a variety of local hostelries) before finally securing changing facilities in December 1962 at Goggs Pavillion, and their clubhouse at The Slade in  March 1974.

The first match between the two town clubs was in season 1928/29, when TRFC B XV played the new OJs XV, the two clubs playing "over the hedge" from each other for the next 70 years.

 

 

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