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...

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 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 -

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

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.

Training and presentation on Sunday

Just to confirm that this Sunday U17 training will be from 12.30 to 2.00 at the club. However U14s will still train at the usual time (10.30 to 12.00).

This is because so many juniors are training (or in the case of the minis playing) in the morning. We should be okay for a 10.30 start for everyone at the next Sunday training in December.

In between the U14 and U17 training I am hoping to organise a presentation for the victorious teams who played at Rochford last weekend as no individual medals were presented at the festival. Medals have been ordered for both the U14s and U17s.

I know a few people will be away but virtually all of the junior club will be around on Sunday so its a great opportunity to demonstrate to everyone what you have achieved.

I am hoping that Dave Roberts will do the honours - but he is with the boys U14s in Royston apparently so I'm not sure when he'll be back. If that is likely to be later than c12.30 we'll get someone else to do it - even if that turns out to be me & Rachel.

In the meanwhile... Joe, where's that festival report of yours? Don't keep us waiting!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Rochford, a great success!

Well what a fantastic day yesterday was. The under 14's played some fantastic games of rugby. Having a lot of confusions at the start with many teams combining or not showing up. We ended up combining with Boadacia's, who supplied 3 of our team and fitted in really well, naturally filling the spaces left. As the games unravelled and the girls became more confident with each other the standard of play improved dramatically.

The girls all did really well putting in some excellent tackles. Despite initial fears the girls powered to success over Hertford who apparently all had only been playing a few weeks. With one of the tries scored by Vicky! and one near miss when Laura dropped a ball close to the line.

The next game was the match the girls didn't want (we did try to avoid it too) but we faced Welwyn for who we were their fourth opponents in a row!

However after an early try scored, we were level at half time with Hayley converting a Bodecia try. Another try in the second half put us ahead, but Welwyn fought back and were denied a couple of times. So Letchworth hung on to the victory! Final score 12-7! What ever was said after the game by Welwyn we were a mainly Letchworth side and we played a better game on the day and deserved the win. This was a great success for the whole team and boosted spirits. It shows that with determination you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

Here are some pictures that were taken by Natalie's dad. (Thanks)

With one more game against a very old looking team, the day was a success whatever the end result.
I just want to say a very well deserved WELL DONE to all the girls that played and you all put in a fantastic effort and should be proud of yourselves.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Our most successful day - ever!

I'm going to take a step back and leave it to Joe and Rachel to describe the glorious successes of their teams this week. Seems only right and it also avoids me having to decide whose was the greatest triumph...

So watch this space....

(I did rescue the U17 results sheet which can maybe go on display at the club. Unless someone wants to frame it?)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Beckenham video: "Fifth place play-off" v Westcliffe

Here is Mike Alcock's recording of the epic battle with Westcliffe - in two parts...

First half

Second half

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Earlier start for Rochford!!

We've just discovered that the tournament kicks off 30 minutes earlier than we thought - so can we please aim to meet at the club at 8.00 on Sunday and try to get away as quickly as possible!

Training on the 29th October

That is a week on Sunday. Due to congestion at the club I am looking at alternatives to the usual time and place.

As things stand I am trying to see if we can train at St Chris, which would allow us to train at the usual time (ie. 10.30 to 12.00). And it is rather nice there...

Failing that I think realitically the U17s will have to train from about 12.00/12.30. I know its not ideal and that some cannot make that time, but with all the minis at home with games against Welwyn, plus training for U13s and U16s its going to be (pointless) mayhem if we try to train up to 24 U17s as well.

U14s will train at 10.30 regardless, because they are small group - and Rachel has a match in the afternoon.

Watch this space...

Beckenham videos: The Welwyn game

After good start against Havant, a chance to work out what went wrong against Welwyn.

On the positive front we ran Welwyn significantly "closer" than anyone else on the day, apart from the eventual winners. Havant shipped well over 30 points, and Burgess Hill over 50.

So examine this carefully - we meet them again in eight weeks time...

Beckenham videos: Letchworth v Havant

With thanks to the Alcocks for... well, camerawork and everything really...

More to follow... Welwyn today, Westcliffe a bit later (as its rather longer).

Comparing codes...

Another great find from the Saturday's a Rugby Day blog. Not sure that Robyn will appreciate it much, but most of you will...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Rochford festival: directions etc.

Its the Rochford Festival on Sunday. Arount about a 90 minute drive - again - and so a similar start time to Beckenham. Meet at the club at 8.00 (note changed time)

The address for the club is: Rochford Hundred Rugby Football Club, The Rugby Park, Magnolia Road, Hawkwell, Essex. SS4 3AD

Some people have had an interesting time finding the ground in the past, so I quote here directly from the Rochford Website:
  • Leave M25 at junction 29. Join A127 in direction of Basildon and Southend
  • Continue until you reach Rayleigh Weir junction. Take slip road left, A129 towards Rayleigh.
  • Stay on this road through Rayleigh town centre, following signs for Hockley.
  • At traffic lights at the top of the High Street (Church on left), go straight on.
  • Follow the road for 2-3 miles, going straight ahead at three mini roundabouts.
  • At next mini roundabout (Spa Public House facing), take left fork.
  • Follow the road past the shops, under railway bridge (Greensward Lane), continue past college on right for 1-2 miles, then past Ashingdon Primary school on left, continue on this road towards Ashingdon going up the hill, then on for another 2-3 miles until you reach mini roundabout (shops on your right), turn right at roundabout ( Rectory Road).
  • Take the third turning on your right just before the traffic light (Magnolia Road).
  • This will become an un-made road continue down for about a half a mile, the club is on your right.

So - no problem!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Selected for county? Apply for your grant! [Note important update!]

Don't forget - if you are selected for a county or regional team you can apply for a grant to cover expenses... and anything else you can think of.

Grants are normally available through district councils. This now includes North Hertfordshire where things have recently changed (Rachel tells me). Despite what it still says on the NHDC website you now need to get an application forms directly from NHDC as the old North Herts District Sports Council is no more.

Anyway it is well worth doing. Honestly. Ask Hayley G.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Beckenham Pictures

Some of the under 17s appear in the tournament photo album online at

Select the photo shop link and then the beckenham photo link at the bottom of the page. Some good action shots!!!

Three more get the county call

More good news on the representative front Steph Crome is now a firm member of the county U17 squad - giving us seven members out of total of 25. Indeed she is the only fly half, apparently, which is promising. Though she managed to fall over and do something aggrivating to her knee yesterday, which isn't.

Meanwhile it was the turn of the U14s yesterday to face the selection process and the great news is that both of our girls who took part got in.

Our most experienced junior Hayley Aldridge ("small Hayley" as she was once known, though that seems no longer applicable being as she is now nearly as big as her namesake!) seems to have been playing for years. Which is mainly because she has, as she joined us in our first season (remember her jumping in the line out at Welwyn?) and at last has the representative call-up she deserves.

At the other end of the experience scale Laura Wennington has not had to wait nearly as long for county call up - weeks to Hayley's years - her efforts at Beckenham, as well as yesterday, catching the eye and ensuring that she will be the youngest member of the county U14 team at Aylesbury on 12th November.

Emerging Schools: what's your school doing?

On May 5th two U14 girls teams from two schools in England will be playing at Twickenham in the final of the Girls Emerging Schools competiton - and there is no reason why your school should not be one of them.

The whole point of the competition is that it is for schools with no real history of playing the game - so the fact that you school does not have a girls team is no bar to taking part. On the contrary it means that the competition is aimed at you!

The plan is to try to at least put together a 7-a-side team from each school to play in a tournament in North Herts in January - but only if enough schools show an interest!! And from what we hear North Hertfordshire school at least have been ... less than enthusiastic so far (schools in Welwyn, on the other hand, are falling over themselves to take part - which is why Welwyn RFC can get so many U14s!).

Every school in North Hertfordshire has been contacted by Herts RFU - and reminders are going out today! So now is the time for asking questions of your PE department what they are doing. And if they say they've never heard of the competiton then, well, suggest they check their in-boxes again.

The same thing should also be happening in schools in Bedfordshire and elsewhere - so have a word there too.

Your teachers will have 100 reasons for sitting on this unless they think it will work. Enthuse them. If you are young enough to play then tell them that you want to take part. If you are a U17 then offer to help out - and speard the word amongst younger girls. You only need for find around ten girls from years 7-9. Look around you - there are hoards of them! How hard could it be?

The national target is for 34 schools to take enter (17 took part in a pilot competition last year), so your school has a 1:17 chance of playing at the most famous rugby stadium in the world. Not bad odds, really...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Our U14s need YOU!

Letchworth have one of the biggest U17 girls rugby squads in the country, but numbers at U14 level are a bit low this year at the minute. At present the U14s have seven girls - which is just about enough if everyone is available, which is obviously not always going to happen every week. But even as few as two or three more girls could make a huge difference.

This is important - not least because that is where your team-mates will come from in future years.

So - we are turning to you. Look around you. Do you have any sisters, cousins, friends, neighbours, or relations in School Year 9 or below? Hunt around in the cupboards and the attic - there are always a few left lying around somewhere if you look hard enough. Ask yourself - do they perform any useful function - you know, like front row, centre, scum half, etc?

If not then the time has come to change that. On October 29th - that is the Sunday at the end of Half Term and the week after the Rochford festival - we have a Sunday morning training session. That will be the day to bring along any that you kind find (or, if need be, kidnap en route) so that Rachel can turn them into useful members of society.

And we may* even have some sort* of reward for whoever turns up with the most.

Obviously if you find any BEFORE the 29th then bring them along on a Wednesday evening!

*Note your attention is drawn to the disctionary definition of the words "may" and "some sort of".

PS: Rachel asked me to ask you all if any of you could come to training a bit earlier next week (ie at six) so that her girls can have real living breathing things to hit and tackle and side-step and generally compete with. A few of you do already, but if a couple more of you could arrive 30 minutes or so earlier I'm sure the junior girls would appreciate it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

England return to Hertfordshire

It has been confirmed today that England will again be playing two of their home fixtures in the season's Six Nations at Old Albanians ground in St Albans.

On Saturday 3rd February England will face Scotland, who had a very good world cup - coming within touching distance of the semi-finals beford finishing in sixth place overall.

Then on Sunday 11th March its the big one against France in what may well again be the title decider.

In addition England will also host Italy - who replace Spain in the championship this season - at Twickenham on 10th February.

Last season the games at OAs prefaced with displays by Herts U14s (before the game against Wales) and Herts U17s (before the Ireland game). What will happen this year - if anything - has yet to be decided, but its still worth making a date in your diary NOW to see our World Cup heros defend their Six Nations crown.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

U17: Tournament Report and Awards

On the back of a superb victory against Milton Keynes we made the long trek down to Beckenham with four of the squad suffering from injury or illness. Danni’s persistent ankle problem, Katie’s injured leg, Mel’s chipped tooth and Sasha’s chest infection meant they were the only ones missing out, leaving us with a squad of 17.

After an eventful drive down I arrived, handed in our team sheet and was given our fixtures only to find we hand just 20 mins to warm up before the first match. With the warm up completed the starting team was announced for our 15-a-side match against Havant.

Letchworth V Havant (15-a-side)

Starting XV:
15 Threlfall
14 Boorman
13 Randfield
12 Robinson
11 Schipani
10 Crome (VC)
.9 Alcock, N

1 Randall
2 Hughes
3 Watson
4 Birch
5 Kelly
6 Guilder
7 Vivian
8 Parnell (C)
16 Jordan
17 Glenister

Full Time Score: Letchworth 10 Havant 0

Tackle of the Match: Randy
Player of the Match: Hayley

Letchworth v Welwyn (13-a-side)

Starting XIII:
15 Threlfall
13 Robinson
12 Guilder
11 Randfield
10 Parnell (C)
.9 Alcock, N

1 Randall
2 Hughes
3 Watson
4 Birch
5 Glenister
6 Kelly (VC)
7 Vivian
16 Jordan
17 Crome
18 Schipani
19 Boorman

Full Time Score: Letchworth 0 Welwyn 20

Tackle of the Match: Nim
Player of the Match: Nikki

Letchworth V Westcliff (12-a-side)

Starting XII:
15 Threlfall
14 Randfield
13 Guilder
12 Parnell (C)
11 Shipani
10 Crome
.9 Alcock, N

1 Randall
2 Vivian
3 Jordan
4 Birch
5 Glenister
16 Watson
17 Hughes
18 Kelly
19 Robinson
20 Boorman

Full Time Score: Letchworth 15 Westcliff 10

Tackle of the Match: Trio Takeout
Nim, Natalie, Skippy
Player of the Match: Sophie, Jess

Well done to all that played a successfull day. Your now starting to win games that you wouldnt have won last year. The Westcliff game was our secong game where we have gone in at half time behind but have come back to win the game. Some brilliant commitment all round

See you all Wednesday

Monday, October 09, 2006

Doing anything Saturday? FREE professional rugby!

As you know, Letchworth is linked to Saracens which gives us free or reduced price tickets to many of their games. Except that Saracens play on Sunday afternoons, which is often when we play so we can rarely take advantage of the offer.

This is a pity as watching professionals play can be a big help - and watching on TV is nothing like seeing a live game.

Turns out that Fern is a Bedford Blues fan and is suggesting that we join her at Bedford's next home game against Leeds Tykes (relegated from the Premiership last season) on Saturday.

As well as being a bit nearer than Watford entry to the ground is FREE for all U16s (or anyone who might reasonably pass for U16 - so that is everyone!), though as I recall you would have to pay if you wanted to sit down in the wooden stand (most people don't). The ground slopes a bit as I recall (a bit like our ground), so you get a good view from the touchline.

And it is a pretty good standard of rugby. Leeds were playing in Europe 12 months ago, and Bedford are currently second in National One - so could well be joining the likes of Saracens etc. next year (always assuming that they do not pass Saracens going in the opposite direction, of course!).

Kick off is 3pm, so we'd probably be wanting to leave Letchworth c1.30ish.

If you are interested please get back to me - it'll be a good afternoon out, unless you have something else planned! And if you do, then maybe we can look to go to a later home game.

We can probably organise transport if need be.

Katie's in the county squad!

Confirmation came yesterday that Katie Alcock is in the county U17 squad - our sixth representative (joining Rosie Randfield, Natalie, Hayley, Nim, and Laura), which means that we are providing a quarter of the squad!

And there could be more yet as there are still a couple of vacancies.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Letchworth U17s 2006/7: Squad Photo

Squad Picture
Back Row: (Left to Right) John Birch (Manager), Joe Randall (Forwards Coach), Nim Parnell (Pack Leader), Emily Vivian, Rosie Randall, Steph Crome, Charlie Hughes, Sasha Acheson, Katie Alcock (Captain), Mell Hobbs, Chloe Schipani, Jess Robinson, Fern Glenister, Laura Watson, Mike Crump (Backs Coach)
Front Row: (Left to Right) Laura Wennington (U14), Robyn Jordan, Sophie Boorman, Carla Kelly, Nichola Birch, Hayley Guilder, Rosie Randfield, Natalie Threlfall, Nikki Alcock

U14 wins Beckenham Festival!

Yes - we've won our first festival!

Well, one of us has...

Although most of our U14s could not travel this weekend to Beckenham, one did. Laura Wennington travelled with the U17 team and - along with two girls from Westcliffe - played for Cramberley - a useful little team which won the National Sevens last season.

After a crash course in playting at hooker (instead of centre!) Laura was thrown into the battle against hosts Beckenham and scored a try as she and her new team-mates ran out 29-10 winners.

With a win in the next game as well, Laura was through to the final where she faced Welwyn... and won 20-5!

So well done Laura!

Action from Beckenham 2006

The roving lens of Phil Threfall brings you higlights from today in pictures....
Letchworth 10, Havant (Hants.) 0

Hayley sprints away to score. What would we do without her?

Lineouts. Practice has made (almost) perfect

Letchworth 0, Welwyn 20

The picture tells a 1,000 words. Poor handling and tackling in the first half let us down.

But things improve in the second half and, apart from a early try, the Welwyn juggernaut is kept at bay. For once.

Letchworth 15, Westcliffe 10

This was a good way to finish the day - a close game against competitive team who play in the right spirit.

We go behind early on too but stage a great fight back.

But let's not forget the hero of the day...!

...Laura, who showed the U17s that a) how to win a fesival, and b) how to beat Welwyn!

And Finally...

The "unofficial" squad photo

It was a looooooong day....

Saturday, October 07, 2006

U17: Some amusing screenshots from the MK match DVD

Nim tackle forcing MK to knock on

Hayley injuring herself!!!!!

Hayley sprinting away for the wining try!!!

After scoring!!!

A reminder that the meet time tomorrow is 8.15 at the club. Lets go and make the long journey worthwhile like last weekend!!!!

U17s - you played in the game - now watch the video!

As some of you may have seen, Mike Alcock - Nikki & Katie's dad - videoed virtually the entire game last weekend. An edited and streamed version his recording is now available by clicking here and the second half is here - or you can click on the image below (it has to be edited down to 10 minutes for each half as that is the maximum YouTube will accept).

Needless to say the quality is not exactly that of the original DVD, added to which it was a bit dark in the first half (the clicking noise is rain falling on the microphone), but even so its very watchable.

Highlights of first half....

  • The first Letchworth try (from Hayley) - where does she come from to pick the ball up?
  • The first Bucks/MK try - for which the phrase "a comedy of errors" is barely adequate. Count the number of opportunities we squandered to clear our lines
  • The almost complete lack of any back moves - and the effectiveness of the few that there were. Consider why this might have been...

Highlights of second half:

  • Hayley doing the splits... ouch!
  • Hayley's second try minutes later. Say no more.
  • Sophie's try - well you don't see it, but the celebrations are good
  • The sun is out and there is much more passing etc.
  • Competing in the line outs (see how high Nichola gets!) pays off at the end.

What do you all think, now having watched yourselves play?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

U17: Training and Beckenham

Well done to all that played at the weekend. Brilliant result. The best part was that none 0f you gave up untill the final whistle went!!!

Training tomorrow is an important session as its our only chance to fix things before beckenham on Sunday. Please meet at the club at 6:45 so tht we can be started by 7:00.

Directions to Beckenham have now been posted below and we will meet at the club at 8:15 to have left by 8:30.

As always can you let me know if you cannot attend training or beckenham this weekend. Can you please also let me know if you require a lift.

See you all tomorrow

Beckenham Festival: Directions and meet

The day has finally dawned - and appropriate word considering the time we are leaving. But fortunately its not quiate as early as Joe suggested last week.

Play begins at Beckenham at 11am, and we have to be there to register by 10.30. Its about 80 miles (depending on the route taken) and the estimated journey time is just over one and a half hours. Well, that is what the journey planners say. So I suggest - unless you are travelling direct - we meet at the club aiming to depart by 8.30.

For those with SatNav the address of Beckenham RFC is Balmoral Avenue, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3RD.

Various journey planners come up with a variety of routes but experience from previous years suggests the best route is:
  • Follow the M25 round to Junction 4
  • Turn right onto the A21 following it for about 4 miles until just after Farnborough Common (see above map)
  • Turn left onto the A232 towards West Wickham
  • In just over three miles you reach West Wickham where you turn right onto the A214 (passing West Wickham railway station)
  • After about two miles, just after passing under the railway, turn right into Balmoral Avenue (see map below)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Sundays game

Ok well despite losing I was very impressed with the performance the girls put in on sunday. With only 2 team members having played a full season, you girls were not a pushover and made MK work for their tries. Despite injuries and a lot of players feeling sick as we were due to start! You are starting to look like a team and one that can do well, and this will come through experience in practice and playing. The play got better as the game went on and at the end you were playing the best all game and the result was the try, (although not scored by our own player) it took the whole team to create the chances.

Well Done to all of you in the first game of the season and some of you your first game at Letchworth.

Besting Bucks

Well done to everyone yesterday!

U14s vs Milton Keynes

The U14s had a tough assignment. As they went onto the field it seemed to get noticably darker as the sun disappeared from view. The odd things is that this was was before the thunderstorm and the eclipse of the sun was more due to our girls facing a team that was - on average - a foot taller. And more in some cases.

However with the opposition's heads that much into the clouds our girls could not do anything but tackle round the legs (on the grounds that waists were a bit high to reach) and fought incredibly hard. Okay they lost, but for half the team this was their first match of any sort and they did outstandingly well getting better and better as the game went on, finishing with an excellent try and conversion from Hayley.

Its worth remembering that two years ago on the same pitch the U17s lost by a similar score. And look at them now! As indeed we could as their game was on the next pitch...

A Buckinghamshire U17 XV 19, Letchworth U17s 22
(HT: 14:12)

I see that Joe has already done a report, but what the heck. A game like yesterday's deserves to be remembered twice over and anyway it needs pointing out that you weren't just playing Milton Keynes!

Oh no. You were due to play Milton Keynes but you took on what was in effect a Buckinghamshire XV composed of all available U17 players from all of the county's three clubs - Milton Keynes, Aylesbury and Chesham.

Anyway its worth repeating that everyone watching said was one of the best games of girls' club rugby they had ever seen. The game was pulled back from 14-5 down to win 22-19, with first-half tries from Sasha and Hayley, and Hayley then scored the winning try by crashing through as usual (see right). But in between was something really special with the third try came from Sophie, awarded player of the match, who'd only been to two training sessions before Sunday.

And well deserved it was too. Having spent the first half watching - and itching to come on - Sophie looked like she been playing for years (though the borrowed shorts were a bit of a giveaway!). Playing on the wing (which probably won't be her position in the long run) she tackled superbly, including a try and match-saving effort just before Hayley's winner.

The hours of line-out practice also came into their own, with clean catch by Nichola setting up the move that lead to the fourth try, and then all the extra height our lifters are achieveing allowing Nichola to steal the ball from an opposition throw to close out the game at the end (see left).

It was an excellent game which everyone on both sides clearly enjoyed, and played (and watched by coaches and parents alike) in the right spirit as well.

Pointers from the game will be discussed on Wednesday but a few from me...

  • Dithering around at restarts. Both sides as bad as each other, but the mess we made of their restart after our first try lead directly to their first score. Really we do need to build more confidence in this aspect of the game otherwise some sides will murder us.
  • Letting Sasha take in penalties from 5m out is a good idea.... but she does need a bit of help sometimes. She can be pretty daunting on her own, but if two or three of you were bound with her she'd be unstoppable.
  • If - early in the game - you get a penalty inside their 22m line and only slightly to the left of the posts one option (instead of running it, or kicking for touch) is to kick for goal. Especially if the wind is behind you.
  • If you run clear to score a try near the touchline... keep running and put it down under the posts. Could be worth another two points!
  • We still haven't found a full back. Volunteers please form an orderly line on Wednesday.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

U17: Milton Keynes Match Report and Awards

Starting XV:
15 Hobbs
14 Randfield
13 Threlfall
12 Robinson
11 Schipani
10 Alcock, N
.9 Alcock, K (C)

1 Randall
2 Kelly
3 Watson
4 Birch
5 Glenister
6 Guilder
7 Parnell (VC)
8 Acheson
16 Jordan
17 Boorman
18 Hughes

After a month of preparation and just two injuries we made the trip up to Milton Keynes with possibly a record size squad for our Under 17s. Missing just Emily, Danni and Steph the squad was bolstered by the arrival of Sophie Boorman, who was yet to play a game of rugby, and Charlie Hughes, who has joined us from Bishops Stortford after they folded at the end of last year.

And so we started with the warm up, in what can only be described as very poor weather, the girls took their time to adapt to the slippery conditions. Warm Up completed, a quick jog to the changing room and back saw the girls come sprinting out in their brand new shirts ready to go.

At last it was time. Our season was underway.
The conditions took both sets of backs by surprise with much of the early part of the half being taken up by scrumaging for innocent handling errors from both teams. Hayley powered over mid way through the half to break the deadlock and score our first points of the season but the conversion was missed. Letchworth’s unorganised defence then saw them conceded two tries in quick concession both of which were converted. Letchworth were awarded a penalty 5m giving Sasha the opportunity to force her way over from close range and ground the ball to give us our second of the game. Nim them proceeded to strike a wonderful drop kick that sailed through the middle of the posts and saw us narrow MK’s lead to 2pts. A sustained period of pressure by Letchworth before half time came to nothing and we went in at the break trailing narrowly.

Half Time Score: Letchworth 12 Milton Keynes 14

A slow start to the second half saw Letchworth concede an early try under the posts only for the MK kicker to slice her easiest kick of the afternoon past the left hand post. Suddenly mid way through the second half Letchworth upped the intensity and dug themselves into the MK half creating several opportunities one of which was converted by debutant winger Sophie Boorman. With a new found desire Letchworth worked their way back up towards the MK 22 and finally with 6 minutes still to play Hayley broke through the MK defence to sprint away and touch down for her second and Letchworth’s third. The girls then proceeded to mob Hayley as the conversion was missed leaving Letchworth 3 pts ahead with 5minutes to play. Letchworth then proceeded to play the game of keep ball denying MK of any scoring opportunities and when the MK winger was bundled into touch in her own 22 the game was over and the girls were ecstatic. Good performances all round.

Full time Score: Letchworth 22 Milton Keynes 19

Tackle of the Match: Nim
Towards the end of the first half I looked up to see one of our players putting in such a big tackle that it even made me go ouch!!!!

Player of the Match: Sophie
Just two training sessions. No previous experience of rugby and a try scoring debut!!!!Says it all really

U17: Player of the Month

Congratulations to Jess who is our first player of the month for the new season.

Jess has accumulated the most points towards her Player of the Season total for the period from the start of Pre-Season to the end of October.

Well Done Jess

The Management

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