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, May 07, 2007

National 10s preview (UPDATE)

The complete line-up for the National Tens on the 13th at Lichfield (directions here) is now available:

Paviors (Winners, East Midlands)
Letchworth (Runners-up, East Midlands)
Welwyn (Winners, London North - 108-0 over Chesham)
Wimborne (Winners, South)
Dorking (Runners-up, South)
Worcester (Winners, West Midlands)
Tynedale (Winner, North-East)
Cockermouth (Winner, North-West)*

[*Cockermouth have now withdrawn due to exam pressures. Whether there will be a replacement for them remains to be seen]

Apparently all the southern heats were rolled into one - there were no separate South-West or South-East heats. Not surprisingly perhaps the south-west sides do not seem to have been keen to travel to Petersfield, and Canterbury appear to have opted out as well, so in the end the South heat included seven teams - Reading, Chippenham, Portsmouth, Havant, and Cramberleigh as well as the two qualifiers.

So what of our opponents? Welwyn, Wimborne and Paviors we now know well - but what do we know of the other teams?

Tynedale - who have not updated their website for a year (come on, guys!) - seem to have taken over from Darlington as the leading North East girls club. They are also at the National 7s this year (for the first time in a couple of years at least I think). About 20 miles west of Newcastle the main club is in National 3 North. Other than that there isn't much to say...

We actually played Worcester in our first season, at the National Sevens. We lost - needless to say - as at that time Worcester were probably the country's leading U17 girls team and we sort-of weren't! Possibly not as strong today as they used to be - or it may be that the rest of the world has caught up - because they finished behind Kettering in the National Cup - but still a potential winner of the event. Recently went on a pioneering (and unbeaten) tour of Ireland (see earlier post on this blog). We will be dogging their footsteps over the next few weeks as they are also at Herts and National 7s - and we have drawn their second team in the former.

Dorking, from Surrey, are another famous name in girls rugby. Home of the country's (world's?) biggest girls sevens (even bigger than Herts 7s!) their U14 team was unstoppable a couple of seasons ago and most of that side will now be in the U17 team. Winners of South East League Division 1 - but maybe not quite up there with Wimborne who unaccountably were in Division 2 - they seem to have been largely unbeaten over the season, including wins over a few sides we know such as Beckenham (34-10), Havant (36-17), and Worthing (47-25). Unusually for a southern side they seem to have strong forwards. One positive is that, although they seem to score a lot of points, they always seem to concede as well.

The mystery team at the event will be Cockermouth from Cumbria (a little way south of Carlisle). That they call themselves "The Wasps" which may give concerns about a possible colour clash, and they could be our rivals for the "Fairplay" trophy as they were winners of one at a Sevens tournament in Darlington last year. Another interesting thing to note is that town also has a girls rugby league team - which may feature many of the same girls being as it tends to be a summer sport, and which may influence their style of play. Beyond that they have two players in the North East U17 regional squad (who East comfortably beat a few weeks ago), and seem to work with Darlington in a manner not dissimilar (and over a similar distance) to our arrangements with Sudbury.

What of the 10s so far, then? Its an experiment and does not currently feature on next season's draft calendar - which is a shame. In my view - despite "low" numbers in some events - it is significant that the 10s format has attracted at least as many entrants in our part of the country (East/East Mids) as the National Cup did, despite the timing, hard ground, and the lack of "tradition".

A further pleasant change has been that (by the looks of it) there have been more "real" club sides in this event. There seems to be little evidence so far of TDG-packed multi-club teams, which must be better for the game.

I wonder if it is significant that (generally) the most successful heats have been held at clubs with their own junior girls sections? Have other hosts either lacked "contacts", or tended to sit back and wait for the applications come them, or both? Certainly there seems to have been a lack of promotional effort by some hosts.

If the tournaments had only been held earlier in the year (before Easter) I suspect the number of clubs taking part would have at least doubled - many teams effectively close down at Easter each season either because of exam pressure (such as Sudbury, for example) , or because they share their grounds with cricket clubs.

Snag seems to be that RFUW are saying that it cannot be any earlier "because of the regionals" - so does this mean that yet again the interests of the ordinary club player are being sacrificed for the benefit of the (minority) elite? I may just return to this theme (and related ones) after Monday...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Total Pageviews (since June 2009)

Sport Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory