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...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Untapped potential

I've been talking to a few clubs about where they get their players from and the result is interesting - especially from a Letchworth viewpoint because we seem to be a bit unusual.

First it has to be said that making direct comparisons between girls' teams is quite tricky as circumstances vary quite a lot. For example, in Hertfordshire girls' teams tend to be attached to specific clubs in the traditional way, ie. as "their" team. In other words although a club may draw in players from a wider area than the town it "represents", it does not claim to be in any sense the "district" or area team.

Elsewhere things can be a bit different, and although a team may be based at a particular club it may draw on girls from other neighbouring clubs - for example it is recognised that girls from the areas's various minis sections move to this one central club when they reach the age of 12.

Anyway, what I have discovered is this. Over most clubs the majority of players in the girls' team come from families who already play rugby, and in most cases they will have fathers or brothers who play rugby for the same club (or "feeder" club). In one case this accounted for 70% of the girls playing, with most of the rest coming in as friends of the 70%. In the worst case around 30% of girls coming into a team are from families already associated with their club.

This may seem staggeringly obvious, and I guess it is - but there is one exception to this. Because correct me if I am wrong here but the number of daughters or sisters of players from the male side of the club who currently play for us is not unadjacent to zero (or, if Ruby comes back, one!). A few of you come from families who play rugby elsewhere but even that accounts for under 20% of our playing strength.

On the one hand this means we've done an amazing job recruiting players over the past four years - but it also means that somehow we have missed a huge resource right under our noses. Maybe - before we start to hit the schools again, we should be aiming our next recruitment campaign within the club itself?

Incidentally there is little correlation between the number of players from "rugby-playing families" and the relative success of a team. The strongest and most successful two teams I asked were also the teams with the largest and smallest numbers of girls from "rugby" families.

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