Wed 26 June 26 2019AGM 2019 (19:30) View more

Words from Ex Chairman, JD


A tremendous crowd was there to see the Thamesians secure promotion at Marble Hill on Saturday (and the 2’s on the adjacent pitch secure a place in their final).  Among those watching were a sizeable number of vets. The reaction was summarised by the email below that I received the next morning (along with the celebrations: see video at base of article) –

‘The rugby was brilliant, the players were a credit to the club, the result was a reward for the hard work over the season and the club house was buzzing (helped by your chilli)
I am sure my sentiments are echoed by all of us on the touchline. I look forward to more games next season.‘ 

For the chilli I must thank the efforts of Lewis Turner the first team prop ably assisted by Lance Davis (club captain) whilst I sat and watched and drank copious volumes of Naked Lady (a type of ale for those who do not know).

From the vets point of view we look forward to making this a more regular event in the next division up! A massive thanks to the coaching team headed up by Billy, to the players lead by captains Deano and Mike for the hard work put in, and to Rory for all the foundation stones that he has laid over the last four years. As a result it has been a real buzz for those of us who have watched the teams this season.

Thamesians Vets

Robert Osborne, Bart Redmond, Keith Wagner. Phil Fitzsimmons, Wayne Nicholls, Mick Kitson, Steve Newman, Bob Mordell, Gordon Tucker, Andy Osborne, Terry Griffiths, Jimmy Brickell (kneeling), Geoff Harrison, Alan Mitchell, Jonathan Dunn, Pete Sturt, Greg Nelson, Brent Boyce, Dick Comber, Karen Comber, Robin Chandler, John Sheehan


Everyone has noticed that the pavilion has been deteriorating over the years. To address this the 3 organisations using the Pavilion have formed a pavilion committee. Most of you will know all about the cricket club but Together as One is a charity run entirely by clients and volunteers providing support for anyone experiencing loneliness or social isolation, particularly as a result of mental health issues. They use the pavilion as a drop in centre during the week. Have a look at their website to get an idea of the tremendous work that they are doing.

The Thamesians representative is me (JD), Tony Bendelow represents TCC and will chair the committee, and Carol Ajegbo represents TAO. The three of us have already had some marked success having met with the Head of Facilities Management for Richmond and Wansworth. Immediate repairs are now being put in hand including

  • emergency repairs to the steps and veranda,
  • additional emergency lighting,
  • drainage replacement to bring to an end the various blockages
  • roof repairs including addressing the deteriorating flat roofs, the missing tiles and flashings,
  • reducing the ground to the rear of the pavilion which bridge the damp proof course,
  • replacing damaged and missing downpipes and gutters
  • providing a grease trap to the kitchen

A massive thanks is due to both Tony and Carol for volunteering to help with this and everything they are doing behind the scenes’

There are some bigger ticket items required to the exterior (cladding, damp injection, decoration, etc.) for which a Village Grant has been awarded to TCC so hopefully the building will start to look a lot better in the months ahead.

The inside needs to be funded by the three stakeholders so Tony, Carol and I will hopefully be working through a list of priorities and making improvements here as well. By all means email me if you have any positive suggestions.


As I wrote this contribution I reflected on the time well before Thamesians had a website and I used to type out some basic news on A4 sheets and then bung them in to 200 envelopes and post out to everyone. Times have changed! For most of you when you stand at the left hand side of the bar I suggest you glance at the photo on the wall of Dusty who is sadly no longer with us, and raise a toast to him. Dusty was first team captain and through his efforts we remained a playing entity in the late 1990’s - with some significant help back of house from Buzz. Buzz is still very much alive so you can just buy him a pint of Pride.

Fortunately some reprobates followed me from Staines (Rob Cherry, Gavin Ireland, Paul Turner, JJ and Inchy) and we started to get 15 out again. By 2002 I had realised that due to the success of the recruitment I would need to form a second team to avoid early retirement. A number of the guys below the posts in the photo above put their boots on again so that we could make the quantum leap to two teams. The players started to train again (I seem to remember the initial coaches I got hold of were Robin Innis and then Matt Childs later followed by Nigel and Spongey); tours were reinstated as part of the calendar, Grant Kunneke negotiated with the council so that the Whitton Fields playing surface was laid as suitable for rugby training; and the foundations for future success were laid as we moved back in to the refurbished pavilion.

The key man at the time was my old mate Robin Chandler, the perennial ‘Clubman of the Year’, who ran the bar in the pavilion so brilliantly, with his army of assistants. For me and many others Robin was and is Thamesians.

In those days getting together a committee was almost as difficult as a team. I became the chairman in 2000 and Mark DeBrett agreed to act as secretary as long as he did not have to do the minutes of meetings. As a result I got in to the habit of writing of the minutes as an action list in advance of meetings. Thus a comfortable form of dictatorship emerged. Nowadays dictators are making a comeback but back then they were not in vogue so before my ‘Saddam’ moment I retired from this role in 2008. Fortunately a couple of years earlier I had had the foresight to ask Bart ‘Sausage’ Redmond and his beautiful wife, Sandra on to the committee - thus the club moved from an authoritarian regime towards a form of constitutional monarchy and has done very well like this ever since.

Saturday reminded me of just how many people have made a massive contribution to keeping the club going and now taking it to the next level. Thank you to you all.

Video Courtesy of Samantha Watts

Recent Thamesians News

  • Lance's Club Captain's End Of Season Message
  • Dean's First XV End Of Season Message
  • Ade's End of Season Spartans Message
  • How It All Started
  • SAVE Udney Park


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