Peter Gavin previews Tonbridge Juddians v Worthing Raiders

Match 23

Tonbridge Juddians RFC v Worthing Raiders

17th February 2018 k/o 2.30pm

Raiders make the relatively short journey to ‘The Slade’ in Tonbridge (TH9 1HR)   to pay their first visit to play TJs’ in a National League 2S fixture. The Kent side visited Roundstone Lane in October; Raiders won a tight encounter 23-19.

History & Background stuff

Tonbridge RFC

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.

Old Juddians RFC

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 4 senior teams playing most weekends. Youth, mini and girls rugby taking over on Sundays. The ladies team TJ Pinks play in South East 2. Last season the U17s won the National trophy, a feat achieved by Worthing in 2016.

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 with home advantage to Barnstaple 30-31. Promotion as champions was achieved last season.

Last season… Promotion P26/L1….Points For 887   Points Against 352

As mentioned above TJs finished top of the tree and had the league wrapped up before the final fixture. Their one reversal came in the 2nd match of the season on home turf to local rivals Westcombe Park 7-17. The rest of the season was Wins all the way!

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 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.

 28th October 2018 Worthing Raiders 23 Tonbridge Juddians 19

TJs arrived for their first visit to Roundstone Lane since 2001 (when they won 14-20) sitting in 11th position in the league with 16 points, Raiders were in 12th on 15 points. On this basis a tight match was being predicted and so it proved! (TJs report described matters: ‘Raiders sneak it in a tight affair’). The visitors opened brightly and barely 3 minutes were on the clock before lock forward Luke Bellinger crossed with Nathan Holmes adding the extras. Raiders were not behind for long as winger Sam Boyland sprinted clear to score in the 9th minute, Matt McLean converted to tie the scores at 7-7. Raiders were ahead by the 21st minute when lively scrum half Matt Walsh touched down with Matt once again converting.  He added a penalty just before the break to take the teams into oranges 17-7. The visitors then started to take the ascendancy with Hugo Watson (43m) and Will Colderick (57m) pulling back scores, Holmes converting the 2nd try to nudge TJs into the lead 17-19. Tense, with 20+ minutes to play! The match seesawed with both teams having scoring opportunities, but in the end the trusty boot of Matt McLean settled matters for the home side with penalties in the 77th and 80th minute. The Worthing contingent in the good crowd of 582 went home content if a little shell-shocked.

Raiders: McIlwaine, Boyland, Richards, Forrest, Hampson, McLean, Walsh, Ajayi, Grief, Sargent, Spurgeon, Lake, Price, Dawe, Perkins.

Bench: Luke, Litterick, Redmayne, Whittall, Leeming.

TJs: Galbraith-Lowe, Coxon-Smith, Tout, McMahon, Watson, Holmes, Edwards, Whitmarsh, O’Sullivan, Conlon, Bellinger, Irvine, Langridge, Grasby, Colderick.

Bench: Redman, Nicoll, Varney, Jackson, Bailey.

This season so far….P22/ W11/ D1/ L10 Points Diff +19…9th 56 points. (Raiders 8th on 57 points)

TJs should be pleased with their efforts in their first season at this level. Historically most newly promoted clubs struggle in this very competitive league with more fixtures and a considerably greater travel commitment. They got off to great start with a fantastic win in the first fixture in Suffolk against Bury St Edmunds (17-50). After the first round of fixtures their record was W7 L8, 37points 10th spot. A win against Taunton (26-20) and defeat at difficult to visit Barnstaple (22-3) stand out. A strong unbeaten run (5 matches) saw TJs climb the table and they were very happy to come away with a 12-12 result at Rams. They almost clipped the wings of high flying Chinnor but eventually succumbed 13-14. Last week they visited league leaders Cinderford, who once again managed 4 tries in their 26-0 win.

 The squad

A list of players used in recent fixtures is provided, along with a little more detail as to their credentials. The format of the listing has changed slightly, with the squad used in the last fixture at Cinderford specified. In the three-quarters centre Duncan Tout and half back Charlie Edwards have both made 21 starts. In the forwards front row specialist Mike O’Sullivan (acting Captain in the absence of Jon McMahon) has been involved in 22 fixtures, with loose head Jack Whitmarsh involved in 20.  Winger Hugo Watson leads the way with 10 tries. Kicking duties have been shared between Nathan Holmes and Liam Prescott.


Once again this has the makings of a cracking match and is also a new venue for the faithful to visit. Please try to get along to Tonbridge to provide continued great support for the boys from the touch line.  Your presence is much appreciated.

……..C’Mon Raiders

Name             *Played v Raiders 28th October    Apps 2017-8 Join Points Honours Position / Previous Club/s & Appearances *played v Raiders
Finlay Coxon-Smith* 14/1R 2017 5T   Full Back/Wing: Havant 16, Newbury 22, Raiders 116
Hugo Watson* 14/3R 2016 10T   Wing: Mill Hill, York University
Ryan Redman* 5/4R 2016 England Counties U20 Kent Wing: Medway, Loughborough Bucs
Samiuela Atiola 2/2R 2018 1T   Centre/Wing: Leeds Beckett, Beverley, Rossendale
Nathan Holmes* 14/6R 2017 16C/7P Durham Centre/Fly Half/Full Back: Durham University
Charlie Edward* 21 2016 3T Kent Fly Half/Scrum Half: Newbury, Westcombe Park*33, Old Elthamians*56
Jack Mutch 1/3R 2017   Scrum Half/Fly Half: TJ Youth, University of Leicester
Jack Whitmarsh* 15/5R 2016   LH Prop: East Grinstead, Uckfield
Ryan Jackson* 15/2R 2017 1T   Hooker: Manchester 4, Sedgley Park1, Stockport 11, Macclesfield 20.
Mike O’Sullivan* (c) 21/1R 2016 4T   TH Prop/Hooker:
Dave Irvine* 19 2016 1T   Lock: Gravesend
Rory McHugh 8/6R 2017 2T   Lock/Wing Forward: TJ Academy
Ed Varney * 10 2017 1T   BS Wing Forward/Lock: Durham University
Richie Bent 17 2016 2T   OS Wing Forward: University College Dublin
Ben Ashmore 10/1R 2016 2T   No8: East Grinstead, Henley*16
Bench v Cinderford          
Matt Betty 2/3R 2017 Surrey, Gloucestershire Full Back: East Grinstead, Dorking*27, Old Elthamians
Reece Conlon* 15/4R 2017 1T Kent TH Prop: Blackheath 6, Westcombe Park 15
Ryan Bradnam 0/14R 2016   Prop: TJ Academy
Will Colderick* 10/4R 2016 3T   No8/L/BS Wing Forward: Loughborough University
Blair Nangle 4/1R 2017 Ireland Schools No8/BS Wing Forward: Belfast Academy, York University
Played Recently          
Murray Galbraith-Lowe* (2/12) 11 2016 8T Scotland U18    England Students Full Back: Durham University
Will Ward (6/1) 3/3R 2016 2T   Full Back/Scrum Half/Wing:
George Lawson (20/1) 10/3R 2016 5T   Wing: Saracens Academy, Bristol University
Duncan Tout* (3/2) 21 2017 7T Cornwall Centre: Bude, Rossendale, La Vila (Spain)
Tom Nicoll* (3/2) 10 2016 1T   Centre:
Jon McMahon*c (9/12) 14 2016 4T Kent C: Rotherham Titans 10
Liam Prescott (3/2) 13/3R 2016 25C/14P   FH:LIWG 7, East Grinstead
Alexander Reid (6/1) 1/5R 2016 2T Yorkshire U20 Prop:  TJ Academy, Leeds University
Bobby Bratton (3/2) 0/3R 2017   Hooker/Prop: TJ Academy
Luke Bellinger* (6/1) 14/1R 2017 2T Kent Lock/BS Wing Forward: Westcombe Park 7, Dings8, Clifton*8
Greg Langridge* (27/1) 6/5R 2016   BS Wing Forward:
James Grasby * (6/1) 4 2017   OS Wing Forward: Leeds University, TJ Academy