Formed 2004 ... Herts 7s U14 Runners-up 2005 ... North Herts U14 team, Herts Youth Games 2005 runners-up (coached by Letchworth)... Herts Superteams U14 Runners-up 2005 ... Herts SuperTeams "Fairplay" winners 2006 ... Rochford 10s U17 Champions 2006 ... East Midlands 10s U17 Runners-up 2007 ... East Midlands 10s U17 "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... National 10s U17 5th place and "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... Herts 7s U17 Plate runners-up 2007 ... National 7s U17 Plate winners 2007 ... RFU "President's XV" Award winners 2007 ... Herts Superteams winners 2007 ... Midlands 10s U18 Runners-up 2008 ... National 10s U18 4th place 2008 ... North Herts U11 team, Herts Youth Games 2008 runners-up (coached by Letchworth girls) ... London and SE 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2008 ... Herts 7s U18s runners-up 2008 ... National 7s U18s quarter-finalists 2008 ... Gloucester City 10s U18 Bowl runner-up (6th) 2009 ... Worthing 10s U18 Plate runner-up 2009 ... National 7s U18 Plate winners 2009... Worthing 10s U15 Plate winners 2010... Worthing 10s U18 Shield winners 2010... Herts 7s U15 and U18 Bowl runners-up 2010... National 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2010...

Sunday, December 31, 2006

First fixture of the New Year (REVISED)

After a short break its back on the field again with four fixtures in five weekends, the fifth weekend being regional trials.

We begin with our first ever visit to Kettering - a well established team in Northamptonshire which Fern may be able to fill us in on being as she has played alongside some of them with her county. They will be visiting us two weeks later. We will also play Buxton (a "very keen" team from Derbyshire, and reputedly one of the best sides in the North West of England), and possibly Oundle (also Northants).

The address of the ground is Waverley Road Kettering NN15 6NT and a map etc can be found at http://www.ketteringrugbyclub.co.uk/map1.htm. Distance 54 miles, travel time c60-90 minutes depending on which site you look at, and the state of the A14 .

Kick-off 2pm, so meeting 11.15 for an 11.30 departure with the aim of arriving at the ground by 12.45/1.00pm. Please let us know if you need a lift or if you are travelling direct.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

U17 - The New Year

Thanks to those of you that turned out last night was a really good hour. The next session will be Wed 3rd Jan. 6:50 - 8:15.

Reminders that I need tour program player profiles to go alongside your mug shots in the tour program. I've had some but I need one from everyone so please get them to me. It doest have to be by email can be by hand at training.

Tour deposits are needed as soon as possible as we need to start confirming accomodation. £10 to be returned with the parental permission slip to me ASAP.

And finally lets get the new year off to a good start and find the form that we had at the begining of the season!!!!!!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Christmas

Hope you all had a brilliant Christmas Day and didn't eat too much!!!!

For the U17s there will be a get together this Wednesday 27th Dec to for a bit of a game and hopefully to meet your coach for next season. 5pm meet to finish approx 6pm. Please bring both trainers and boots.

Would be great if we could get a good turnout but I know some of you have family commitments. Please let me know if you can't make it.

Also that night Saracens are at Home to Northampton 7pm KO.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Officials to tighten up on bad language and sportsmanship

With remarkably apposite timing considering recent events new instructions for referees have been issued which apply to ALL levels of the game.

The full statement appears in Touchline and on the Herts blog but basically referees are being encouraged to clamp down on foul language or abusive gestures by players or match officials. The statement also underlines that this applies to "acts contrary to good sportsmanship" which, in the light of recent events, is interesting. The jury is currently out on exactly what "good sportmanship" is, though I am hoping for a statement fairly soon on this and confirmation on whether the definition is stiffer for coaches at a junior level.

Note that disciplinary code also say that "Referees must also always report any unacceptable abuse or offensive language by coaches, spectators or others from the touchline" - so its NOT just players!!.

Tour

Can we please have tour deposits for all those players and parents wishing to come on tour, returned by the end of the month. As many as possible to be returned on Wednesday please.

We have changed our accomodation and need to confirm as early as possible, with the Holiday Inn, how many rooms we need.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Canadians to stay at Wymondley Woods

The tour of I E Weldon College, Ontario took a step forward today when they confirmed that they would like to stay at Wymondley Woods scout camp (just outside Willian for non-scout people) from 3rd to 5th April.

It therefore seems more than likely that our U17s will be playing the Canadians on the afternoon of 4th or 5th April, so the date hs been added to the fixture list.

So if you are likley to be away the week before Easter and would therefore be unavilable for a game then please say so NOW. We do not want a team to travel 5,000 miles to play us if we end up being less than full strength!

We also want to entertain the girls while they are here - so maybe if a small group of you could get together to come up with some ideas?

Rugby over the holiday

A reminder of events between now and the next match on Sunday 7th January:
  • Weds. 20th December:
    U14: Rachel to advise.
    U17 training - seasonal "fun" session. 6.45-8.00pm.
  • Weds. 27th December:
    U17 training - looking back, and looking forward. 5.00-6.00pm
  • Thur. 28th December:
    "Glitter Day".
    Club charity fundraiser. See here for details.
    Members of girls teams invited - but please let organisers know you are coming!
  • Weds. 4th January:
    U14 and U17. First full training session of New Year.

Departing head of rugby in Herts appeals for high standards

On her last day in her role as Hertfordshire's Women's Rugby Development Officer Amanda Bate has called on clubs to "promote the highest standards of behaviour".

In particular she asks clubs to...

1. Check that everyone working with girls has an up-to-date CRB check.

2. Ensure girls are coached in good sportsmanship. In particular she asks coaches and players to ensure that they..
  • take care to tone down their language,
  • try and win through having good rugby skills, not through intimidating the opposition!
3. Remind parents of the "spectators code of conduct" - its not just players or coaches who can be disciplined!

4. Reminded coaches and parents that girls rugby is also about developing the girls as people, and enjoying the game. Coaches need to lead by example. Bad feelings between clubs and coaches will rub off on the players, and that is not a positive.

Amanda concludes by saying that Herts has got really good girls rugby going on and it would be a pity to get a bad reputation for poor behaviour from parents, coaches or players. She will be writing to clubs to ask club refs to remember that girls play to the same laws as reagards discipline as boys.

Don't I know you from somewhere...?

Its a 24-hour job this, team management. You can't get away from it - even on a visit to Morrison's you find players lurking in the fizzy drinks aisle.

So where do you go to escape and get away from it all? Why not the theatre - a pre-Christmas entertainment. This looks good - James and the Giant Peach at the Queen Mother Theatre in Hitchin.

Hmmm - whose that sat right at the back... seem to recognise them. Ah but the lights are going down...

The play begins. After a while there is a crowd scene - a scrummage of villagers attempting to see the aforementioned peach. And who is that driving through the centre... Samantha Theobold Roe from the U14s. I try to look inconspicuous, which is a shade difficult is you are sitting two feet away in the front row.

Samantha - who later shrugged off the inconvience of possibly being squashed to death by the peach (whether she was on not depends on your interpretation) to come back later and eat the thing before finishing off in a dance routine as the end - didn't have any lines (excited squeals aside) but looked a shoe-in for the role of Alice Liddell if they ever did a proper Alice in Wonderland.

The short run at the QMT has now finished and seems to have been a virtual sell-out. News on a transfer to the West End is awaited.

Win a few, lose a few...

First - well done to the U14s who performed really well in their game with the Hertford girls - Vikki in particular was (I thought) one of the best players on the field, especially with the ball in her hands when she repeatedly crashed through the Hertford girls. In addition Anna, Hayley and Laura also performed well - Hayley looking very good with the responsibility of captain. If only we could find three or four more girls (and above all one BIG girl!) the U14s would have a very good team.

As for the U17s a tale of what might have been perhaps. In fact - with almost the entire team being changed at half time - to a great extent they played two games, the "First Half Team" winning comfortably 15-7, the "Second Half Team" losing 20-0.

Why the big difference? And why are we "winning comfortably" by actually narrow scores?

One factor is that substitutions disrupt teams - as we saw when we played Sudbury - it takes a few minutes to adjust to even the best players coming on. However, as we have a policy of giving everyone as much game time as we can (which did not work entirely well for Nikki yesterday - best laid plans and all that - sorry, Nikki!) with a big squad its kind of inevitable.

At one level that doesn't matter because the result in any game comes second to the interests of the players. A club or a team is best judged by how they treat the least of their players and I'd MUCH rather lose a game than have anyone standing on the touchline for the whole match - because in the end results are forgotten within days, but the experience of playing can be rememered forever.

Beyond that though why such a turnaround?

Well, no doubt Joe and Mike will have things to say but from my less technical viewpoint I'd suggest two things:

First, the "First Half Team" made it look too easy. Aside from the start of the game, they were never seriously troubled and should have scored more. This may have even lulled those that came on next into thinking it was easy - in practice Hertford are not a bad side by any means and by the time they'd realised that the first half lead had been lost. And then some. Bringing back on Haley and Nim stabalised things, but it was too late to turn it round.

Secondly, I think we forget or easily overlook how good some of our forwards are. Rosie, Robyn, Charley and Nichola don't make headlines, rarely feature on the scoreboard, and do not get into county or regional teams, but they are now an experienced bunch who do an astonishing amount of work winning and retaining the ball. Which is not be belittle the pack that came on in the second half - on paper they are just as talented (indeed in theory more so) and did include Sasha - but as a unit they were not half as effective as the first half group. I haven't seen the video, but the calls from the touchline in the second half indicated that things were not going as well.

First-half forwards in action


Was there too much reliance on Sahsa? Was Sasha too worked up having missed the first half (a sort of "reverse Hayley" - some coaches seem to have noticed that leaving H off at the start generally makes her so angry that when she does come on plays blitzes everything out of the way). Whatever the reason, whereas in the first half Hertford rarely kept the ball for more than a phase or two in the second they were continuing the full ength of the field.

And one final thing. We do seem to relax on a lead too easily. Worthing, Saracens, and now at Hertford we have dominated play, scored a couple of tries and then not killed the opposition off. With Worthing there was never a problem, but Saracens nearly sneaked a game they should have been well beaten in and now we did - over the two halves - lose a game that was already won.

Photos from both the U14s and U17s games are now available on Phil's archive

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Photo illustrates a coaching point

Take a look at this photo of the a scrum in the game against Worthing last week. We dominated this phase of play throughout most of the match, and as a result also won the match. And looking at this photo you can see why.

Look at the Worthing girls' legs. Katie has barely put the ball in, but almost all their legs are straight - they cannot push, and can only dig in. Now look at their feet - especially the No.8. They are all pushing from their toes and have hardly any of the soles of their feet on the ground at all, which means on damp ground they are going to slide. Notice that the No.8 is barely touching the ground at all!

You can't see much about our teams positions but from what you can see - while not perfect -there seems significantly more chance for our girls to push far further and stronger because their legs and bodies are not yet fully extended, and the feet are firmly planted on the ground.


And if you think that was a fluke its the same story here as well. Our girls - with their feet firmly planted - can push simply by staightening their legs. Worthing - with legs already extended - will have to actually step forward to push - will actually have to take their feet off the ground. So who will win this scrum?:



So there you have it - thats why the forwards are generally doing so well. Keep it up!

Friday, December 15, 2006

"Glitter Day" - charity rugby day at Letchworth. Everyone invited

28th December is again "Glitter Day" at Letchworth. This is a day of charity rugby at the club, designed to raise money for the Marie Curie Nurses. The idea basically is to have fun, and play a bit of rugby dressed in something mildly outlandish (and glittery).

"Mars" (Pete Marsden - behind the bar - who runs this) is particuarly inviting juniors and girls to get involved this year (in the past its been restricted to adult branches of the club), so is anyone up for burning off a bit of Chistmas excess and benefiting a good cause at the same time?

Obviously its betteer is we know that a reasonable number of your are likely to be able to come down for the afternoon (it all "kicks off" at midday) so if you can please let me or Joe or Mike know asap.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Jess makes it seven for the regionals

At the request of two of the three regional U17 coaches Jess Robinson will now also be at the regional trials on the 28th January - making seven Letchworth trialists in all.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

National Cup: news on the next round...

... is hard to come by.

There is a link to a page of results on the RFUW website, but when you click on it you find that its LAST YEAR's results. There is only news about this year's competition on the website features the performance of, well, us - there is nothing else at all, not even a list of the competing teams.

I've therefore been trawling around the wesbites other likely entrants and the main thing I have discovered is that many, even most, clubs - even those with big, strong girls teams that anyone in their right mind would be proud of - seem strangely embarrased to admit they exist. Exeter Saracens have the link to their female pages in a smaller font than the other main links, Worcester admit the team exists but give no news as to their activities, and Plymouth seem to have a very small photo but no links to any information at all that I could find.

I could find nothing on the U14s, by dint of much careful detective work I discover that the U17 south-west qualifier took place at Ivel Barbarians in Somerset and featureed six teams - Wimborne, Hucclecote, Taunton, Ivy-bridge [a combined Ivel/Bridgewater team from Somerset that has no connection with "Ivybridge" from Devon], Thornbury, and Reading.

The results (that I have) traced were:

Pool A:
Wimborne (Dorset) 19, Hucclecote (Gloucestershire) 0
Wimborne 36, Taunton (Somerset) 0
Hucclecote 12, Taunton 0
Wimborne qualify

Pool B:
Ivy-bridge (Somerset) 17, Reading (Berkshire) 10
Thornbury (Gloucestershire) 29, Reading 10
Ivy-bridge beat Thornbury
Ivy-bridge qualify

So that gives four qualifers - two from Herts, one from Dorset, and one from Somerset. As one qualifier was played in Somerset (at Ivel Barbarians) and one in Hertfordshire (at our place), my guess is that its unlikely that the semi final will be in either county. In addition Dorset is kind-off in in-between Herts and Somserset - so I suspect that the U17s will be on a trip to Thomas Hardy country on 4th February.

Journey time - two and a half to three hours, or about 134 miles.

What are they like?

Wimborne we know, sort of, as we played them in the National Sevens Plate semi-final last season - see March in the calendar. Yes - the game that took place in a monsoon! Typical southerners - quick backs, forwards of lesser reputation. They are in the same league as Worthing... but a division BELOW.

Ivy-bridge are a combination of Ivel Barbarians and Bridgewater. They did beat Thornbury, who were last year's finalists, but other than that - being a combined team - its anyone's guess. Ivel on their own have won three out of five in the "Somerset and Gloucester Friendly League" (this is presumably one down from the "Somerset and Gloucester Deadly Enemies Conference").

They do have the England U19 No. 8 - 17 year old Marley Packer - in their line up, so may well have a pack better than the average for the south. Sasha will relish this game I suspect.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

This Sunday: Away to Hertford

... though there is a rumour that at U17 they will include some familiar "guests"!

Anyway c12.15/12.30 start, so I suspect arrive by 11.15. If you need a lift ASK NOW so we can sort things out ideally at training tomorrow, including the time of any meet at the club that may be needed. Journey time from Letchworth is only about 30 minutes.

Directions - very simple this one. Basically make your way to the A10 and at the Rush Green roundabout (signposted for Hertford) take the B1502 towards Great Amwell. Take the first left (Hoe Lane) and the ground is approx 300m on the left.

Last game before you get two weeks off to stuff yourselves and become obscenely unfit, so let's have a good turnout - especially as the U17s at least have something to "put right"!

Celebrate girls rugby on the 14th...

DECEMBER 14th...
... ie. this Thursday.

Big "do" at Saracens RFC, Bramley Road - drills, chance to meet, train, and talk to Saracens & England women players, food, photos, fun stuff. Everyone invited. Completely free. The event "kicks of" and 7.30 with the drills and training activities, which go on until around 9 o'clock, and the evening itself is due to finish around 10pm.

JANUARY 14th...
Saracens v Narbonne at Vicarage Road, Watford.

As last year a game as been dedicated to girls rugby, and girls from the county will make up the Guard of Honour. Last year we made up at least half of the girls who went - certainly we were the largest contingent from any club. This year we should do even better as the U17s at least have a game at Saracens (Bramley Road) in the morning (U14s its still up in the air a bit, but probably you'll be at Bramley Road now as well).

Tickets will be "discounted" to £14 for adults and £9 for juniors - but if you order online its actually £3 cheaper than this for juniors!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Photos from the county tournament in Westcliff

A commercial event photography company took dozens of pictures at Westcliff last week - some good, some rather amusing.

Go here and then click on Rugby > Westcliff RFC > 2006 > Essex Girls Rugby Festival

I know Nikki is likely to be particularly impressed of her picture in the Herts B v Essex game, and Hayley is going to love her Michelin Man look as water-carrier in Herts v Yorkshire!

And you can have them printed three feet high!!

Six girls to go to East trials

The nominations for the East Region U14 and U17 trials have now been published. The full lists can be seen here

There are no Letchworth girls in the U14 list, but we have six in the U17s. These include three county nominations (Laura, Hayley, and Nim), one from the Barbarians (Emily), and two "wildcards" (Sophie Boorman and Katie).

These six will attend trials at Ely RFC on 28th January.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Cup success for U17s

Well done everyone today - two superb performances in the first two games with Worthing (the South east League champions, no less!) and Saracens, and then giving Welwyn a real scare too in what was without doubt our best ever performance against them.

A last minute withdrawl from Surrey side Cramberley left four teams in the contest - us, Welwyn, Saracens/Fullerians and last year's South-East League champions Worthing.

Worthing's back line was as fast as we'd expected - but out forwards dominated the game so much that their backs were starved of useful ball amd in the end we were far more comfortable winners than the 10-7 scoreline suggests.

It was much the same story with Saracens/Fullerians - 10-5 this time, and despite losing Nichola and playing with only 14 in the second half. So we were through!

Just the small matter of Welwyn left though, and we did superbly almost holding them to 5-5 until a try just before the break. The second half went less well, but still our best performance yet.

Results:

Letchworth 10, Worthing 7;
Welwyn 48, Worthing 0;
Letchworth 10, Saracens/Fullerians 5;
Saracens/Fullerians 10, Worthing 19;
Letchworth 5, Welwyn 34;
Saracens/Fullerians 0, Welwyn 17.

More photographs from some of todays games can be found here

**********************

But where was everyone else? Some absences we knew of but others.... We NEEDED all of you. The second half of both the Saracens and Welwyn games were played with only 14 players (due to injury and illness) - if we'd had another Ampthill or Sudbury we could have lost! Letchworth is not elitist - anyone who turns up plays at this club.

If you cannot make a game PLEASE let us know.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

U17 National Cup: More changes

At the last possible moment Cramberleigh have withdrawn from tomorrow's tournament. This means we revert to a single four team group, with the top two sides going through.

Taking into account arrival times, distances teams are travellig, and trying to keep to the previous timetable as much as possible, matches will now be as follows:

Bottom pitchMiddle pitch
12.45Letchworth v WorthingNo game
1.30 Letchworth v Saracens/FulleriansWelwyn v Worthing
2.15Letchworth v WelwynSaracens/Fullerians v Worthing
3.00No gameSaracens/Fullerians v Welwyn

This blog ... and other stuff

First this blog may behave oddly over the next few days - bits may appear and disappear and such.

Basically this is because the software has been upgraded. Blogger are rolling out some new clever XML-based stuff and now its our turn. In the long run it'll do neat things - its already enabled me to ditch the bar at the top of the screen,and you'll notice that posts now have "labels" so you can see - say - all the U14 news on a single page. In the short run though its a flaming nightmare - just when you thought you'd worked out how it all works EVERYTHING changes! Agghh!!

Still, its getting a lot of use - 1,000 hits per month now, regularly 50 per day - 100 per day sometimes. And in recent days there's been a lot of interest from URLs based in the Sussex. Odd that, I wonder why? So, let's just say a big "hi there" to Worthing, and I hope you're enjoying the videos! Oh and hi there USA" as well - glad you like the calendar.

Finally - Nikki has added some stuff to her site, including a questionnaire about county and regional matters. Cannot imagine where she got the idea from, but seriously your views on this really would be appreciated and will help to make a difference (assuming a difference needs to be made - you may all be happy with things as they are).

Friday, December 08, 2006

U17 National Cup: The draw.

The draw has just been made - and Joe wants you on the ground in the proper white shirts etc. by 11.45.

As there are five teams, three will play in a round robin "pool" with games of up to 20 minutes each way (depending on start time - more on the below). The other two teams play in a single knock-out game of 35 minute each way.

And the draw is...

POOL (bottom pitch)
Worthing have confirmed that they aim to be at Letchworth by 12.00 and are happy with a 12.45 start. As RFUW have given us permisson make any changes to timngs and match order that in the interests of the team travelling furthest the timing of games will now be:
  • 12.45: Letchworth v Worthing
  • 1.40: Welwyn v Worthing
  • 2.35: Letchworth v Welwyn

KNOCK-OUT (middle pitch)

  • 1.30 Saracens/Fullerians vs Cramberleigh

WEATHER
Current forecast - light rain, 29mph ("near gale" force) southerly (ie. cross-field, downhill) winds. Sounds ideal!

U17s opponents on Sunday

1. Worthing

First it might be useful to clear up "where is Worthing"?

Answer: Miles away. In Sussex. Head towards Brighton, then turn right.

Who are they? The "biggest club in Sussex" apparently - six rugby pitches, home of the Worthing 10s the seriously big (by also very expensive) festival in the spring.

As far as their girls are concerned they appear to run two U17 teams - the "Stingers" and the "Wasps", the former being the 1st XV. They are the SE League champions and have had four recorded games this season, all wins over Esher (47-5), 3H (69-15), Mitchum (22-0), and Havant (24-19).

Clearly that is all impressive but somewhat meaningless - except for their closest game against Havant... who we played and beat fairly comfortably at Beckenham.

Individually their main threat seems to be a player called Amy Wilson-Hardy, a Year 10 sub-14 second 100m sprinter who plays generally outside centre (and occasionally full back) and has scored 17 tries in four games. However they have a very strong backline in general that moves the ball very quickly (according to Havant) - in other words pretty typical for a South East team (remember Petersfield?). And they have at least two kickers who seems to be able to kick conversions.

So... no mugs this lot.

2. Welwyn

I think we are kinda familiar with this lot...

Under 14's this sunday

Ok, so after a bit of confusion there are 5 of you who are going to OA's this sunday, so yes Laura is comming!
Below are the directions that are on the club website.
http://www.oarugby.com/club_directions.php
The club is just on the outskirts of St Albans, as you come in via Harpenden, on the left, as my memory recalls its just after a bend in the road.
Remember girls this is where the england women play their home games, so its a very nice club.
The coach for the day is Clive Cramphorn.
Please look after each other, Anna knows the club well, so ask her if you are looking for anything.
Enjoy it.
Let me know how it goes.
Rachel
PS good luck to the under 17's

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Start Rugby course

A quick note to say that Dave Roberts is now asking for the names of any parents or U17 girls who would like to take part in the "Start Rugby" course which was discussed here a week or so ago and generated some interest.

If you've got Level One then you "need not apply", but anyone else with any interest in developing the knowledge of the game, helping out with coaching (especially of beginners), and generally doing more than just play or stand on the touchline, please put your name forward.

The evening when the course takes place could be flexible so please also let me know what days of the week you cannot do.

Introducing the Canadians

Mentioned this yesterday evening - and here is the school website.

Now there is no guarantee that this will all go ahead, but if it does we would hopefully play them on the afternoon of possibly 4th April (that is a Thursday - but you are on holiday then so no worries/ And our tour isn't until the following week, so no worries there either).

But to fill in on a few details, apparently...

  • The school is about 35 years old and named after a local lawyer who gave $1 million to the local education board. Its about the size of Highfield.
  • Its sports teams are nicknamned the "Wildcats"
  • They are quite useful - there is a report on the girls rugby team's season last year here
  • Apparently they play best when its cold, if the reports are to be believed. Quite how they cope with the mud we normally have in early April I'm not sure...
  • One of their leading players seems to be called Hailey (ok - different spelling)
  • The school is in Lindsay - a town of 20,000 people (so about two thirds the size of Letchworth) in Ontario an hour and a half east of Toronto (the biggest city). It actually all sounds a bit like East Anglia, and quite a few of the place names seem to be from East Anglia too.
  • For those who know their geography, Ontario in between Hudson's Bay and the Great Lakes
  • For those more geographically challenged Canada is a country in North America. On most maps its the big (often pink) bit above the USA but before you get to the North Pole.
  • And they do speak English!!!

Hertford replace Welwyn on 17th... and other news

On the 17th December bot the U14s and U17s will now be visiting Hertford, who have kindly offered to host both sides. This may revive some memories of a certain recent semi-final...

Talking of which its National Cup on Sunday. If it is confirmed that Uttlesford have withdrawn then three teams will play off in a round robin for one semi-final place (c15 minute halves), and the remaining two will play off for the other place (c35 minute halves). The draw to decide who does what will be at 12.45, and we start at 1.30 - or sooner if possible.

Meanwhile we hear that Sasha is unwell. Remember to send her appropriate messages such as "get well soon", "get well REALLY soon", "get up, you're needed", and maybe "come in no. 8..."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Welwyn cancel game on 17th December

The U17 county coaches are attempting to set up an extra game on 17th December (see here for details). As a result Welwyn have now cancelled our game on that date - after all without Welwyn any county fixture would be impossible.

However at Letchworth - as this was originally a club date - we will be attempting to organise something at club level for that weekend as otherwise most players would have only had one weekend of rugby in three weeks (or four if you include the cancellation of the National Cup ten days ago).

More details as we get them.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

U17: Calendars

I've had a few questions about ordering these so just to confirm.

No you don't have to order them yourselves over the internet. Mike Alcock is ordering batched of 10 to keep the P+P costs down.

So if you would like your copy of the calender before Christmas then your order needs to be with Mike Alcock by Sunday along with the £11.50.

A reminder that all the profit on these calendars is going towards the tour so get the word out, get selling to your familes, relatives, friends and lets get some money in!!!!!

U17: County and club training

I know that tomorrow night there is a talented athlete something or other at the sports village. I have no problem with those on the scheme attending this and understand you wanting to complete your fitness tests and therefore as this has been on the calendar since the start of the season you missing training will not affect your game time on Sunday.

However I have also been informed that at the last minute the county squad have been invited to attend the nutrition talk. This will now be the 3rd week in a row, 2 of which that were unscheduled and with late notice.

Welwyn have asked their players within the county squad NOT to attend the talk and attend club training instead, due to the cup matches this weekend, and I am now doing the same thing. If you are in the county squad please do NOT go to the nutrition tlak tomorrow and come to club training instead, especially with the way some of you were treated by county on Sunday which I think was totally unacceptable and have complained about.

Training tomorrow is hugely important as we will be preparing for the cup matches this weekend, and the main session will take place from 6:50 till 8:15.
The following are being asked to arrive at the club for 6:00 for a kicking session:
  • Hayley
  • Nim
  • Steph
  • Katy
  • Nikki
  • JessI

f you are listed above and are not coming to training because of the talented athlete thing please let me know. Can all other girls refrain from turning up early to join in with the kicking session. It is a specialised session for those we feel will be required to kick on Sunday and we will not be able to cope with more than 6 players in this session.

If you have any problems, comments or feelings about the last month regarding county or are not attending tomorrow night please let me know

Regards

Joe

Monday, December 04, 2006

Your views wanted!

The county blog has a long article on it asking for your views on the county programme. Please could you have a look and post your comments, either on the what is in the article or on your views and experience of county rugby generally. You can even post anonymously if your prefer.

Its important that we get the views of players and parents, rather than just coaches and administrators. This is YOUR programme, its there to develop you as players and also give you more challenging rugby - but you do not have to accept it they way it is. If you'd like to see things organised differently (or come to that see things stay as they now are) now if the chance to be heard!

While you are thinking abut such things have a look at goplayrugby.com/survey where the RFU are collecting views on what attracts people to play rugby - and what puts them off. There are prizes to be won here!

And while you are there maybe you can think of a club or team worthy of ther RFU's new "Presidents XV Awards". Far be it for me to suggest which club or team that might be... but there's money to be had here too.

Mixed experiences on County Sunday

Eleven of our U17s and one U14 appeared for their counties on Sunday and had some mixed experiences, though they were turning out for four different sides at two different locations that is maybe not too surprising.

From what I have heard so far gale force winds were the highlight of the day at Newark where Samantha appeared for East Midlands U14s and Fern for the U17s. Not sure about the results yet, but the games - against Leicestershire and "NLD" (Notts, Lincs & Derby) - were only about six minutes each way, and mainly seen as a trial for the East Mids regional team.

Its a pity that East Mids County pulled out of the Westcliff tournament to go to Newark as it would have been much more interesting to see everyone together. The wind was also a factor here as well as our girls turned out for Herts, Herts Barbarians, and Eastern Counties. Herts got to the final but - after controling the first half against Essex - unaccountably fell to bits in the second. Hayley played in the first half but came off at half time. Some watching felt that these two factors might have been connected, but in practice - though H had had a damn good first period - clearly there must have been other reasons.

Nim played two full games, missing out only against Yorkshire as she needed to get her shoulder strapped, and Laura play right through the whole event at prop - if there is one player who has developed hugely through her county experience it is Laura.

Unfortunately Katie and Rosie barely got on the field - and Natalie did not play at all - at least not for the County team. Luckily she did get two games for the Barbarians.

And in many respects it was Emily's Barbarians team (which also included Jess and Nikki) that were the highlight of the day. They may not have won any games, but they pushed both Bucks and Essex very close. However the most noticable thing was that - of all the teams present - they seemed to enjoy their day most. While other sides were fixated on winning, the Barbars were there to play hard but have fun. And it showed.

Sasha was our "rep" in Eastern Counties - and what a useful side they are going to be. They may have lost of Herts and Yorkshire (the latter only just) before beating the Barbarians, but these were their first games. It won't be a stroll on the park for the "big two" (Herts and Essex) next year...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The ultimate Christmas gift - Letchworth Girls: The Calendar!

Are you struggling to work out what gift to get for the grandma-thats-got-everything? Still looking for that special something for your Aunt/ Uncle/ Parent/ Boyfriend?

Then look no further - for today sees the launch of Letchworth U17s: The Calendar!

Thanks to the photographic skills and design efforts of Mike Alcock and Phil Threlfall - plus a "Print on Demand" publishing service called Lulu - a full colour calendar packed with action photos of North Herts' finest is now available, just in time for Christmas. And its a proper, quality production - as good as any commercial calendar you'd find in the shops. The only main difference being that YOU are in it!

Copies can be ordered online at http://www.lulu.com/content/551194 for £10 + £2.34 p&p - or direct from Mike Alcock for £11.50 - saving you 84p per calendar, providing more money for the team, AND your calendar before Christmas because all orders placed with Mike before 11th December should be supplied before the 25th!

So don't delay - order today!

U17:This week

County tournament at Westcliff tomorrow.

This wednesday's training session will be 1 of the most important this year. We will be preparing for the cup round on the 10th and the welwyn game the week after, which I know you all want to do well in, so there is a hell of a lot to get through. To fully cover all the stuff we need to get through we need a virtually full turn out.

A reminder that we are combining with Sudbury in the cup and that we can only put 16 of you into this combined side. So needless to say attendance at this wednesdays training might sway the 'selectors'.

I know there is a county something or other so can all girls please email me back to let me know whether you will be attending.

Regards
Joe

Friday, December 01, 2006

County tournament this weekend

Directions etc. to Hertfordshire's tournament now on the county blog.

The county squad have been asked to be there by 9am for a 10am start - so suggest you leave no later than 7.30. As things stand its all still on!

For Fern and Samantha playing for East Midlands in Newark you have a slightly more civilised start, but you have to be up there by 1pm for a 2pm start. Best of luck to both of you - and let us know how you get on!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

U17 National Cup to be replayed at Letchworth

With the club confirming that only the boys U14s are playing at home on the 10th (and our U14s training), we seem to be clear to host the tournament that was cancelled last Sunday.

Obviously with barely a week to put anything in place - and indeed with the rest of the junior club elsewhere - its going to be a big ask. There is also the minis Christmas party at 4 o'clock - but we'll aim to be finished by then (that or we'll be under floodlights).

Clearly ANY help anyone can provide will be appreciated. Not sure what RFUW will want from us in practice - they are asking other clubs about referees. But we did this for the Sevens so we know what works - and there'll be rather fewer girls this time. In fact if you think about it, its not much bigger than a standard triangualar as there will be no U14s - and they have always gone off well enough.

Anywa - the great news is that by hosting this we don't have to go to Worthing. Well, not this round anyway...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Another East Midlands call-up

Out of the blue Samantha Theobold-Roe has just been invited to play for East Midlands U14s in Newark on Sunday in the same tournament Fern will be playing. This gives us a remarkly high hit-rate for county selection from our Beds-based players - ie. 100%!

In Samantha's case, though, she did not even have to attend trials. It seems word spreads and someone somewhere has spotted her, and when they found out where she played an invitation was quickly sent.

It also means that though our U14 section is small, nearly half of them will have played for their counties.

Overall it takes our county selections up to 12 - nine for Hertfordshire, two for East Midlands, and one for Eastern Counties. Plus several Herts Barbarians, including the captain.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

U17: Training tomorrow

Due to the cancellation of U17 Herts Barbarian training tomorrow, we will now have enough numbers to make training at Letchworth worthwhile.

Can you all please bring a change of clothes or tracksuits to put over any muddy areas as part of the session maybe indoors.

Lets get a really good turnout turn our attention to beating welwyn and get this season back on track.

See you all tomorrow
Joe

LATEST: Barbarian training OFF... County squad training ON... Club U14 training ON...

Welwyn's ground is now virtually under water and so tomorrow's county training sessions there have been cancelled. If not alternative venue is found...

  • The U17 county squad should still travel to Welwyn for 6.30 as alternative training arrangements are being put in place.
  • The U17 Barbarians will no longer have any training.
  • U14s will be training as usual at Letchworth
More news when I get it.

More county success as Fern gets the call from East Mids!

Great news of yet another county call-up - Fern has been selected by new East Midlands "County" team!

This is the first time that there has been East Midlands county team. A bit like Sasha's "Eastern Counties" it is a combined area (taking in - in this case - Bedfordshire & Northamptonshire) and not to be confused by the East Midlands Region which also includes Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, and Lincolnshire.

Fern will be making her county debut in a game against Leicestershire on Sunday. I gather that as East Mids have been a bit slow gettig going they've withdawn from the tournament in Essex as they felt they weren't ready for it.

This also means that Fern is on a different "regional pathway" and will now have to trial for East Mids Region, rather than East. Which will make the U17 game between East Midlands and East in the new year potentially interesting...

Fixture news

Due to the tour our away game at Kettering in April has been moved to Sunday January 7th - that's the first weekend back after Christmas and gives us games every weekend right through the month up to regional trials.

One great thing about the change is that the fixture will now be "triangular" and will give us the chance to play against Buxton from Derbyshire - a team we would never normally get to meet - which will make the trip up to Northants well worth the effort!

Also there is a chance that we might get to host a Canadian school team from Lindsay, Ontario who are due to be on tour here over Easter. I'm currently in correspondence with them but the idea would be that we'd give them a warm-up game at the start of their tour (ie. the week before we go away to Devon - possibly on a midweek afternoon) after which they would go on to play Hertfordshire and Essex/Eastern Counties.

Needless to say its not as simple as all that by any means - but in the meanwhile does know the Candian National Anthem?

Monday, November 27, 2006

U14s take centre stage!

With the U17s National Cup called off... at ten to 11 on Sunday morning (!) it was up to the U14s to go for glory.

Mind you at least we hadn't left for Saracens - I dread to think what Worthing had to say when they heard... chances are they'd already been on the road for a couple of hours! Still, our Sudbury colleagues managed to get some Christmas shopping in instead, as I gather they got the news while passing a big shopping centre in Braintree. For some reason they felt that a little retail therapy was preferable to a session in mud at Letchworth and politely declined to join us.

And no - I have no idea what happens next there being not that many free dates to rearrange before the next round in February.

On the subject of which - the U14s. Well, Samantha and Laura anyway who joined girls from Saracens and and various points to the east (Diss, Ely, etc.) to form "Hertfordshire Barbarians". With Uttlesford pulling out it was two to go through from three, and when the "Barbarians" began with a 5-0 win over Welwyn they were soon on their way.

Sam and Laura then guested for Cramberly (coached by Dean Richards... ask a parent who he was!) who comprehensively beat Welwyn 17-0, despite having fewer players - Sam particularly impressing Simon Shutler, the Barbarians (and Herts county) coach.

So when to came to the final game both teams were actually already through - but it was a terrific game, despite being played on a now glutinous surface and finishing very nearly in the dark. Sam and Laura actually chose to stay with the Surrey team as the result didn't matter, and the Barbarians won 10-5.

So Laura, Sam - and all of our other U14s - will not be going to Sudbury on 4th February but instead will be competing for a place in the final of the National Cup. Somewhere in southern England...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Tackle safety - an event of some relevence?

A remarkably well-timed evening is coming up in the next few weeks. Given the fairly large injury list built up over the past two games, I hope that many of you may be interested in a evening on "Tackle safety and coaching contact" being run at the club on Monday 11th December (6.30 to 9.00).

Although aimed at coaches, Phil Waters - Letchworth's coaching co-ordinator - has made it clear that he will welcome "all coaches/assistants/budding parent-coaches", so that is pretty much anyone interested in coaching or helping out in any way. Also as its not a formal coaching award course there also won't be a minimum age, so I reckon anyone from the U17s at least could usefully attend, whether or not you are 16 yet.

Even if you don't ever want to become a full coach, being able to help take new girls through the basics of tackling would be very valuable. It might also help you spot poor technique among teammates, and do something about it, before they injure someone or injure themselves.

Let me or Phil know if you might be able to come along so that we have an idea about numbers.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

U17s: Sunday

National Cup competition matches this Sunday away at the old Saracens ground in Southgate, directions posted below somewhere.

Meet time is now 11:20.

Please let me know if you cannot make it!!!

"Start Rugby" - and help develop the girls teams!

The club will be hosting a "Start Rugby" course on the evening of 15th January. This is a new course aimed at anyone interested in helping to coach or introduce new players to the game, but perhaps not interested or able to commit to become a fully qualified coach at this stage.

As such its ideal for any parents or players who want to get more involved in helping the game - and girls' section - develop and grow.

The course takes just one evening, is apparently quite active and hands on, and at the end of it you take away not only the experience but a big pack of drills and games for groups of all sizes.

The fees will be paid by the club. There may be a minimum age, but at this stage I am not sure what that would be - so let me know if you are interested anyway.

There is also a "tag" rugby traning course coming up at Royston RFC on 12th February, and sessions on "tackle safety & coaching contact" at Letchworth on 11th December and Stevenage on 19th March. Again if these sound interesting let me know.

Scouting for new talent

On the afternoon of 21st January (note changed date) there is going to be a tag rugby tournament for local scouts and cubs at Letchworth. The idea is to try to attract new players to all age groups - including the girls as a sizable proportion of local scouts are girls (as the U17s know to their cost this weekend!)

Anyway if you are in the scouts you might try to excite a bit of interest - especially among any other girls.

Also so far only units in Letchworth & Baldock district who have been invited - but there is no reason why troops from other districts might not also enter. If you go to scouts outside the district, see if they are interested as well and let me know.

Similarly if you are in the Guides there is no reason why they should not take part - I'll be writing to the local ADC shortly, but in the meanwhile let your group know.

And before anyone asks the afternoon will be FREE!

Our county U17s meet England star

While everyone else was floundering around in the mud last night, our county U17 girls were having a training session with a difference - the warm and dry where they met and listened to Margaret Alphonsi - Saracens and England's No7*.

Margaret is currently studying for her Masters in Sports Psychology, and is also Rugby Development Officer for Saracens (Amateur )RFC, as well as fitting in training on 5 days each week.

She was there to talk about the importance of goal setting and sports psychology, showing the county squad how they could raise their game as individuals and as a team.

(*Of course that didn't stop one of our county girls floundering around in the mud anyway, having failed to jump over a big, bright yellow tackle bag prior to going to the session. I won't say who it was, but those who were there will know...)

Next Wednesday

Next Wednesday there will not only be training at Welwyn for U17 county squad (from 6.30) but also training for the U17 Barbarian squad. As a result there will hardly be any U17s left so we may well not have any trainnig at Letchworth that evening.

We want to encourage as many of you as possible to play in the Barbarian side - not only because Emily is captain, but because the tournament on the 3rd in Westcliff sounds like it'll be a huge event which you will also benefit from being a part of.

However, if you don't want to go AND you do want to train next week PLEASE let me know before Sunday. After all its not worth Joe and Mike coming over to training if they are going to outnumber the players!

This also affects the U14s, unfortunately, as with Rachel unavailable for a few weeks we are relying on Joe, Mike and the U17s to put you through you paces. So if U17 training is cancelled yours will be as well. So watch this space...

Extra visitors in January

On January 21st we will be hosting Market Harborough in addition to Kettering.

Who? Well, we have played them before but the club has changed its name. Last year they were called Kibworth...

You remember now? The mud... the long drive... the controversial first meeting for the U17s with Thomas Becket... Nim visiting casualty... Chloe almost having her head pulled from her shoulders...

Okay, the last two are hardly unusual. Or indeed the first two come to that!

Anyway - they have about seven U14s and a similar number of U17s, so one way or another it means we'll get close to full games regardless of the numbers Kettering bring.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

U17s: Ampthill Match Report

With a number of other events occuring we travelled to Amtill on Sunday with just 13 of our 24 girls. With the unusuak numbers came an unusual set of positions with both sides agreeing to play with 8 in the back line (1more than a full backline).


Starting XV:
20 Rayner
15 Randfield
14 Threlfall
13 Robinson
12 Alcock N
11 Schipani
10 Parnell (VC)
.9 Alcock K (C)

1 Watson
2 Hughes
3 Jordan
4 Glenister
5 Vivian



The girls started well and adapted to the conditions early. They were organised both in attack and defence and applied pressure to Ampthill from the start. This paid off as Nim forced through tackle after tackle to put the Legends ahead. Unfortunately with some plonker holding the ball up she was unable to convert. Nattalie, returning to pobably her prefered position on the wing, started as she went on. Several early breaks lead to nothing however her persistance was rewarded and she crossed to increase the score. Again with the ball being proped up the conversion was missed. Letchworth continuing to dominate crossed the line twice more in the first half, however only the first was awarded. Jess made a break down the left wing, outpaceing all the trailing defenders and managing to touch down under the posts. With the Kicking tee now being used Nim slotted the conversion. The second line crossing came from Randy who managed to cross two lines and still not score. After crossing the first line (try line) tryed to make her way to touch down under the posts. She was unsuccessful in her attempts as she was bundled over the second line (dead ball line) and missed out on a well deserved try. The first half ended with injuries. First nattalie who would later return to the game but also Nim. Suffering pain in her shoulder after landing aqwardly and ending her game. At some point in the first half Ampthill scored but cant remember when or how so the girls went in 17-5 at half time.

With further injuries Letchworth were left playing with 10 and conceded early in the 2nd half. However the girls stuck at it and there efforts were rewarded. Nikki crossed to add the girls 4th try of the day and Jess taking over kicking duties converted from infront of the posts to make it 24-10. And thats how the score remained.

Player of the day went to Nattalie who consistantly created problems on her wing and was always asking questions of her opposite number. Special mention must go to Jess Rayner who, in only playing her second match, played absolutely outstandingly. Solid in both attack and defence and was unlucky to not go home with a try.

Good performances all round!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Barbarians "a credit to the club"

That was the message I was given yesterday evening about the Letchworth girls who went to Barbarian training the Sunday before last, from Clive the coach (who will also be the lead coach at region - so is not easily impressed!).

So well done girls!!

Quiz: The answers

A few people had a go at this - no-one go them all right, so here are the answers...

1. b) Steph - who played for "Scorpions", a girls team at Datchworth that folded about six months before we began

2. c) Mel. Yes - when you are injured and can't walk or find yourself having to get up at an absurd time on a Sunday morning blame Mel Hobbs. It was her wanting to have a go at playing rugby that started all this off... because I couldn't find her a team.

3. Hayley, Nichola, Mel, and Katie. Not Carla as several incorrectly guessed.

4. e) Last. Won one, lost rather a lot. Looking at who was playing you can only blame the coach...

5. d) Huge win - something like 47-12, and amazingly still our biggest ever win! The tries against us were also scored by loaned Letchworth players!

6. b) Nikki... by miles.

7. c) The much missed Ruby Sharp, who scored seven against Cheshunt at Chesunt in the first Herts Sevens.

8. e) Five. Looked like the casualty clearing station after a major battle - bandages everywhere.

9. c) Nichola. Amazingly enough.

10. Ampthill. But now that has been put right!

I'll do it again with some more contemporary questions later on.

How it works: The National Cup

U14s (at Welwyn).
Depart c12.00, arrive 12.30, kick-off 1.30. Tournament due to end c3.30.

Four teams (Letchworth + Saracens + E Counties ("Hertfordshire Barbarians"); Welwyn, Uttlesford and Cramberleigh) will play each other in a round-robin group. The top two teams will qualify for the next round in February. Games will be 12 minutes each way.

There will be a draw at 12.45 to decide who plays when.

Getting there: Most people will have been to Welwyn - but if you have not, exit the A1(M) at Juntion 4 and follow the A6129 towards Welwyn. The check out this map.

U17s (at Saracens)
Depart c11.30, arrive 12.30, kick-off 1.30. Tournament due to end c4.30.

Six teams to be divided into two pools of three - draw at 12.45. Winner of each pool will qualify for the next round. Games 20 minutes each way.

Getting there: Bramley Sports Ground, Green Road, Southgate, London N14. M25 west to Junction 24, then A111 south for 2-3 miles. Just after the road crosses the A110, Saracens's ground will be found on the left. See map.

Meet and train with the best

On the 14th December any girls who play rugby in Hertfordshire are invited to attend a training session with the Saracens women players, including England players Maggie Alphonsi and Karen Andrew, at the Saracens RFC, Bramley Rd, Southgate. Training will be from 7.30pm to 9pm.

Afterwards there will be a free hot meal for all players, (adults may buy it for £1 a go), the bar will be open, and there will be photos taken with the Saracens women (which will be better organised than the session with the men's team!). The event will finish at 10pm.

For the photos we will need the county girls in their drill tops or county kit, which will highlight both giels rugby generally and the Saracens themselves.

If you can attend please let us know as soon as possible - by Friday 1st December at the latest.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Photos from the Ampthill now available

The Threlfall Family album has been expanded again to include some exvellent pictures from Sunday's game (<http://www.flickr.com/photos/phil_t_photos/>). However Natalie's dad apologies for them appearing in reverse order ("I loaded them backwards!?")!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Could you be a coach?

Steph, Katie and Nim are all now Level 1 coaches following their courses in September. Is anyone else interested? You have to be at least 16 on the date of the course - but even if you aren't yet think about it and let me know.

The game is desparately short of female coaches so we can get all sorts of grants to cover the cost (ie, you won't have to pay a penny), it will teach you more about the game - which will improve how you play - and it may well come in useful in the future, be it GCSE PE courses, or even earning a few pennies doing coaching in the summer months. Plus you can help prepare the next generation of Letchworth girls.

If that seems a big step there are also some one-evening courses coming up at Letchworth covering the coaching of tag rugby, plus a new "Start Rugby" course which covers some basic skills for introducing the game to new players. In fact the "Start Rugby" course is recommended for parents as well - more details about both shortly.

One week to the Nationals

Only one week to go before possibly our biggest test ever at U17, and an interesting day for the U14s as well. What is more the first time ever that the two age groups have had fixtures at different places on the same day.

For what its worth I think both teams have a good chance of making it to the next stage. Honestly. The U14s have already shown that Welwyn are no invincible, and in combination with Saracens should prove a match for all three of their opponents, and on paper a combined Letchworth/Sudbury team - even without Hayley - looks pretty tasty.

After all the U17s showed their strength in depth today at Ampthill. To go from 24 girls "on the books" only 13 for a game is bad enough (4 injuries, 3 scout campers, two "unavailables" [and a partridge in a pear tree..?]). But to lose in that all three of our players from last years U17 regionals, plus our single most experienced player and fly half, could have been a blow that would sink some teams - but those that were left completed the job in a professional manner. Gaps were filled, people stepped up to the plate and took the responsibility they needed to do.

The loss of Nim near the end of the first half, then Emily after that, shook things up for a period - without that the margin of victory (24-10) would have been far bigger - but shape was regained and the team held together for a result that was never really in doubt. Hopefully Joe will do a more detailed review later, but well done everyone.

With that experience next weekend I suspect Joe and the Sudbury coach are going to have some difficult decisions, not least because the total squad size is limited to 25. Its inevitable that some people will be disappointed, but it is rare we have to make selection decisions like this. Most of the time our aim is to give as much game time to as many of you as possible - participation comes first. But next weekend is different - its all about the result. Experience will be what counts - and if you miss out this time, then battle to make sure you make it next time.

See you all Wednesday... always assuming we can get to the ground in between the roadworks!

Friday, November 17, 2006

U17 : Sunday v Ampthill

A reminder of the game this weekend. Meet at the club at 12:00 to depart by 12:15. Kick Off is at 2:00 and as usual Match Shirt will be in the changing rooms when you get changed.

Match Day Dress code must be worn by all.

Please let me know if you're not available or need a lift.

See you all Sunday!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A league of our own?

Girls' leagues are beginning to spring up in various parts of the country. There's one in the North East, another in the North West, Surrey/Hampshire, Thames Valley...

So the question of whether we should have one in East has come up, and will be discussed in January. Ideas for models and structures have been requested and so I thought I'd let everyone see what I am likely to propose, so that you can all comment on it.

Essentially the idea is that all games should be full-sized matches, and to ensur ethis could happen clubs would be combined into "clusters" unless they had squads big enough to stand alone. One result of this would be that any girl, regardless of how many players there were at her club, would be guaranteed a place in a "cluster" team without having to move to a different club (which is what would happen if a league were based on just club teams).

Anyway - the full proposal is here - comments welcome.

Captain Vivian requests...

... that every U17 not in the county squad make themselves available for the Barbarians at Westcliff on 3rd December.

Apparently the turnout for the Herts Barbarians was a shade disappointing on Sunday, but they do now have a captain - Emily.

Last year the "B" team beat a full strength Oxfordshire side and was awarded the region's "county team of the year" title as a result. Several Letchworth girls made that happen - including Mel who scored the try that turned the game, and Sasha who... played her usual game. Next month it'll be time to do it again.

Should be an interesting day as Letchworth girls could appear in as many as four of the eight teams, if Fern gets into the East Midlands squad. Small matter of Ampthill, and then the National Cup first of course.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ampthill... this time let's finish it!

Its the game that at least one person has been waiting for. Yes its Ampthill, Fern's old club, so that adds a bit of spice.

Not that it needs it really as at U17 level we have a curious history. They visited us last year and we fought out a titantic 0-0 draw, the game ending early in the second half due to an Ampthill injury. A few months later in Wimbledon the Hertfordshire Sevens team (mainly Letchworth) played Bedfordshire (mainly Ampthill). Result? A 0-0 draw, the game ending early in the second half due to a Bedfordshire injury - actually a girl from Surrey who had been lent to them, but you get the drift.

Basically the two teams have played against each other for a total of at least 40 minutes so far, no-one's scored - indeed if I recall no-one's come close to scoring - but we've put two of their players in hospital.

In practice the shape of our teams have changed rather significantly. We now have a full backline, and Ampthill have lost several of their best players 'cause they are now too old. They have some promising youngsters coming in at the bottom though. So we can be reasonably confident that someone will score this time, lets aim to finish the game, but mainly its about winning it for Fern!

Directions

Address: Ampthill RFC: Dillingham Park, Woburn Street, Ampthill, Beds, MK45 2HX

Distance: About 18 miles. Journey time: 30 to 45 minutes.

Note that we are advised not to arrive too early as there is a big minis triangular competition in the morning so if you arrive much before 1pm you may not have anywhere to park!
  1. Take the A507 west past past Arlesey, Henlow, Shefford, and Chicksands, etc.towards Ampthill
  2. At Ampthill stay on the the bypass (A507 ) towards Ridgemont.
  3. Past the industrial estate (on the left), take the right turn for Ampthill (B530, Woburn Road leading to Woburn St.).
  4. Ampthill Park is almost immediately on the left, with the Rugby Club on the Right.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

U14s: Extra games arranged

We have arranged an extra game for you to make up for missing out on a match this weekend (as Ampthill have no U14s). Unfortunately we haven't been able to swing anything for this weekend but on 17th December you will be visiting Hertford RFC.

They have lots of U14s apparently, but all very new this year (we beat them at Rochford) so should be a good day which everyone can take part in, regardless of you experience.

They will hopefully visit us in return on 25th March when we will also have Saracens and Milton Keynes U14s - so a small tournament!

As you know Nim Parnell from the U17s will be working with you on the next few Wednesdays. This week she'll be starting to get you ready for Sunday 26th when you'll be combining with Saracens (and a few girls from Eastern Counties) to take part in the National Cup qualifiying competition at Welwyn.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Letchworth girls at centre of county triumph

Eight of our girls took the long drive to the middle of Oxfordshire (or "no-where" as someone in the back seat of may car described it) on Sunday, and all played their part in a massive triumph for the county.

At U14 level Hayley and Laura played hard on their county debuts as Herts won all three games against Oxfordshire (22-0), Essex (5-0) and Middlesex (15-0). Laura actually played for three counties on the day - "guesting" for Oxfordshire and Essex before pulling on the light green for the first time.

The u17s had two games - against Oxfordshire (won 40+-nil) and Essex (won 15-0). Six of our seven U17 squad members took part - only Steph's hand injury keeping her away.

  • Laura was - I think - on the field throughout, proping superbly against a fearsome looking Essex front row;
  • Katie played one half against each side - coping well with some "gamesmanship" (ie. blatant cheating!) from the Essex scrum-half who at times was sneeking round the back of the referee and ending up nearer the Herts front row than Katie was!
  • Rosie and Natalie put in some good runs down the flanks;
  • Nim dumped opposition players into the crowd as per usual; and
  • Hayley - held back from playing against Oxfordshire - made up for it with a great performance in the second game, including a typical crash-through-everyone try from about 10m out, and might have had another one had she not been listening to the siren call of a team-mate calling for a pass ... which she failed to catch!

Both Herts teams looked scarily good - how good we will see on 3rd December.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

How well do you know your team?

How well do you know the team you play for? Its background, history, personalities? Try the quiz below. Answers in a few days...

1. Who is the only current player who had played girls' rugby BEFORE Letchworth Girls' was formed?
a) Hayley G; b) Steph; c) Ruby; d) Nichola; e) Katie

2. Who started the ball rolling that lead to the creation of the girls' section by asking where she could play rugby?
a) Hayley G; b) Nichola; c) Mel; d) Ruby; e) Carla

3. Six girls from Letchworth were part of the first North Herts girls rugby team at Youth Games in 2004 and four of those girls still play - who are these four "founder members"?

4. Three of those six went on to play for the regional team that winter... so where did that star-studdied North Herts team finish in the 2004 Youth Games?
a) 1st; b) 2nd; c) 3rd; d) 5th; e) Last

5. Milton Keynes were the first opponents... what was the result?
a) a big defeat; b) a narrow defeat; c) a narrow win; d) a big win

6. Who has played the most games?
a) Katie; b) Nikki; c) Hayley; d) Ruby; e) Nim

7. Who has scored the most tries in one game (seven)?
a) Nim; b) Hayley; c) Ruby; d) Katie; e) Natalie

8. We took an U14 and U17 team to the National Sevens in 2005. How many U14s were injured by the end of their first game?
a) 0; b) 1; c) 2; d) 3; e) 5

9. Who has not only played regional rugby, but also district netball and county cricket?
a) Mel; b) Natalie; c) Nichola; d) Carla; e) Emily

10. Only one match has ever finished 0-0. Who were the opponents?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

U17: Match Report v Sudbury

Sorry for the delay but here is Sundays match Report.

With what can only be described as the best training session we've had this season in the build up during the week, the girls arrived on Sunday morning full of optimism and took a very profesional attitude to their preperation and warm up.

Starting XV:
15 Glenister
14 Randfield
12 Robinson
10 Alcock, N
.9 Alcock, K (C)

1 Randall
2 Hughes
3 Watson
4 Birch
5 Glenister
8 Parnell
Replacements:
6 Kelly
7 Vivian
11 Schipani
13 Threlfal
16 Jordan
18 Rayner

Sasha makes "top 30" - Hayley misses out

Congratulations to Sasha for making the "TDG" - the select group of 30 U17s chosen from across the country for a series of special training sessions over the rest of the season.

No real surprise I guess - but the shock is that Hayley missed out this time (though she will have another chance next year - and indeed the year after).

Anyway - good luck Sasha!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

National Knockout cup draw

The draw for the National Cup on 26th November has been announced.

The U17s are in the South East group and the good news is that we don't have to go far - Saracens (Bramley Road Club House, Green Road, Southgate N14 4AB) in fact.

And who are we up against?
  • Saracens/Fullerians
  • Worthing
  • Uttlesford/Hertford
  • Welwyn
  • Cramberleigh

The less good news is that the U17s probably be without Hayley, Nichola and Carla that weekend as they are due to be in Somerset with the Scouts.

The U14s are combining with some other Herts clubs to form "Herts Barbarians" and they only have to travel as far as Welwyn where they will take on:

  • Welwyn
  • Uttlesford
  • Cramberleigh

In both cases teams have to register at 12.30 for a 1.30 kick-off.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Looking back and forward...

I'll leave Joe to review today's game in detail - but if you checkout the Threlfall Archive (see right) you can already catch up on some pictures of major events - including "blow by blow" coverage of Hayley's injury (1, 2, and 3 - picture 2 in particular might require some sort of "advisory notice".)

In the end it was a very close game - perhaps our policy of rolling players on and off in order to give everyone game time disrupted the "shape" of the team which might have made the difference? Who knows - but the most important thing in this club is that everyone who is available to play can play. Participation comes first - especially in "friendly" fixtures like this - and long may it remain so. Its the experience that matters - you'll remember taking part in games like this - this tackle, that run - long after the result has been forgotten.

But before ending on today I must say a big "thank you" to those U17s who helped out with the U14s early on. Its getting very tough to get U14 games at the minute (though we've hopefully got at least one extra game for them line up for next month - just waiting final confirmation) so any playing experience they can get is important, especially with county etc. next week.

And so on to next week:
  • For some - if they are fit! - a challenging day at Grove in Oxfordshire playing for the county against Oxfordshire, Essex, and Middlesex (12.30 start - leave Letchworth c9.30);
  • For others a trip down to the lush pastures of OAs (St Albans) to seek a place in the Herts Barbarians U17 team for the inter-county tournament on 3rd December (1.30 start);
  • And for the rest ... a weekend off (!?). Hmmmmm... Perhaps Joe can come up with some personal fitness drills for anyone planning to relax at home next Sunday?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

U17: Tomorrow

A reminder of the game tomorrow versus a combined Sudbury/Ely side. I don't think I need to say how importnat this game is!!!!!

U17s are required to arrive in our dress code and be outside the clubhouse by 12:30. The game will be kicking off at approx 2:00pm.

Any questions or if you are not available please email me.

See you all tomorrow
Joe

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Tickets for England (men) vs Argentina at Twickenham

The Youth Section at Letchworth have available eight adult and seven children tickets for the England v Argentina match on 11th November at Twickenham, Kick off 3: pm,

Ticket prices are £40 adult and £20 children and the seats are in the East Stand.

Tickets will be issued on a strictly first come, first served basis from David Roberts. Apply quickly because they probably won't last long!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Comet Sports Awards: entry form

The entry form for the Comet's Sports Awards can now be downloded from here (Word document).

So now there are no excuses - if you think your's is a great team get nominating and tell the world!

Completed forms to be returned to Marcus.Crawley@thecomet.net by 1st December.

Ely to the rescue!

Better news for Sunday - Ely will be bringing a team to replace (at least in part) Westcliff. And also at least one girl from Wymondham (somewhere in Suffolk, before you ask) will be joining in with the U14s.

All good news, not least because these will also be new girls and a new club we've never played against before (though some of you may know some of them from region, possibly) which is always fun.

More fixture amendments

Next weekend's fixture will be without Westcliff due to their having travel problems (ie. they can't get here), which is partly due to teir thinking we were going to them. Sudbury still on their way though - and Sasha's dad and I are currently trying to see if we can get a replacement for the Essex team.

On a more positive note U14 and U17 county squad members will be pleased to know that we're now sorted for the following weekend (12th November). Hertfordshire will be playing Oxfordshire and Essex (as well as Middlesex, if they can get a team out) at Grove RFC. Kick-off 12.30.

Where, I hear you ask? Tiny village four or five miles south-west of Oxford. Quite a big rugby club though.

U17 Barbarians will be at OAs in St Albans. U14s not in the county squad get a weekend off.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Comet Sports Awards - lets get some nominations in!

Now is the time to nominate the club, our teams, your coaches, fellow players, or admin people for this year's "Comet Sports Awards". Last year we were in the top three in the club category - this year lets see if we can't do better.

Relevent categories would include:
  • Team of the Year (U17s?)
  • Service to Sport (for someone who organises stuff... can't imagine who that might be)
  • Coach of the Year (Joe? Rachel?)
  • Youth achievement, Girls U18 (Nim? Hayley? Someone else?)
  • Against all odds (requires good sob story, some creative writing)
To send in an entry you just need to get an entry form from The Comet by telephoning 01438 866204 or emailing the sports editor - marcus.crawley@thecomet.net

One entry might win, but if the same player or coach or team is nominated by several different people the chances of our getting a winner will be much greater.

So don't wait for someone else to put a nomination in - do it yourself! And - yes - you can nominate yourself if you wish!

The only thing to note is that nominees must live or be based in the Comet's distribution area - so that's Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth and Baldock (plus surrounding villages) - which means that our Beds and Suffolk based contingent is out of the running for the individual awards at least. But that does not stop anyone living outside those areas making nominations!

Incidentally there are lots of awards like these at this time of year - so if you spot anything else we might apply for let everyone know.

Rosie looks back on Rochford

Rosie Randall has also been killing time on the PC and has come up with her own memories of Rochford - this time as a Powerpoint (which I've concerted to PDF, thus reducing the file size to managable proportions!).

BTW - hope the medals are okay. They were ordered with appropriate engraving, but turned up on Thursday without - hence the labels as there was no time to get anything done.

U17 Player of the Month

Congratulations to Hayley who is this months U17 player of the month. Hayley collected the most player of the season points for October .

Well Done Hayley

Regards
The Management

Saturday, October 28, 2006

What do you think you are? A guide to positions

In my two inch thick pile of documents I received last week in my role of Regional Programme Manager was one item that will be of interest to you all, I thought.

Its a list of positions - and the RFUW's opinion of what abilities a person should ideally have to play in that position. Its a bit technical - but as many of the U17s are starting to specialise it may give pointers to where you need to improve your game, and for others - who may be wondering exactly where their ideal place on the field is - it may give a few pointers.

So here goes...

Props (1, 3):-

  • Basic knowledge of scrummaging
  • Ability to take and retain ball in contact
  • Decent level of upper body strength for lifting
  • Decent basic handling skills
  • Good body position and ability to make impact at the breakdown

Hookers (2):-

  • Solid basic throwing technique
  • Able to strike for the ball in the scrum (flexibility and technique)
  • Good level of fitness
  • Work rate and ability to tackle
  • Good support and ability to link play
  • Good “Go Forward” skills

Second Row (4, 5):-

  • Athleticism (lineout jumping)
  • Good aerial ability (handling)
  • Good size and impact at the breakdown
  • Dynamic work rate (not just plodding!)
  • Decent handling ability

Blind Side (6) :-

  • Physical impact and power
  • Strong tackler
  • Good ball retention
  • Impact at the collision
  • Good handling ability
  • Good support lines and link work
  • Good communication (defence)

Open Side (7):-

  • High levels of work rate
  • Strong in the tackle
  • Pressurize opposition
  • Support to ball carrier
  • Ball winner – especially on floor
  • Good handling for link support
  • Good communicator

Number 8 :-

  • Physical impact in defence and attack
  • Good ball carrier
  • Strong in the tackle
  • Good ball retention
  • Ability to stay strong in the tackle, especially if isolated
  • Good decision maker
  • Good communicator
  • Ability to offload

Scrum half (9) :-

  • Good passing skills (off two hands if possible)
  • Excellent decision maker
  • Strong communicator (attack and defence)
  • Ability to run with the ball (sniping)
  • Good kicking skills
  • Confidence

Fly half (10):-

  • Good all round ability
  • Excellent decision maker
  • Good hands
  • Good kicking skills
  • Vision and “heads up” play
  • Good communicator
  • Confidence

Centres (12, 13):-

  • Strong in defence
  • Decent hands
  • Decent kicking skills
  • Good ball retention
  • Good communicators
  • Good evasive skills
  • Ability to offload

Wingers (11, 14):-

  • Excellent evasive skills
  • Good pace
  • Ability to defend 1v1
  • Kicking skills (able to chip and re-gather?)
  • Willingness to work off the ball – not just stay on wing
  • Act as extra defensive cover off blind side wing

Full backs (15):-

  • Good communicator
  • Safe under high ball
  • Good individual defence
  • Decent kicking skills
  • Good pace
  • Ability to read a game
  • Good support and entry lines in attack

Friday, October 27, 2006

Easter tour?

Slight rethink on this now as quite a few of you are interested, but the cost is a barrier, added to which Mike reckons he can organise a tour for us to Devon on roughly the same dates for half the cost. Or even less. Watch this space for more news on this.

We have been invited to take part in the English International Festival of Rugby which is being played from 13th-16th April (the weekend after easter).

The tournament will take place in Bognor Regis with teams staying at a nearby Butlins Holiday Park. The tournaent has been going for some years, but this year appears to have merged with the Worthing girls' festival and is therefore running competitions for girls teams for the first time.

The wider junior club will be sendnig at least one or two teams (probably the age group that won at the Isle of Wight last year) and have provisionally entered a U14 and U17 girls team.

Some 4,000 players are expected over the weekend, and the girls competition seems to be likley to involve some 24 teams in three groups (so at least seven matches over the weekend).

The cost will be about £134 per person - plus £30 if travelling by coach (which the organisers provide). However, there is a sizable amount of grant support available to us which would potentially reduce the cost pretty significantly. And we have some five months or so to save us as well.

So the question is.... how many of you would be interested in going? Obviously the U17 squad is big enough to still go even if a few could not take part. The U14s would need to look to combine with other clubs, and maybe a county-wide team would be what would be needed here.

So please think about it and let me or Joe or Rachel know what you think asap.

(We are due to be playing Kettering away that weekend, before you ask...)

Fern puts the U17s to music

Some people are getting pretty creative (or bored??) over half-term!

But seriously this is great! Its amazing how effective adding a music track to a few well chosen photos can be....

Click here and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Natalie, Fern and Randy amongst the Saracens

Three Letchworth girls made today's (apparently slightly chaotic) photocall at the Saracens training camp. There are pictures of the entire turnout on the Herts blog but Phil - Natalie's dad - also came up with some (arguably rather better) shots. Such as this one.

Still, despite waiting around for a rather longer period than expected everyone seemed to have a good time - an dthe county kit looks pretty impressive.

Phil has also started a Flickr account to store his pictures - beginning with shots from Sunday's day-of-days at Rochford and including several more shots from today. Drop by and take a look...

What a day to remember!!!!



With several players missing through injury or holiday the under 17s traveled to Rochford with their numbers significantly dented. In what now appears to be the norm for Letchworth sides the majority of the U17s arrived at the ground significantly later than other teams and just 12mins before their first game was due to start.

Squad list with Festival shirt numbers
1 Randall
2 Vivian
3 Jordan
4 Birch
5 Kelly
16 Hughes
9 Alcock K (C)
10 Parnell (VC)
12 Guilder
14 Robinson
15 Alcock N
22 Crome
21 Schipani
20 Threllfal
19 Randfield

And so with minimal preparation the girls kicked off in their first game against a
combined Rochford and Basildon side. The lack of preparation was obvious. The girls lost every scrum and every lineout and hardly created a strong attacking platform. However the girls played percentage rugby and refused to play anywhere near their tryline. The hard work eventually payed of when Hayley crossed early on in the second half to take the score to 5-0. Some outstanding defensive work from the backline meant that Rochford were kept at bay and the girls ground out their first win.
With the late withdrawal of Bodiceas the girls now had time to relax and rest before their next game
against Diss. With far more time to prepare in the way they've become used to the girls went into their next game full of confidence and belief in their capabilities. The result told it all. The girls put 4 past Diss with two tries from Hayley one from Nattalie and one from Nim the difference between the teams was obvious for all to see. The girls coming away with a 26-5 win. Special mention to Rosie Randfield who stepped in to play second row and played exceptionally well.


And so came the last game of the group and a game that would decide which team progressed through to the tournam
end final. The girls, now realising that if the opposition cant get to their try line then they cant loose, played some wonderfully simple low risk rugby. They kicked out of their own 22 and played all of the game in the Saracens half. The pressure turned into points with Hayley crossing for her 4th and 5th tries of the day and Nattalie crossing for her 2nd. The girls aran out 15 - 5 winners and progressed to the final where Sudbury lay waiting.
Suddenly a switch flicked and the girls began to realise how close they were to winning their first tournament. With the rain now pelting down the squad ran onto the pitch determined not to come away empty handed. The final was a very evenly matched afair but the girls stuck to their game plan refusing to play out of their own half. Again the pressure paid off. A Letchworth won their own scrum 10m out and Katie picked up and scooted throw the defence to score her first of the season. Sudbury came back strong and Letchworth spent most of the second half defending. Three brilliant covering tackles from Nim preventing a very quick winger from out flanking the defensive line. Finally the referee called last play. Letchworth won their scrum and nim smashed the ball into touch.

And so the celebrations began.


Scoring 9 tries in 4 games and only conceding 1 says something for the way in which the squad played. No wonder the girls were so ecstatic with their performance on the day!!!!!

And now for the formalities. Player and Most Improved Player of the tournament. Myself and Mike have discussed these awards and had great difficulty in selecting the players for them.

Both of these were very difficult to award as their were so many brilliant performances. Charlie taking down Sasha not once but twice in the final. Robyn putting in a brilliant performance and realising she is capable of much more. Hayley powerful running from depth continually broke defences. Katies try and captains performance in the final. The platform the forwards provided for quality 1st phase possession for the backs to attack with. The list goes on....

Player of the tournament: Nim Parnell
It says something when a Westcliff coach standing watching the game winces at the sight of the Nim flattening one of the Sudbury girls. Several covering tackles combined with a solid boot and the ability to perform under pressure caught the managements eye.

Most Improved Player of the tournament: Rosie Randfield
Without Rosie voluteering to play second row we would have been without a complete scrum against Diss. Not only did she play second row she looked a natural and has now found her second position. Her speed and enthusiasm for the ball was evident throughout the day. She even found a new role as lineout jumper.

Finally I would like to mention one more member of the team. Sasha playing for her home club and our final opponents, Sudbury, took defeat very gracefully. Our thanks for not being on top form in the final. Much appreciated.

I want to thank all the girls for a brilliant day and I think now you all realise what you can achieve when you work together and put your minds to it.

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