Peter Gavin previews Tonbridge Juddians v Worthing Raiders


Tonbridge Juddians RFC v Worthing Raiders

30th March 2019

Kick off 3pm

Raiders make the relatively short trip to Kent to pay their second visit to ‘The Slade’ for a National 2(S) fixture. Last December TJs visited Roundstone Lane, matters finished even 18 a-piece.

History & Background stuff


The club was founded in 1904, with the first fixture being played at the Neville ground, Tunbridge Wells (as TWRFC). The club moved to Tonbridge in 1907 as most of the players came from that direction and railway connections were more efficient! The Bull Hotel was used for post match discussions and the ‘Boating Club’ for changing. The club purchased the Avebury facility in 1923.


The club was founded in 1928, with a fixture between the clubs taking place that season. The OJs changed at Judd School and used various park or school pitches for playing and a variety of local hostelries for post match activities. They settled at ‘The Slade’ in 1974, just over the hedge from TRFC.

Tonbridge Juddians RFC

The merged club was formed in 1999, utilizing the facilities at ‘The Slade’ with the Avebury ground being sold for development.

The club is flourishing with 3 senior teams playing most weekends.

Youth, mini and girls rugby taking over on Sundays.

The ladies team TJ Pinks play in South East East1.

Club colours: Red, white & blue shirts and stockings, blue shorts

League history

The introduction of the National Leagues in 1987/88 saw OJs placed in London Two (South), – a position the merged Tonbridge Juddians club occupied when the new entity started rugby in season 1999/2000. After some testing years TJs slipped into London 4 South East (level8). Season 2008/09 saw a renaissance with promotion in three consecutive seasons. It would have been four had they not lost to Chinnor 19-8 in the 2012 play-off. They had another chance in 2016 to get into level 4 but lost the play-off, with home advantage, to Barnstaple 30-31. Promotion as ‘Champs’ was achieved in 2017 when they went virtually unbeaten.

Last season… P30/ W17/ D1…6th….86 points…. (Raiders….7th 81 points)  

Finishing 6th in their first season in this tough league is good going as promoted sides often struggle. They started with a great result at Bury St Edmunds (17-50) but lost the next fixture to local rivals Canterbury (24-36). Winless for six fixtures through ‘October-time’ maybe got warning bells ringing, but a better run and then a strong finish to the season saw them climb up the league. They did the double over Taunton Titans winning at The Slade, (26-20), but the 10 try win in Taunton (26-66) confounded all predictors! Impressively, 16 members of the squad featured in 20 or more of the fixtures, with hooker Mike O’Sullivan, prop Jack Whitmarsh, scrum half Charlie Edwards and centre Duncan Tout making 28 appearances a-piece. Top-try scorer was winger Hugo Watson with 17.

History against Worthing

Both Tonbridge and Old Juddians played against us in days of yore at Castle Road, but neither of the clubs really featured on our ‘regulars’ fixture list. Season 2001-2 found the clubs in the same league at level 7. Worthing had a successful season that year gaining promotion, losing only 2 matches, one of these reversals (on 20/10/01) was to TJs at Roundstone Lane (14-20). The return fixture was postponed until the end of April, but in the event did not happen as Worthing had wrapped up the league by then.

National League results and league placings:

2017-18: Raiders 23 TJs 19/ TJs 25 Raiders 21 TJs 6th Raiders 7th

2018-19: Raiders 18 TJs 18

1st December 2018 Raiders 18 TJs 18   McLean holds his nerve with successful late penalty

An entertaining encounter with Matt McLean converting a penalty in the 78th minute to grab a share of the spoils for the home side. (HT: 15-11)

 Raiders: Forrest H, Maslen, Richards, Sims, Barnes, McLean, Holt, Birch, Luke, Adams, Dingle, Lee, Lake, Whittall, Cuffe.

Bench: Gibson, Gatford, Grief, Walsh, Basson.

Scorers: T: Maslen (15 min), Holt (37 min) P: McLean x2 (19 min &78 min) C: McLean (37 min)

TJs: May, Watson, Tout, McMahon, Galbraith-Lowe, Robinson, Chapman, Whitmarsh, Jackson, O’Sullivan, Varney, Irvine, Ashmore, Sullivan, Colderick.

Bench: Ward, Buckingham, Hayes, Coxon-Smith, Nicoll.

This season so far….P26/ W21/ D1…3rd…100 points… (Raiders 12th 51 points)

A great season. Since the draw against Raiders in early December TJs have only lost one match….against LIWG (44-31) on 5th January. Considering that they have had wins against Rams (25-19) and Henley Hawks (23-14) the reversal against Irish is mystifying. In recent weeks they have beaten Old Reds (24-40), Dings (26-0) and last week Titans (10-22), all 5 pointers. They are hot on the heels of Canterbury who presently occupy the play-off spot with 107 points. After the Raiders’ fixture TJs visit Redruth, then a home match against Clifton, with the final game away at Birmingham & Solihull. All to play for to make the play-off!

The squad

A list of players used in the recent fixture against Titans is provided, along with a little more detail as to their credentials. They have been fortunate to be able to select from a stable squad with all the players listed being known to us from previous encounters apart from lock forward Matus Jurevicius. Experienced fly-half Will Robinson has started in all 26 matches and is the league top points scorer with 280. (Although Matt McLean has him in his sights with 262, according to Statbunker). Regulars will recall Will from that memorable match on 4th May 2013 when he helped guide Henley Hawks to automatic promotion after their win against Raiders.

Open-side loose forward, Truman Sullivan and hooker Ryan Jackson have started in all the fixtures with skipper Mike O’Sullivan being involved in all 26 as well. Murray Galbraith-Lowe (wing or full-back) leads the try scorers with 14.

Another tough fixture awaits the Raiders who need your touchline encouragement. Please try to get along to Tonbridge to help the boys along!!!

……..C’Mon Raiders

Name/Age    *played v Raiders          1st December 2018    Apps 2018-9 N2 Apps Join Points Honours Position / Previous Club/s & Appearances                                     *played v Raiders
Team v Titans 23/3                                         WON 10-22
Toby May* (30) 21 21 2018 4T English Students (Dev) Full Back: Pirates 64, Westcombe Park*14 Bath & Cambridge University (Blue 2014 &15)
Hugo Watson* (26) 18/3R 46 2014 10T   Wing: Mill Hill
Duncan Tout* (25) 23/1R 52 2017 8T Cornwall Centre: Bude, Rossendale, La Vila (Spain)
Tom Nicoll* (24) 7/11R 39 2015 3T   Centre: Crowborough
Murray        Galbraith-Lowe* (26) 21 32 2015 14T Scotland U18    England Students Wing: Durham University
Will Robinson* (26) 26 26 2018 8T/66C /36P   Fly Half: Wasps, Hull 47, Rosslyn Park 22, Henley Hawks*12, London Welsh 39, Rotherham 14, Old Elthamians 12
Charlie Edwards (28) 22/1R 51 2017 10T Kent Scrum Half: Newbury, Westcombe Park*33, Old Elthamians*56
Jack Whitmarsh*(31) 12/10R 52 2016   LH Prop: East Grinstead, Uckfield
Ryan Jackson* (29) 26 51 2017 4T   Hooker: Manchester 4, Sedgley Park1, Stockport 11, Macclesfield 20.
Mike O’Sullivan* © (30) 23/3R 55 2013 3T   TH Prop: University College Dublin
Matus Jurevicius (18) 12/3R 15 2018 3T England Counties u18 Kent U20 Lock: Saracens Academy, London Scottish Academy
Dave Irvine* (32) 24 51 2016   Lock: Gravesend
Ben Ashmore* (26) 22/2R 42 2016 1T   BS Wing Forward: Wasps Academy, East Grinstead, Henley*21
Truman Sullivan* (29) 26 26 2018 1T   OS Wing Forward: Bath University, Blackheath 38, Old Elthamians*82
Will Colderick* (24) 22 43 2016 5T   No8: Loughborough University
Jimmy Stanford (32) 8/10R 20 2018 1T   Prop: Bishop’s Stortford* 16, Canterbury* 49, Blackheath 13
Max Hayes* (23) 7/10R 17 2018   Prop: Durham University
Ed Varney* (22) 8/9R 34 2017   Lock/Back row: Durham University
Finlay Coxon-Smith* (28) 11/9R 44 2017 10T   Wing: Havant 16, Newbury 22, Worthing Raiders 116
Tom Chapman* (25) 11/12R 23 2018 5T England U18 Scrum Half: Blackheath 18, Nottingham, London Welsh, Saracens, Bath, Worcester
Played Recently Last Played  
Rob White (27) 11/7R 18 2018 3T Kent      9th March Utility Back: Old Elthamians*18