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EOS Awards Night - More Silverware

5th May 2017

The Senior Players and coaches brought the curtain down on their season with an Awards Night at the Clubhouse 

Excellent turnout from the 1s to 4s for the Men and the Ladies squads as well - plenty of cheer and beer 

Presidents Cup - Adrian Crouch

Founders Salver - Barry Walsh

1st XV Men Player of the Year - Jon McMahon

1st XV Men Coaches Cup - Cole Campbell

1st XV Ladies Players' Player - Rachel Laqeretabua

1st XV Ladies Most Improved Player - Lily Godley-Miller

1st XV Ladies Breakthru Player - Alex Hopwood

1st XV Ladies Young Player - Eirlys Withers

1st XV Ladies Coaches Player - Kate Cormack

2nd XV Men Players' Player - Carl Straeche

2nd XV Men Coaches Player - Tommy Morris

3rd XV Plater of the Season  Mark Grimshaw

4th XV Player of the Season - Harvey Mountney

Trojan of the Year - Stuart Clark

Top Try Scorer Men - Murray Galbraith-Lowe (23)

Top Try Scorer Ladies - Natasha Bradshaw (24)

Full (edited) script from the Night

Interesting to note that in 2015 we themed this dinner around the election, the assumption being there wouldn’t be another one for 5 years. Clearly you can’t trust a politician – can we trust what is being said tonight?
I have read the reports from team principle and in general I would say they are honest and factual, if a little immodest at times.
This has without a doubt been our most successful club as a whole. We have in previous years had excellent individual team results, but I don’t think we have every had 4 senior teams win their respective leagues.
The mens 3rd XV won Kent Premier 2
The mens 2nd XV won Zoo division 3 south
The womens 1st XV finished runners up in National 2 SE
The mens 1st XV won National 3 L&SE
We are the current holders of the mens and womens Kent cups!!!
So the awards -
4th XV – Barry Walsh
What can I say it’s been a hard one this season. Going up to a new league and facing 1st and 2nd teams.
Struggling for players each week, but the players we had have always played with heart and passion. Resulting in some very close games
I would like to thank all the players that have played for the 4th team this season. From the 2s and the 3s.
And a big thank you to the 17s and 18s that have stepped up to the plate this season.
They have played above and beyond. Thanks Karl Robertson for standing in when I fancied a day off (unable to get there).
Played 20 W6 L14 For 376 Against 539 average loss of 11.5 points per game, did not reflect how close most of the games were.
We finished 9th and we are happy with that and look forward to building a stronger team for next season.

4th XV Players Player – voted by the players – one of a batch of young players stepping up, one of three who made notable contributions, Josh Mudge with some great goal kicking and distribution from 9 or 10 and Ed Simpson who finished with the third highest tries per game ratio in the senior men’s section club. Also Bryn Owen-Conwey who scrummaged superbly, but the winner of the player of the year was a young lad who was fearless over the ball and worked tirelessly often against much larger opposition with sometimes decades more experience. This didn’t phase him, he just continued to do his job well, he is Harvey Mountney

3rd XV – Karl Lincoln

Premier 2 is a league mainly for 2nds and a small number of the counties stronger third teams, with Clubs such as Thanet, Dover and Canterbury represented it was always going to be a difficult league and so it proved. The standard was considerably higher than was the case the year before but it was credit to the players that the team never failed to turn out even towards the end of the season when forfeits become a sport unto themselves.

After a solid start to the season of five wins on the trot it always looked like the 3rds were in contention for a top four finish and coming into Christmas this was proving to be the case with the top four teams only separated by 3 points and this was going to continue till the end of the season. It came down to the last two games of the season with Thanet and the 3rds chasing the title, which was finally secured after a final victory at Folkestone sealing the title ahead of Thanet 2s in second.

Special thanks to Steve and Simmo for getting our gear set every week, the kitchen for feeding us after each home match and Roger and his help with selection at times

Played 20 17wins 714 for 318 against 396 difference - Average score 36 – 16
74 Players taking the field

3rds Player of the season - Returned to the club after finishing university, played No. 8 Always on the front foot making regular line breaks passing through seemly untouched. Popular with the players always leading from the front, also a key line out jumper winning his own ball and more than a fair percentage of the oppositions. 14games (3rds) 5 tries Mark Grimshaw

Trojan of the year - The winner was called up to the 3rds at the beginning of the season as temporary cover that was not so temporary. A season of dancing through opposition defences or tackling like a cannonball. Relived his youth making 60-meter line breaks at pace. Honourable mentions to Mark Scannell, Ben Zaug and Dave Curtis but the award goes to 3rd XV regular this season, Stuart Clark

Womens Rugby – Bill Little

After three promotions in four years, TJs Pink Ladies expected National League 2 SE, to be a tough experience. Establish ourselves at this level was the sole purpose at the start of the season. Level 3 rugby and a big step up. We prepared well and to be fair we performed better than expected, but that is because ultimately we have a group of good players.

Pre-season was super, lots of new girls, but we still lost some as well as some decided rugby was not for them. It soon became apparent that we would struggle to get a 2nd team out. The RFU placed our 2nd team in the SW division, pairing us with Havant, Southampton, Portsmouth etc. The travel was too much, we cannot expect 2nd team and development players to take on that much journey time. It was decided to withdraw and play friendlies. We managed to arrange 5 such games, winning 3 and losing 2. A big thank you to Max(ine) Collins for her time and effort.
The development side needs to be re-built and re-energised, that is being taken care of ahead of next season. The squad will play in a newly formed Merit Table League next season, against more local sides and will have the flexibility to play on a less structured basis.

We have already had many calls from girls both new to rugby, curious to rugby or wanting to try rugby. A new development structure will help these girls and with regular training and games, they will hopefully push to play for the 1st XV. We have already established relations with Heathfield, Cranbrook and Tunbridge Wells, where we will lend and borrow girls to ensure all games are played. We are looking to build relationships with other local Junior and Senior Clubs. This will benefit not only local and Kent rugby but also TJ Pink Ladies in the future.

Training can be difficult as we have a few girls in the Police working shifts and we also have many living too far away to make every session. Those who work in London cannot get back in time. We are still very much a social rugby side but when do get together on a Sunday can play really well. We must look to see how we can make that work better.

The 1st XV played 21 games in total, winning 16 and losing 5. In the league we played 16, winning 12 and losing 4,

A 12-0 loss to Blackheath being our biggest disappointment and ultimately crucial in their wining the league. The other three losses were by a single score – small margins. It was that close and we gave everyone a game. With a bigger squad, we just may have turned those games around.
Stand out results included home wins vs Blackheath 57-19, Old Albanians 12-10 and Beckenham away 24-20. The result against Blackheath being the highlight result of this season but The Club won this season’s league, with TJs Pink Ladies finishing runners up.

Finishing second in this league was an immense achievement. I congratulate all that played and gave us 100% each and every week. We needed a larger squad and on reflection, the decision to withdraw our 2nd team, was a good one, as many of the girls stepped up and put on a 1st team jersey. A big ask, but not one girl said no. We can only thank all the girls for that.

We scored 537 points in the league conceding 250. Av average 33 points for and 15 against. A total of 91 tries were scored in the season, with over 20 girls contributing.

One of your girls topped the try score count and she will be named later, but others chipped in: Rachel Laqeretabua with 15 and Heike with 12. Conversion rate by Chauntel Blackwell not too shabby either with a 60% average

After finishing runners up, we have been asked to express an interest in taking promotion into National 1. That would then be the highest domestic league that we could play in, the Premiership being the next step. Our view is that we are not ready for Level 2 and National 1 rugby. The travel, commitment and expense would be too much. However discussions are still ongoing.

A 2 year plan is now in place to take on National 1 but I am unsure as to whether this would be too much too soon. One more season in National 2 may be our better option. We are already being contacted by players wanting to join us and test themselves at this level.

A huge season. We had girls playing representative rugby this season:

Selected for Kent: Tasha Bradshaw, Steph Rukin, Rachel Laqeretabua
Selected for England (Deaf) Squad: Lindsay Taylor
Selected for the British Police: Rachel Marsh, Ame Roberts, Carly Walker.
Well done girls.

This seasons awards.
Players Player of the season
The girls have voted for their player of the season and that goes to a girl that has only been playing for two seasons. She is still only 19 years old and so much potential. She still has no idea how good she will be. Fearless in the tackle and impossible to stop when she finds space. Pace and strength are just two of her attributes. She also has a natural instinct and is learning so much game by game.

This season’s award for Players Player goes to: Rachel Laqeretabua
Now, unfortunately, she is not hear. Cannot believe I am going to say this, but she is currently in Australia, where she is playing rugby. Bill will collect her award and we will contact her and let her know.

Most Improved 1st team player

Again voted for by the girls. Only started playing last season. Has made an impact both on and off the pitch. Another that has no idea how good she could be. If this young lady dedicates herself, there is no limit to how far she could go in the ladies game. She is so strong. Her scrummage technique improving game by game. Her tackle count getting higher and better. She now looks for the ball and wants to take on the physical battle. We want to see that improvement continue next season.

This season’s award for Most improves 1st XV player goes to Lilly Godley Miller.
Breakthrough Player into 1st XV
Another voted for by the girls themselves and this award will go the girl that has taken her opportunity and has made an impact in the 1st XV. Only joined us this season. She has pace to burn and tackles hard. We have seen a notable improvement this season. She is easy to work with and trains hard.
This award goes to Ali Hopwood.

Young Player of the Season: The Palm.
This young lady who is only 18, joined us this season and has taken her opportunities when asked to play for the 1st team. Made an immediate impact in her first game, looking for work and knocking over more experienced girls. I can still see that 1st hit on an opposition player. Fun to work with and one to watch for the future. We will miss her for a few years, as she is about to go to Uni.

Our Young Player of The Season and winner of The Palm goes to Eirlys Withers

Most tries of the season - Joining us last season from Ashford after watching her play for Kent. She is quick! Always finding space. Scoring 24 tries this year, amazing stuff at this level. She has hardly missed a training session traveling from Ashford every week. I thank her for all she has done for us this season.

She will give Premiership Rugby a go next season, which I am sure will go well. Can I just wish her well with that, but say she is welcome back to TJs at any time.

Most tries: Tasha Bradshaw

Coaches Player of the season

Joe, Ryan, John and I now get to award one of our girls, to say thank you for all she has done, both on and off the pitch and at training. She is a polite and personable young girl. Just plays whenever asked and looks a natural 1st team player. She trains every week, even when running late at work, manages to still making it. On the pitch, she gives no less than 100% each and every time and her tackling, ball carrying and rugby skills have improved so much over the season. We can only say thank you for her commitment week in and week out.

Coaches award goes to Kate Cormack

So another season over. So much to look forward to next season. A plan for National 1 rugby now being set in place. We know we can play at this level and beyond. The future of TJs Pink Ladies rugby is in a good place. We now have fully committed girls and coaches.

And we are still holders of the Ladies Kent Cup!!!

Mens 2nd XV
The season started with a great promise and some very good preseason friendlies. The highlight of the preseason was an extremely enjoyable trip to Crema Italy where we were invited as part of Crema’s celebration as European City of sport.

With a bare 15 players we treated our Italian hosts to a great display of hard running rugby to eventually run out 7-54 winners. The hospitality was still as good after the game although their President couldn’t believe a 2nd team could play rugby at that level.

We then started the league season with five great wins against Dorking, Blackheath, Sutton and Epsom, Chichester and Guildford. We probably started too well as teams started pulling out against us, and the structure in the league meant sometimes going 3 weeks between games.

lthough this benefited the 3rds and 4ths it didn’t keep the momentum going in the 2nd teams, we lost a couple of quality players, and availability became poor which was fully understandable give the nature of the season. We lost two games against sides we have previously beaten by 40 points, and snuck wins against teams we should have put to the sword.

That said we still ended top on the Zoo South 3rd league and went into the playoffs with great hope. Probably the best example of what we had to deal with was our quarter final opponents CS Rugby forfeiting the game to us. (Another week without a game)

Without doubt the biggest disappointment of our season was against Rosslyn Park Hatters (the eventual winners) in the semi-final. Probably the less said the better, but even with some very poor refereeing errors, poor availability and execution on the field we were still up and in control of the game with less than a minute to go and managed to give it away. I am sure something we will all learn from in the future!!

The stats on the face of it are very good.

We played 17 won 14 and lost three. We scored 651 points and had only 264 scored against us.
The disappointing part was of the 17 games only 12 were league games.

There is no doubt this is an extremely talented 2nd XV, and I am sure this will be demonstrated with a great season next season.

I would like to thank on behalf of myself and the players Howard Mudge for all the quality coaching and advice he offered this season, there is no doubt everyone benefited from him this season.

James Sparky Sparks our physio who did a remarkable job patching everyone up and keeping them playing through the season. Great effort thank you.

I would also like to thank Greg Langridge, our captain, who was a great support during the season in leading and managing the team with the senior players.

Other thanks to Steve Farr with all the his assistance during the season, James Farmer in organising the refs and obviously Mike and Janet and the clubhouse staff for everything you provide.

Awards Winners

Players Player
This was a close run thing which is to be expected with the quality of player and comradery of the team. Tommy Morris and Harry Isaacs were extremely close to the award, but the players decided this award should go to someone who made his comeback to rugby last season, someone who attended just about every training sessions and has continuously improved throughout the season.

A true team man Carl Straeche

Coaches Player - This goes to a player I have been involved with during all my time coaching at Tjs he started in the 3rds way back when, and has earned himself a number of first team caps. He is always positive and gives 100% at training. Someone always at the centre of the after match celebrations or otherwise!!

His all round play is the best I have seen from him this season. A very underrated lineout forward and great team Man.

Tommy Morris

1st Team season review

Rewind twelve months and the playoff loss felt by everyone, plagued not only the payers but the supporters too. Even Mike had lost his normal happy go lucky and always optimistic self over the summer. Some players moved on but the core of the group were determined to put things right this season. Sully signed on as Captain for another season and we got underway early in July.

Warm up games showed real promise and the first game against Southend ended in a victory 45-0 The second week was derby week and a fixture against Westcmbe Park was thrown into chaos with the entire backline from the week before watching training and ruled out for the week. This resulted in a loss 17-7, as it turned out the only one we experienced all season – good to get it out of the way early this time!

Wimbledon away showed our credentials for the league and this also marked the arrival of Bish. Despite crashing his car numerous times he managed to fit right in. That 25-12 win was for some unexpected but our quality shone through alongside that steely determination to win, and win smart.

Our worst performance of all was saved for the noisy neighbour’s in the Kent Cup when we had to come from 19 nil adrift to win 20-19 at their place. Enough said

Big scores against Colchester 46-16,W Chichester 44-19 W and Guernsey 47-14 W had us firing on all cylinders. Shelford and Dorking were workman like wins but had Daws having kittens as the defence started to leak late scores. I think this is where the 2 jug rule for no tries was put in place.

A 25 -11 win against Sutton & Epsom set us up for two monumental games against Hertford away which we won 17-3 despite having to play with 14 players for 30 mins and camped on our own line for long stretches

The Christmas game at Combe was an absolute ripper. 25-22 winners in overtime after being shunted, belted, scragged and also abused from the touchline, won the game the plaudits of those involved. I believe we never looked back from this point on as a team and the belief that we would win this league was toasted by all.

Bonus point wins followed but then the game that was billed as the league decider arrived. Wimbledon at home and both teams were up for the battle but the class of our players and their determination to win got us there, just, 19-17. Could we keep building from here?

History repeated itselfwith wins over Colchester, Chichester and Guernsey. Shelford looked surprised to get beaten again the first Hawaii 50 in the league was on the board 50-19 win at their place was their biggest loss for many years.

Dorking had improved their banter but the rugby was still poor and they were beaten 28-7 and that flattered them. Minds were turning to a league win at home the following week against Hertford and a slip was narrowly avoided at Sutton & Epsom with a 23-29 result, which meant they stayed up.

Then could we? Would we? Champagne was warmed brownie points cashed in for a possible late night. A big crowd gathered could the season past be laid to rest? You better believe it can. Sully and the boys turned on the style giving Hertford a hammering 46-5 W.

Only a flag gate a -5 deduction for scrum issues or an abuse of match official in the last week meant we were the champions of N3L&SE. They had already given us the trophy so they were not going to get it back.

The last game was always going to be difficult but a good performance saw the team win 41-29 at Southend. The celebrations and Hawaiian shirts added to the colour of the day. The relief and joy were there in equal amounts as beers were sunk, stories were told and a collective breath that had been held for weeks was released.

One more game to be played and another trophy was up for grabs so we dusted ourselves down to try our luck against the very best from the league below. Sidcup had lost just the once all year and that was after they had won their own title. We need not have worried as they were shown what they can expect every week next year. The final score 62-3 to us and the Kent Cup was won, broken, drunk from, toured the pubs and night clubs, lost then found then repaired and placed behind the bar to go with the league plaque that Mike had mounted on the wall in record time.
So a double winning season

Kent Cup played 3 won three result Champions

N3L&SE played 26 won 25 result Champions

Points for 887 Average per game 34

Points against 352 Average per game 14

Players used 38

Most appearances cup and league: Cole Campbell 27

Top try scorer Murray Galbraith-Lowe 23
The only players that failed to score all year according to Steve are Jack Whitmarsh and Toby Martin,

Thanks James Copsey for finishing off your playing days with us and best of luck back in Jersey.
I’m hoping the rest of you will be on board for a crack at Nat 2

Toby would you please be up standing as we toast you as a club and acknowledge your time here at TJs. You have been a player that many of us have looked up to for many years. You have performed through pain and sacrifice. You passed on your knowledge to our junior teams. You made friends across the teams and with every supporter. Your dress sense has been copied by many a homeless person up and down the High street and Hawaiian shirts will be on sale in the shop from next season. If the mould for a player from abroad could be made for clubs it would have your name and shape on it. We salute you

Now to thank a few more people. - Sully and JMac thank you for all of you leadership qualities throughout the year. Thank you Steve for all you do and put up with. You are a much loved member of the team. To Rodger and Howard thanks for your hard work and leadership of the second team.

Daws, Gareth, Nick and Bish, Thank you for your enthusiasm and determination to help the boys get better each week.

Lastly to Mike and Janet for everything they do every week, many thanks.

Enjoy the off season and see you on the 4th of July

Many thanks

1st XV player of the year - Jon MacMahon
Coaches cup – Cole Campbell

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