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, June 29, 2007

Two day Saracens's girls rugby camp ONLY £10!!

This must be the rugby bargin of the year!!

Saracens are running a two day course (24-25th July) for girls at Welwyn RFC and (thanks to grants) it will only cost £10!

Based on the long-running boys' summer camps, the two day course is specifically aimed at girls aged between 12 and 17 engaging in contact and will provide an opportunity for players to improve their skills under the guidance of qualified coaches and professional Saracens players.

The courses will cover:

  • Handling Skills
  • Tackling & Defence
  • Contact Skills
  • Continuity
  • Dynamicity in your play
  • Support Play
  • Ruck and Maul technique
  • Leaching
  • SAQ & Evasion Skills

Don't miss out on this amazing bargin - only a few places left!! Contact Jacky Shutler on or 0208 368 5325.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The result is in!

As you see, by decisive 17-12 we have our new header - and well done to Mike Alcock, whose design it is.

One or two people commented that the only snag with it is that it does not portray the younger girls in the U15s (or maybe future U12s) so I am playing around with balancing things with some images on the right. Just the one for now... when I have a bit more time I'll see if how another animated gif might work (like that which was popular in the beaten header design).

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

We've got a coach!

Good news! Dave Sharp has been working away for us behind the scenes and has found a coach for us next season. Or, more to the point, two!

So... introducing Simon Hill and his partner Kirsten.

Simon is plays loose-head prop for 1st XV and will be working with you for midweek training and hopefully Sundays as well, specialising on thetechnical aspects of the game. Meanwhile Kirsten will be concentrating on speed and fitness as she also has a background in sports coachins, mainly netball.

Simon has also said that he is ready to start coaching sessions "whenever you are" and will be at the presentation on the 13th, so you can meet him and talk to him about what you want to get out of next season.

With Diddsy (who has now become Danni on her MySpace I note) also on-side we should have the makings of a good coaching set-up next season.

Stevenage - third time lucky (and possible playing partners?)

Those of you with very long memories will recall that Stevenage started on the road to have a girls team at exactly the same time as us. Indeed in 2004 they had a truly kick-ass tag team for Herts Youth Games who murdered us in a pre-games friendly (and did quite well in the actual Games themselves - well better than our last place anyway!).

On the back of that they too set up a girls team who began the 2004/5 season and came within a (missed) conversion of being the first team to beat us. They had some seriously good players, at least two coaches who knew what they were doing, and then...

New Year 2005 came... and no Stevenage players turned up at the regional trials (two of three of them would have walked into the U14 squad that year). Then no show at the first Herts Sevens in Cheshunt. The team seemed to have disappeared.

The following season there was an attempt to revive a side at North Road. It was too late for us to get a game against them, but they combined with OAs, entered a team in the National Cup - and certainly did not disgrace themselves. Two teams were promised for Herts Sevens at Letchworth, then one, then... well, we had Paviors instead.

It was very quiet over there this year (county trials aside), but now we hear that there are making their third attempt. A new Youth Development Officer (YDO) has been appointed called Gareth Lewis (despite the name not obviously Welsh) who has been charged with restarting girls rugby again.

And basically we have said we are interested in helping. Admittedly this did initially result in the usual "check your pockets and run for the hills, its Letchworth!" reaction (what have the club been up to in the past?) but Heather and I smiled sweetly and tried to point out that kidnapping, body snatching and brain washing were all in the past and North Hertfordshire was now part of the civilised world, etc. Honestly, gov, would we lie to you.

Seriously, there would clearly be some advantages to this. They have coaches, a ground that is not as busy as ours at midweek, a paid YDO with links to lots of schools, grants linked to the establishment of a girls team, and so on. And we have the players, the contacts, the experience, and the general off-pitch know-how.

Certainly at U15 level it has the potential to be a match made in heaven (as even if Stevenage could only find three of four girls it would boost our younger team's prospects hugely) while even at U18 level a few more new faces would be useful. In addition the possibility for - say - having mid-week training over there every other week (perhaps on a Wednesday) sugars the pill still more. It even (looking ahead) makes some interesting possibilities for Herts Sevens 2008 ('cause - unless Hertford step up to the plate - it'll probaby be our turn again). And for Stevenage it means that whatever numbers of girls they find they can look forward to a full season of rugby.

Whether anything comes of it we shall see. We have made similar approaches to the north (Biggleswade) when we went up to the Bedfordshire Youth Games. Their coach claimed to have a few girls and a commitment to developing the game, but - again - his reaction on hearing the world "Letchworth" seemed to be to reach for his crucifix and garlic (obviously the black cloak was a bad fashion choice that afternoon) so the fact that we have heard anything back is perhaps not too surprising...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

County news

Obviously you can now pick up the main Herts county news via the links on the left, but its still useful to highlight a few points from yesterday evenings Herts meeting that Heather and I attended, plus pass on some other stuff tha has come to light about Beds

County trials and squads
  • Confirmed that there will be "First" and "Second" team squads for the U18s - but these will not be finalised straughtaway. The 40 or so girls to make up the two squads will be selected at the trials in September, but there will be no allocations to the two separate squads until after the first or second training session. This is so that everyone gets a chance to really show what they can do, and also ensre that no-one gets missed out owing to injury etc.
  • Trails for U18s will again be based on mainly game play - but probably not as club-based teams but on teams made up on the day (and probably with players moved between teams and positions).
  • U15 trails - also on the same day - will follow whatever works on the day, depending on numbers. If there are sufficient numbers the U15s may also run two squads.
  • The aim is to have squads that are big enough so as to allow them to run throughout the season - even after some girls move up to Region.
  • We will probably be asked to host a county game at Letchworth.

Emerging Schools 2007/8

  • A U14 event again next season, despite girls rugby moving up to U15.
  • Clusters of schools WILL be allowed (so if there are not enough girls at your school you could combine with other schools in the area)
  • Obviously no dates etc. yet for any county tournaments, though in practice this will almost certainly be after Christmas
  • But don't delay - when you get back in September start working on your PE teachers
  • This includes Beds schools as we are told that there will be Emerging School in East Midlands County next season as well.
  • No idea what is happening in Suffolk, Sasha - suggest you ask.


  • As some of you may know we have plans about U12s, which Heather outlined yesterday.
  • This includes running an inter-schools competition in November (with probably a U14 competition as well). Local schools in Herts and Beds will be invited (and Highfield have already said "yes". Etonbury sound promising too).
  • In addition there is still a plan to invite U12s from local clubs to the county days.

East Midlands forum

  • We now have a seat on the East Midlands (county) forum as well as the Herts one, thus recognising our over-the-border ambitions. Fern's dad is off to the first meeting next Monday. More about that later.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Header vote... its a tie!

Thanks for voting.. pretty much everyone by the looks of it! Every design picked up at least one vote, and in third place came Design A:

However there were two clear leaders from the start... and in the end, with 10 votes each (and two thirds of all votes between them), they could not be separated:

Design F:

Design H:

So the only thing we can do is have a quick run-off between these two. So its simple now, vote for one or the other. And lets make this one quick, so by Wednesday please...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Superteams - Update 3

The teams have now been entered.

However, due to some problems at the other end there are a few changes. These mainly affect the younger entrants as the 9-11 event is apparently for teams of 14! A slight oversight on the application form!

So the organisers have allowed us to move both of our U12 squads forward to the U14 event - and not worry too much about ages. This does, however, mean that everyone - including the U12s - will now need to be at Hatfield for 10am on 8th July (not 1pm).

The teams therefore will be:

U14 event:

North Herts A

North Herts B

Letchworth Girls

  • Kate Summerfield*
  • Beth Summerfield
  • Aless Stevens
  • Dominic Stevens
  • Lauren Armitage
  • Graham Birch*
  • Isla Mclachlan
  • Alice Sunderland
  • Laura Wennington
  • Hayley Aldridge*
  • Arron Hobbs
  • Kieron Threlfall
U17 event:
Letchworth Girls
Rugby U16s
Letchworth Girls
Rugby U17s
Swedish Meatballs
  • Jess ("Bunchies")*
  • Natalie
  • Emily
  • Fern
  • Carla
  • Sasha
  • Hayley*
  • Hannah (Sasha's friend)#
  • Nichola*
  • Mel
  • Simon
  • Tomas


* Suggested team captain. Based on previous Superteams experience, age, or the fact that they volunteered and no-one else did!

# Pinky has had to withdraw due to work commitments. Fortunately on the day I heard this Sasha also asked if a friend of her's - "Fields" from Reading - could take part. So - in the absence of anyone else - she is in.

All female teams: Note that Superteams is meant to be an event for mixed teams. If you are in an all female team there may be events (probably things like Sumo and Gladiators) where one of you will have to be the "honorary" male entrant. You may like to start to think about who this might be.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Providing referees for mini and junior fixtures

Girls who are currently on the referees course will be expected to referee some mini and junior boys games next season (as Joe did last season). This is not only because this will allow you to use your new skills (opportunities in purely girls games will be limited as you'll be playing at the same time in most cases) but also will be important in ensuring that the rest of the club supports us (coaching being one key area, but there are other areas as well).

We now have the mini and junior fixtures and it will be a good idea if we volunteer to provide officials for certain fixtures ourselves rather than wait to be asked and find dates clash with some important tournament we are playing in. Over the next week or so Heather will therefore be looking at both our fixture list and the mini/junior boys fixtures so she can suggest dates we can provide officials.

So if you have been on the training course she asks you to take a game on a particular Sunday morning it is important you agree to help, if at all possible.

A key early date will be 30th September when the minis are holding a big festival featuring clubs from across North Herts. Apart from being a good early chance for everyone to referee games, this festival will also be an opportunity to spot girls playing at other clubs, especially for U11 and U12, and point them towards the district girls U12 team that we will be attempting to create next season.

Midweek training 2007/8

The senior teams at Letchworth (that's the mens' 1st and 2nd XVs) are now going to be training three times per week - on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays with the first session being an indoor gym session. This obviously has implications for evening training for junior sides, with room having to also be found for boys U13s, boys U15s, boys U17s, and girls as all groups obviously cannot train on one pitch at the same time!

Two age groups will therefore need to move to Tuesday evening, where they will have the advantage of not only having more room on the pitches than on a Wednesday but also having the club physio available on site (as he is there Tuesdays and Thursdays). And because with the U15s and U18s together we are actually one of the larger groups, we are being asked if we could be one of the sections that could switch nights.

This is obviously not exactly what everyone will want to do. You all have got used to Wednesday nights being training nights for the past two or three years (though in the first season we did start on Tuesdays). It has worked well - last season the U17s had the whole pitch to themselves because they started later, which was great.

But the fact is that next season will not be like last - the 1st and 2nd XV normally train from about 7.15 to 9.00, so we are going to be severely limited on space on the pitch (and even off it) almost regardless of the time we train.

So let's not have a reflex "no" to this request (and it is a request - we are not being required to move). Think about it. Would it really be impossible to change days? After all some people currently cannot do Wednesdays and might even find Tuesdays easier. Comments and discussion (signed if possible) below, please.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

New header - electronic vote now open!

Which is the best? Have a look through, decide, and then vote using the box thing below. Voting closes on Saturday (23rd June). If its pretty decisive we'll then go with the winner, very close we may have a "run-off" between the top two or three.

Remember to click on the picture to see each header in its full glory.

To prevent anyone voting lots of times (and there are idiots out there who might!) you will not be able to vote more than once on any one PC... unless you want to go to the hassle of deleting cookies etc. If this causes problems - because there is only one PC at home perhaps, or someone has already voted on the PC you use at school - then send me your vote by email.

Design A:

Design B:Design C:Design D:
Design E:

Design F:
Design G:

Design H:

If you cannot see the voting box above, try going here. If that doesn't work then you can send me your vote by email or retain your anonymity and use the comments box below. However - if you do use comments - please don't be tempted to vote more than once. I can track IP addresses so I will spot it if the same address votes more than once!

The party (presentation)

Just to let everyone know, that i think it will start at around 7:30 till 8
then food from about 8 - 8:30 ( roughly)
then the PARTY then on till .....................late i hope!!!
we deciced that we couldnt just charge adults to pay so everyone will pay on the door, ( we were thinking about doing tickets but i wont see anyone to give them out soo we cant do that)
so we agreed on £3 a ticket per person, everyone paying on the door
i need to know how many people are coming so if u could email me. (i will email you about it) so that we know how many are coming because of food wise.

see you there!!

A busy weekend

For the "off-season" there has been an awful lot of activity this weekend.

On Friday Me, Joe, Nim, Hayley, Carla, and Sasha were at King's Lynn for the East Region annual dinner. No awards this time - Essex, and in particular Basford (who start pre-season training next month - are they mad?) more or less swept the board.

So the most notable event of the evening therefore (well, to be honest "the most notable event that I feel I can actually report") happened five days earlier when Joe mentioned (almost in passing) that the dinner was in King's Lynn - not Newmarket as it had been for the previous two years, and where someone (ah hem...) assumed it would be again. Now that would have been good...

Having trawled King's Lynn for an all-night kebab house (Hayley showing her sophisticated palate again!) those of us who returned home afterwards reached Letchworth around 2.30am. This is a significant fact because barely eight hours later on Saturday morning Hayley and Sasha were at Twickenham where they joined Fern in the role of teaching aids for a coaching demonstration by the England coaching staff. This was all part of the RFUW Conference, where Fern and her dad - Andrew - were "representing" us. Hopefully we'll get some sort of report out of them soon (I have asked).

Then today, as well as the trip over the border (see below) about a third of the U18 squad were on day one of the referees course (including Fern, Ruby, Nikki, Katie, Natalie, Jess, and Emily... I think. May have been more!) - thus we (again!) virtually rescued a training course at Letchworth which had would otherwise have been dangerously undersubscribed! What would the club do without us? As above, a bit of feedback from those who took part would be interesting, if only to encourage (or warn?) anyone else about how useful the course is.

And coming up next week there are several more meetings, and the following week even more meetings, plus day two of the refs course. Does it ever end?

Oh - and...
  • Heather reports that our fixture list for next season is filling up fast, which is good news...
  • And Mike's produced a really great advertising flyer for the team, which we hope to get printed in bulk thanks to the club - copies on display on the 13th unless you catch him (or me) earlier...
  • And Joan Threlfall is working hard on the tour, using her local knowledge (so you might be able to guess where we are going!)...
  • And Hayley, Carla and Tracey are planning the party (get back to them for ideas and any assistance you can offer)...

... so keep watching this space, although there is no rugby there is still a heck of a lot going on!

Header: And one final (?) entry

Unless someone else gets one to me by midnight tonight...

Design H:
(With this one you really DO have to click on the above image to see what it would look like...)

Scouting in sunny Sandy

To Sandy, for Bedfordshire Youth Games. Our mission - to seek out new players and new contacts - to boldly go where no girls club has gone before!

And indeed Bedfordshire does seem a different universe sometimes. It is considered by many a "rugby heartland" - Bedford, two rugby clubs in the National Leagues, was (and maybe still is) the biggest town in the UK without a professional football team - so its almost total lack of any girls rugby beyond the one lonely outpost at Ampthill remains one of the great mysteries of local sport.

What is more getting information about what is happening in the county is quite maddeningly hard work. I suspect that smuggling state secrets out of Moscow during the cold war was probably easier than finding out what is happening in the world of junior Bedfordshire sport! And so a mission in person to this unknown land seemed a good idea.

The "away" team that beamed down onto Planet Sandy was me, Mike and Heather Alcock. What we discovered was that Beds Youth Games is a more low key affair compared with the two-day festival we have in Hertfordshire, but then Bedfordshire is a rather smaller world with only four districts (including Luton) compared to Herts ten.

Sandy School has some rather tasty sports facilities though - I suspect that anyone from any North Herts school would go several shades of green with deep jealousy if they had seen it (and quite what colour someone from Highfield would go I hardly dare think about!).

We spoke to coaches and players at the three U14 girls tag teams (Luton did not send a side) and the four U11 mixed teams. The lack of a Luton side in the older age group, plus the fact that the Mid Beds U14s was being run by Ampthill and included no-one from the east side of the district at all (a slight oversight we felt - and I dare say Samantha would agree!!) meant that it was not quite as fruitful on the player front as we might have hoped.

However the girls from the Bedford U14 team were very enthusiastic (maybe they are reading this? If so - hi, girls!) not least because they did not know that rugby was available for girls. Some seriously talented players in that team - and quite... "physical"... too (always encouraging to see a tag player being pulled up for such things - they are clearly ready for the next level!).

In the U11s most of the girls in the Mid Beds side were from Biggleswade (but no Phil??? How was the team selected?). They looked good, if at times a little raw - one girl called Hannah was seriously impressive though. Shame we couldn't get our North Herts Girls together to play them - it would have been interesting.

Obviously we are not going to get players directly from a U11 squad though due to the age group changes - so the main aim with this age group was to pick up some useful contacts for the possible U12 girls team and tournament Heather is planning. In the process we learnt that both Biggleswade and Leighton Buzzard are attempting to set up girls teams (indeed every coach we spoke to said that their club was doing this - which is obviously remarkable news. RFUW Development Officer Claire Sanderson should get down to Bedfordshire immediately!).

We told them about the Rochford festival, asked if there was anything we could do to help, and have now also written to both clubs reinforcing the fact that we would be delighted to offer any girls they may have the chance to play - especially at U15 level - and as a "joint team" in some fixtures if need be.

Ampthill also seem to have a new coach - he was running the Mid Beds U14s so there may be some hope of the game being revived there. And Biggleswade also have a female coach who wants to coach girls!

All very encouraging for the game in Bedfordshire. If the coaches and clubs involved follow up on their words then by 2008 there will be as many teams in Beds are there are in Herts - because the talent and enthusiasm is there in spades!

But personally I returned to base just a bit worried that in practice one of the most enthusiastic teams there didn't know that rugby for girls (beyond tag) existed. So will the words turn into action?

News from Canada: Weldon compete for the Ontario title

Meanwhile 3,000 miles away or so our Easter tourists I E Weldon have been competing in their Provincial championship - well, they were about 10 days ago or so but the reports in their local paper have only just reached me. Already champions of central Ontario (COSSA) they were seeded at number 2 for the Ontario title in a competition that included 15 other regional champions (girls' rugby is a seriously big game in Ontario!).

Weldon went into the event with more games under their belts than anyone else - 23 games, and 20 wins. A first round game saw them up against Senator O'Connor C.S. from Toronto, who they brushed aside 30-0. Lauren Wizowski scored two tries, Courtney Phinney, Laura Plahuta and Amanda Staples and "our" Robin Callaghan added a try each.

Next up, however, was Glenview Panthers, from Cambridge Ontario who were unaccountably seeded only 7 despite an unbeaten 20-game season.

Playing into what sounds like something of a gale didn't help our heros whose main strength - as we saw- tended to be their passing and running. The Wildcats had the wind at their back in the first half, but they were halted by Glenview Park's strong (well the paper says "punishing") defence. Glenview Park sneaked a 5-0 lead at halftime, and then added two more tries in the second half.

Moreover for some reason Weldon's basic play sounds like it fell to pieces a bit (had they been celebrating, Letchworth-style, the first round win?)and they made a number of mistakes when it had the ball.

Coach Kirk Wilson said that "Our own possessions were really our downfall" and added that Weldon's tackling wasn't as crisp and sound as it usually is, which led to even more problems.

"We missed some tackles," he said. "They weren't blatant misses, we just didn't tackle them enough to put them on the ground and allow our defence to get set again."

After the loss, the Wildcats were assigned what the Canadians call a "friendly match" (essentially a classification game) with Applewood Heights (from Peterborough, Ontario... could almost be an East Anglian competition going by the place names!) for fifth place with Weldon winning end of an close game 27-24.

"It was a great win," Kirk said. "The season ended on a positive note."

In her final game as a Wildcat, Number 8 Corie Lewis scored three tries. Lauren Wizowski and Laura Plahuta adding the other two, with Lauren adding a conversion. Amanda Staples also played her last game but it sounds like the rest of the squad will still be together next season (sounds like another team I can think of!) so Kirk is confident that they could win their local title next year at least. Kirk expects that Lauren Wizowski and Robin will provide take the lead next season (so no chance that Robin might be able to make a few games for her other team...).

Full scores and score information can be found here.

PS: Incidentally it is fascinating to see the reports on rugby in Canada, where in every case they talk about either "boys' rugby" or "girls' rugby". Compare and contrast that to here where its "rugby" or "girls' rugby". Sometimes a innocent thing like a prefix (or lack of one) says so much...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Header: four more designs

Four more designs have been submitted for your consideration. Voting will open on Monday - in the meanwhile take a look...

Design D:
Design E:
Design F:
Design G:

Bedfordshire Youth Games - tomorrow [UPDATE]

I know that apparently its "Fathers' Day", but is anyone planning (or available) to go up to Bedfordshire Youth Games this Sunday in Sandy to do a bit of scouting/ recruitment/ contact making?

Girls will be playing tag rugby at both U11 and U14 levels - so potentially there will be nearly 60 girls there we could sign up (being as, other than Ampthill, there isn't really anywhere else for them to go). I have some posters and I guess could run off a few leaflets. But I really do not want to do it myself - these things are much more effective if we have girls talking to girls.

Not talking about an all-day thing - just an hour or two. So get your father settled into a comfy chair, put his feet up, give him a few cans - and then off to Sandy, find the tournament, hand out leaflets, take contact addresses, come home. He won't notice you are gone. What do you say?

The Games are at Sandy Sports and Community Centre (Engayne Avenue, Sandy, Beds SG19 1BL) and are being opened by Charlotte Edwards (England cricket captain... who I remember when she as about 12...) at 10am, finishing around 2.30.

Friday, June 15, 2007


hey everyone!,

Was just wondering what does everyone want to do for the party?
I was thinking that we could just have some food, then have a party with a DJ?
The only problem is we only have £150 and most DJ'S charge tht per night so if u know anyone?? i have asked the club to seeif we can get the usual one that they have but nothing yet....
could u just email me and let me know???
Thank you. Hayley xxx

Thursday, June 14, 2007

ELVs. Deadly dull - but could change the game you play

The laws of rugby union never stay still for long - if it is one thing that the IRB constantly do it is tinker around with them, either in the interest of safety or in order to make the game more "open" and so better to watch (but not necessarily play) - especially on TV. One reason for this is that rugby players are clever people and every time the IRB close one loop-hole, someone soon finds another!

Sometimes these changes are small things - like the changes in the law for the scrum which affected senior rugby in January. Sometimes its more major things like the points value for a try , or whether you can lift in line-outs (illegal until about ten years ago).

Currently doing the rounds is a series of "ELVs" or "Experimental Law Variations". The official documents on this are quite strikingly dull - eyes start to glaze over fairly quickly I find - but some carefully trained legal operatives armed with large quantities of caffeine and similar stimulants have now worked their way through it all.

Opinion seems divided - though there seems agreement that if these law changes do come in (and these things can happen quickly - in theory the new rules could come in as early as January 2008!) the change will be significant. In fact one referee's federation claim it will be "one of the most seismic changes in rugby's history". So what changes would we see if these rules came in? The answer is lots of things...
  • Many offences at the "breakdown" (tackles, rucks, mauls, etc.) which used to be penalties would become "free kicks" - only offside, not releasing, or preventing a player releasing would remain penalties
  • "Offside" laws would be "rigorously enforced" and would apply immediately a player was tackled, not when a ruck or maul forms
  • The ball could no longer be passed back in the 22 and kicked out on the full (line out from where the ball was kicked)
  • Mauls could be pulled down (so the end of the "rolling maul")
  • Handling in the ruck would be allowed [though rumour has it that this one may have been dropped]
  • Offside at the scrum would be 5m behind the back foot, not at the back foot as it is now.
  • Removal of corner flags (so touching the flag would no longer rule out a try)
  • Any number of players in a line out (though a minimum of two)
  • Extra "flag officials" to mark the new offside lines

Why change? Well, Bruce Cook from the IRB says:

"What we want is a game that's easier to understand for players, spectators and referees, and to avoid the outcome of games resting so heavily on referees. To the casual observer, rugby has a minefield of laws, many of which are regularly interpreted in different ways by referees across the globe at every level of the game.

If you take the breakdown, for example - that's the biggest problem area. There are a heap of offences that can take place. Depending on what the referee thinks and what his assessment is of the situation, he will decide on whether he gives a penalty or not. And you'll have one referee that will penalise a certain situation and one that will not."

There have already been some experiments with the rules (see this match report) - and it is significant that the IRB see these as being a success:

Just looking at the Scottish games you're no longer seeing penalties occurring left, right and centre at the breakdown, and you get the feeling referees are no longer driving the outcome of games.

Generally it seems that backs love these new rules, forwards hate them - see Total Flanker's comments and this article in the Guardian last month.

What effect will it have on our game?. I suspect most girls teams will be delighted, especially the typical backs-based "southern sides".

However we (at U17/18 level at least) have always been rather forwards based - less so in 2007/8 thanks to Mike's coaching and the influx of great backs from the U14s - but it is still where out strength lies. It is, to be honest, a major reason why we can hold our own (or more) against theoretically "better" opposition - rarely losing a lead once we have gained it in what are generally low-scoring games. It would prompt a significant rethink about how we play our games.

So - watch the rugby press. Things that old men in dull suits decide in remote committee rooms thousands of miles away so as to get a bigger TV audience could change your game.

And those of you going in the referee course next month - why not ask what the current position is?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Party organisers found!

Hayley, Carla, and Hayley's mum (Tracey) have stepped forward and agreed to organise the party end of the festivities on 13th July. So if you have any ideas or suggestions about what the party should involve, or if you can help in any way with anything, these three are the people to speak to... not me!!

The basic idea at the minute is that the presentation will be from c7.30 to 8.00, food from 8.00 to 8.30, then the party from c8.3o to... late!

Decisions need to be taken on several things - like we have £150 for the evening coming from RFU but that may not be enough (with food and a DJ and sundry other things it probably won't be in fact!) so we may need to look at tickets for some groups (non-players?). So make you views known!

New blog header - the first entries

The first entries in the "design a new header" competition have arrived (see below - you should be able to click on each image to pull up the full sized version).

Next week I'll open the voting so you can all choose the best design. In the meanwhile, take a look - and maybe be inspired to have a go yourselves!

Design A:Design B: Design C:

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

National 7s: Debate about the date

Apparently concerns have been expressed about the timing of the National Sevens - ie. generally Spring Bank Holiday weekend. I gather that there have been comments raised about clashes with exams, making the season too long, etc. etc.

Anyway Keeley Fathers (Competitions Office at RFUW) has been charged with doing a brief review of the situation. A bit late, one is tempted to suggest, being as the "final" calendar came out last month but it is good to see the RFUW responding to such concerns.

I have briefly replied already (see below) but clearly if anyone else wants to make any comments as well (especially if they differ substantially from mine) by all means do so. There is no closing date for comments given but I suspect that the timetable is short.

What I said was...

Just to record that at Letchworth there have never been any concerns expressed about the timing of the Junior National 7s.

As they are normally in the weekend at the start of the May half-term holiday concerns about exams would seem to be exaggerated. All by one (I think) of our U17 girls came to this years 7s - even though only 12 could actually play, and the same was the case the previous year too.

Secondly my fear - if you moved it - would be that you would would put on what would otherwise be a club fixture weekend - and there are precious few of those as it is.

It is also said that it makes the girls season is longer - but that is only true for the clubs that enter 7s. Those that do not do have a XVs season that is he conventional length.

Finally May is actually evolving into a self-contained Sevens season of its own for junior clubs - this year we had Dorking 7s on the 13th, Herts 7s on the 20th, and Nationals on the 26th. I would suggest you reinforce and support this development, because if you move the Nationals then what happens to Dorking and Herts?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Introducing... Diddsy

Aka Danielle Edwards, who is returning to Letchworth after three years at the University of Sunderland where she played for the university team. "Diddsy" (as she has been better known for some years) is looking to continue playing when she returns (probably at Hitchin) but has also offered to help out with the coaching at Letchworth!

Obviously this is not a 100% solution to our problems - Diddsy will have the same clashes between playing and coaching on Sundays that Rachel had, and the U18s in particular will probably still need some experienced specialist coaching from elsewhere in the club (or beyond) - but if she can join us it will give us a core of consistency for the midweek coaching.

Her university degree subject (majoring in photography) could also be useful!

Diddsy should be at the Presentation/Party on 13th July so we can meet here there. In the meanwhile you can discover a bit more about her on her MySpace from where the above photograph has been culled.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Wanted: a new header!

The header... not great is it? Over a year old AND not looking too good now its been expanded to fill the space available.

However, its only a temporary measure because someone is going to design a new one - and that could be you. No real restrictions - that than the width has to be 960 pixels (no real restrictions on height, but something around 200 pixels would be about right).

Anything you like, and once I get a few entries we can have a vote on the winner. Assuming I get more than one entry, of course.

President's XV: And the other winners were...

The RFU have published details of all of the winners of the President's XV awards.

There are some interesting awards out there, not least the "Girl Power" award where we knew that Welwyn had been runners-up. The winner, however, was Cockermouth. Not normally a club name that trips off the tongue when thinking of the senior or junior game, but clearly they have been busy as the RFU praises them for "the staggering development of women’s and girls rugby" at the club. In fact this otherwise quiet Cumbrian town is obviously a hotbed of hard work as they also won the award for attracting volunteers. If the tour to the North East goes ahead it may be worth popping over the Pennines to for the day to visit such a go-ahead club.

The other Girl Power runner up was from the same area - but the rather more familiar name of Darlington Mowden Park.

Our own award was, in contrast, a southern affair as we pipped Windsor and Northolt rugby clubs to the modernisation prize.

On the girls' rugby circuit Peterborough may be worth a visit as well - runners-up in the "best facilities" award - but other than that the other club winners do not (I think) have girls' teams. A complete list of all winners can be found here.

Two awards were not made (those for "Social Inclusion" and "Fundraising Event") and several have incomplete lists of runners-up - whether due to a lack of entries or quality of entries it does not say. I would venture to suggest that the lack of an award in the former of the two categories should give the game some pause for thought.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Party organiser wanted

I am getting close to being mildly concerned that no-one has yet stepped forward to organise the party end of 13th July - because if you think that I am doing it you are severely mistaken. I can do the formal end of the evening - the presentation etc. - but after that and maybe the food that is me finished. From 8.30 it is theoretically party time. I'm not a party person at the best of time and do not feel remotely qualified to organise such an occasion, especially for you lot.

Its not that major really - we have the venue, we know how much money we can spend - but someone needs to actually decide things like what the party will involve, what will go down well, who will be there, etc. These were all questions I had no real answer to on Thursday.

For example I presume you want a DJ? Well, if you do the club will know of people who have done things before, but they need to be asked to book someone. And very soon. And so on.

So someone needs to step forward to co-ordinate all this very soon as otherwise there will be a presentation on 13th... and that will be that! Don't wait for someone else to do it!

Redesign... Take 2

Thanks for the comments everyone.

Based on what you have said I have made a fair few revisions...
  • The fonts are now the same style and size as the "old" design
  • The sidebars are now shaded - so the central text stands out better
  • Club-related links are on the right of the screen, other links are on the left.
  • Despite having two sidebars, central text block is more or less the same size as the "old" design. In practice it will vary a bit depending on your screen size, but its never less than about 50% of the screen width.
  • Things like dates and titles and such are now clearer - in most cases bigger
  • The "honours list" at the top is now bigger and clearer

Clearly the main problem is that header is now too small - so a new design is definately needed. So... over to you all on that. Ideally I want a new header in time for the party/presentation on 13th July.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Reaction to the redesign - and new design a new header

So... what do you think? Looks a bit different, maybe?

Blogger - on which this sits - have introduced some significant improvements to what can be done with the look and feel of sites, and so - after a crash course in CSS and XML, much pencil chewing, and a good deal of abusive language - I've converted the blog over to the new system so as to take advantage of it all. And - not that most of you will care too much - its makes managing the site monumentally easier.

As you see, the text now fills the screen better, there is no annoying gap at the top of the screen, and the long list of links is now in two columns so that things can be found more easily.

One new feature is that news appearing from one blog can now be automatically appear on another - so if you look at the bottom of the left column you will see the latest from the Herts County blog appearing there. Adding things like the new video "advert" that Mike is working on will also be far easier now that it would have been before.

I'll probably carry on fiddling a bit, but for now are there any reactions or suggestions? Is this any better? Or worse? Would the links be better in one column, or two for example?

Design a New Header (part 2)

One effect of all this is that the header at the top of the screen no longer has to conform to tight limits on size and width - and indeed the old header now looks a bit odd. I did ask if anyone had any alternative designs last month - Phil sent in one - and I was going to ask for people to vote on the new header, but given the increased freedom Blogger have now provided it may be worth revisiting that.

So - before going to a vote - has anyone any else got any suggestions for a new design?

Ruby's back!

More good news from yesterday evening - Ruby Sharp has been given the all clear to return to the field next season!

Ruby - who has been playing so long that she makes Sasha look like a novice - was a key member of our U14 team in the first season, coming a very close second to Hayley in the tables of points scored (something like 95 to Hayley's 110) including what is still a record seven tries in a single game - against Chesham in the Herts Sevens in 2005. Ruby was also one of four U14s to be selected for the regional squad in that first season - along with Nichola, Hayley and Carla.

Her back problem appeared in training at the start of the 2005/6 season and she has not played since the Rochford Festival of October 2005. She was due to have captained the U14s that season, and her loss was a big blow what was an otherwise inexperienced squad. She also missed all of last season, which would have been her first in the U17s, but thanks to the age group changes she can still look forward to three years at the high level.

Mind you the game has moved on a bit since 2004/5. In Hertfordshire the eight or ten teams that existed in our first season have consolidated on four major clubs - none of which can be described as easy opponents - and a similar thing seems to have happened in parts of Essex, giving us better opponents but rather fewer of them. Its also mildly amusing now to recall how horrified people (including her father) were that first year by the idea that we might travel as far as west London for fixtures - might be looked on as being practically in our back yard these days!

Ruby won't have long to get back into the groove - in fact she is going to have to hit the ground running to revive her representative rugby as the county trials are in early September, and regional trials for East may be in December - not long to prepare after a two year lay-off. Apart from anything else, Ruby obviously has no set position. She may have played fly-half in our first season, but that was because she was the one who could most reliably catch the ball... will it be her best position today?

But - hot on the heals of the departure of one "legend" (Nim) its great news to have another one coming back!

Coaching 2007/8: a progress report

Meeting with the club last night (due to start 8pm, started 9pm, immediately preceeded by cricket match v Welwyn [we won!]... Total time at home... minimal. "I thought you said the rugby season had finished"... "erm, well yes...")

Anyway... club's head of coaching (Phil "Muddy" Waters) says our lack-of-coach problem is the clubs major challenge. Various ways of finding someone discussed - including maybe even paying someone.

However some "fall-backs" agreed... including a rota of coaches to work with us on Wednsdays (and Sundays when we have no games). Also Dave Sharp said he might spend some time with you, especially now that Ruby is back. Many of these coaches will be Level 2 - so, though not dedicated to us for the season, they will be pretty good.

Also there is a student returning to Letchworth after three years playing the game at University of Sunderland who has said that she might be able to "help out".

Obviously the main problem is our away games because they are considerably further amd require a much greater commitment than boys games do... but we can get by there (and the games are videoed so the coaches can watch them and work out what needs doing).

So - we are getting somewhere...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

U17s: Free coaching from England coaches - at Twickenham!!

As part of the RFUW Conference at Twickenham on 16th June (see below ad nauseum) there will be a number of coaching workshops being given by England coaches for the benefit of coach delegates to the conference.

However, the coaches need someone to coach - and ideally several someones - so the call is going out for any U17s to come down to "Headquarters" and spend the afternoon working with the best coaches in the women's game - and (so far as I am aware) without you having to pay a penny!

In fact the whole conference is only £5, so actually its worth paying for the whole thing as you'll get fed as well if you do!.

For more information contact Sam Marshall or Amanda Bate as soon as possible.

Vacancy: Club shopkeeper

The club shop is an important service which also makes a major contribution to the funding of all junior rugby at the club (including the girls section) and Dave Sharp - the new club chairman - has asked if anyone would be interested in taking on the role of "shopkeeper".

Basically this would involve taking control of stock ordering, keeping the shop looking good, ensuring the shop is open when needed, and organising a rota of volunteers. The club also pays £5 per hour while the shop is open.

If anyone is interested please contact Dave (07860 439837) for more details .

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The U14s season overview

Unfortunately we don't have anything like the full score and individual records for the U14s that the U17s have, mainly due to the girls playing in a number of different combinations with other clubs (and sometimes under different names!) which makes record keeping a bit tricky!


Overall the results for all club games played during the season which included Letchworth players (regardess of what the team actually called itself) were:

Played: 18 - Won 8
Wins: Cramberleigh (2), Hertford, Kettering, Saracens, Thomas Becket, Welwyn (2)

Now that is actually an impressive list, including all main county rivals and the eventual U14 Sevens winners. Okay these were achieved - to a greater or lesser extent - by combining with a variety of other clubs, but even so - and considering that you are actually all U13s (if not younger) not U14s - it is something to be proud of.


These results included three tournaments:
  • Rochford - where we were helped by some Boudiceas, finished third - and were the highest ranking Hertfordshire team;
  • National Cup - where a couple of you appeared in a mixed county team that reached the semi-finals
  • Herts Sevens - where we were helped by several clubs. It was a tough draw for you all, but you performed well - and above all enjoyed the day.
Looking ahead:

The two big problems have been player numbers, and a lack of opposition. It was just bad luck that we had a whole run of fixtures after Christmas against teams who turned out not to have U14s - compounded by the one game that we had arranged against a club with a U14 side being cancelled when they double-booked, not to mention the Kettering debacle.

We are all therefore really proud of how you have all stayed together. Hopefully we can again try recruit a few more girls next season so that as U15s you will be able to stand alone more often!

In the meanwhile if is likely that the U18s and U15s next season will work together much more - which most clubs do, and which we did in out first season (and it worked well). As for coaches - fingers crossed but I might have someone who can at least "help out". And it could be a female coach too (as some of you were hoping) but no more for now. Also several U18s will have coaching certificates and will be looking to try out their skills on volunteers...

Finally.... Superteams - don't forget! Laura has already said she wants to take part, so lets have a few more of you!

The U17s season overview

This season we have had the largest U17s squad since the Girls section was formed in 2004, we’ve played the most matches and we’ve had - by far - the most success. So John asked me to delve through the records to present a short review of the season starting with the overall statistics …..

Matches :

Played : 46/Won : 25/Drawn : 1

In all we played against 25 different teams of which we defeated 18 at least once during the season - so, obviously, one of next season’s targets should be to beat the other 7 (Reading, Welwyn, Worcester, Wimbourne, Paviors, Hertford & Vampires)!

Tries and Points

In total, Letchworth U17s scored 90 tries in the 46 games of which 32 were converted giving a total of points scored of 514. An average of almost 2 tries and just over 11 points per game. So who scored them? Well, I guess most of you will have more than a sneaking suspicion as to who scored most tries …… but who came second on the try scoring table? And on the points scoring table? And who came third? And fourth? And fifth? Some questions may not be as easily answered as who was the top try scorer (let’s just call her “Player H” for now).

Anyway, I’ll be coming to all that later …


There were 13 friendly matches this season starting at Milton Keynes on 1st October where a new feature of Letchworth play was very evident ... having gone 2 tries behind, the Letchworth girls got down to business and snatched victory by 22-19. This determination to succeed from adversity was a vital feature in the success that was to come on the tour and in tournaments later in the season. Of the remaining friendlies 6 were won and 6 lost.


We entered 7 tournaments this season – Beckenham, Rochford, the National Cup (with Sudbury), Regional 10s, National 10s, Herts 7s and National 7s - and came away with 4 trophies!

The first trophy of the season, which was also the first outright tournament win that Letchworth Girls have achieved, was at Rochford in October when a massive team effort in all 4 games had them concede only 1 try while scoring 10 themselves! Star try scorer of the day was Hayley who ran in 6 of them including the only score in the opening game against the home team, Rochford. The final against Sudbury was also decided by a single try this time scored by Katie from a scrum near the Sudbury line. Regrettably, that was the only time Letchworth beat Sudbury throughout the season ….but it was a very good time to do it!

In the National Cup, 'Letchbury' finished 3rd in the semi-final beaten by Wimborne and Welwyn.

The second trophy came at the Regional 10s tournament at Leicester where the only draw of the season (against Vampires) and a defeat to Paviors left the girls needing to beat Kettering to continue to the next phase. This feat was achieved thanks to the Katie/Nim partnership yeiding 3 converted Kettering’s 2. The final was between Letchworth and Paviors and Paviors proved to be too strong for us again running out winners 22-0. So, second place for Letchworth, a place in the National 10s finals and our second award of the season – the Fairplay trophy.

The third trophy came at the National 10s finals at Lichfield on a pleasant, sunny, afternoon ….. alright, strike that last part ….. on an afternoon so wet and cold that we would have been warmer and drier if we had jumped in the river! An initial victory over Dorking, thanks to a try by Sasha, was followed by a narrow defeat to Welwyn and then, in progressively wetter and wetter conditions, by losses to the Wonderful W’s (Wimbourne & Worcester) who showed their class in the awful conditions. With so many of the girls feeling really cold, we wrapped them up and bundled them off home without realising that we had won the Fairplay trophy here as well!

The fourth trophy was at the National 7s in Leighton Buzzard where we were drawn in a group with Dorking, Reading & Worcester. An initial narrow victory over Dorking was followed by two defeats which meant Letchworth were in the Plate competition semi-final against Basford. Letchworth won this very tight match by the narrowest of margins – Nim’s conversion being the difference between the sides. The Plate final was a rematch of the first game of the day against Dorking and this time Letchworth scored an emphatic win 24-5 thanks to Hayley’s 4 tries.

The Exeter Tour

The first Letchworth Girls rugby tour to Devon and Cornwall at Easter was a great success. There were two hard fought matches against Liskeard-Looe and Exeter Saracens both of which were won by Letchworth albeit the Liskeard-Looe game required a Hayley special on the last play of the game to secure victory 20-17!

IE Weldon College

In early April we played host to 'Canada Day' - a set of friendly matches centred around the touring side from IE Weldon College in Ontario, Canada. Letchbury played the tourists, snatching a narrow win 17-10, and a Barbarians side comprising players from some 4 teams who were defeated 10-7.

Try and Point Scorers

Before I give you the list of who scored what this season, I’d like to say a word about those who did not appear on the scoresheet - rugby is a team sport and the players who support the try scorers are every bit as vital to the success of the team as those who do the scoring. Now that I’ve got that off my chest, the top scorer is … … … … well, you really don’t need me to tell you who player H is, but have you figured out the others yet?

Try scorers

37 : Hayley Guilder
10 : Sasha Acheson
7 : Naomi Parnell
6 : Katie Alcock
5 : Rosie Randfield, Natalie Threlfall
4 : Carla Kelly
3 : Charlie Hughes, Jess Robinson
2 : Sophie Boorman
1 : Nikki Alcock, Rosie Randall

Points Scorers

189 : Hayley Guilder
87 : Naomi Parnell
52 : Sasha Acheson
30 : Katie Alcock
27 : Natalie Threlfall
25 : Rosie Randfield
20 : Carla Kelly
17 : Jess Robinson
15 : Charlie Hughes
10 : Sophie Boorman
5 : Nikki Alcock, Rosie Randall

It’s been a great season! Well Done!!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Calling all budding refs, coaches, lineswomen and managers!

We are planning to hold a Girls Rugby Festival At Letchworth in November for U12s and, maybe, U14s as a run up to the Emerging Schools competition. The idea is for you older girls to help coach the teams and to referee the games. We will also need help in organising, pitch marshalling, scoring, publicity, liaison with schools, etc.

Those who want to coach or referee need to go on one of the courses being organised such as the referees course on 17/24th June.

If you want to be involved, please contact Heather ( or Katie ( as soon as possible indicating in which area(s) you would like to be involved.

Monday, June 04, 2007

"Official" National 7s photos published

Sportsmatters have published their gallery of photos from the National Sevens.

Not many of us this time - just three from the Plate Final featuring Sasha about to take out someone, Nim in the process of ending their TDG girl's run, and someone else tackling in same game (any ideas?).

Katie also features three times in the presentations.

Party on!

The date for the party RFU President's XV Award Presentation looks like being the date we wanted - Friday 13th July with the presentation somewhere around 7.30, to be followed by ... an "appropriate celebration".

I'm sure we can arrange for our other four trophies to be on display, plus maybe the tour stuff and the Canadian flag.

I'll sort out the official side of things (ie. the presentation itself), but didn't someone else volunteer to organise the above celebration? If so could they remind me who they are and start discussing things with Mars asap?

Superteams - progress so far.

U17s we have a galaxy of stars:
  • Jess ("Bunchies")
  • Fern
  • Carla
  • Sasha
  • Hayley
  • Natalie
  • Emily
  • Pinky
  • Nichola + friends

Yell if I've missed someone. This gives us two teams, plus a third (probably Nichola's lot) entered under another name (probably "North Herts" - see below). Might need a male if anyone can find one.

For the U11s we have, so far:

  • Kate Summerfield
  • Beth Summerfield
  • Aless Stevens
  • Dominic Stevens
  • Isla McLachan
  • Graham Birch

So one team at least already. We'll probably enter this lot as "North Herts Girls" partly to avoid upsetting any sensibilities with other clubs that some already belong to, but also so that if they win anything it can go towards the U12 set-up that is being planned.

Thus far no U14s though. As there is an overlap between the U11s and U14s (because 11 year olds can play in either) even one or two U14s coming forward would give us the basis of a team - and I am sure we have a hydrotechnician who would like to take part as well. So come on girls!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Ya got trouble, my friend, right there in River City

Doing something a bit different, something that stands out, tends to attract sniping and it is with no pleasure I note that for once the guns are pointing at someone else.

The Essex Blog has been going through a small hiatus over the past few days. Exactly what has been behind it all is not entirely clear, but the blog now has a new name and no longer displays the Essex badge. A few guesses can be made by reading the latest, however - clearly Chris Emerson is not a happy person at the moment.

Its all a pity as the Essex Blog (as I will continue to call it, there being no copyright on a 1,000 year old placename) has been quite entertaining of late. Okay it has tended to major in the activties of one team - but as Chris says, you can only publish what you are sent. Hopefully other clubs will now take up Chris's invitation to supply information.

Anyway, good luck Essex blog team - makes our little rivalries in Hertfordshire suddenly seem quite tame!

More on videos

Remember at the start of the season as an experiment I converted a few of the early videos and added a link to them from here?

It wasn't entirely a popular one as the quality was a bit iffy, so we didn't carry on with it - but I happened to take a look at them again today and (apart from a few comments, some appreciative, some less so) the viewing figures are fairly remarkable...
  • v Milton Keynes (first half) 388
  • v Milton Keynes (second half) 489
  • v Westcliff (first half) 508
  • v Welwyn 519
  • v Havant 987
  • v Westcliff (second half) ... 3,397!!!!???

What on earth has been going on here? How come the second half of that game is so staggeringly popular (and before you ask its not because its been posted somewhere wierd, other than one of the the Westcliff girl's MySpace). Five people have even made it a favourite!


Saturday, June 02, 2007

England motivational videos

I saw a few of these at an RFUW conference a year or so back, but now some have appeared on YouTube. And they are awesome!

I mean seriously fantastic stuff here. Okay there might be issues of matching the music better to the video (and the choice of music is a bit cliched at times) - but really if you want to advertise women's rugby these are amazing. Fantasic. Wonderful. Pick your own word. Only snag is that it isn't abundantly clear who is playing in some cases. Well, in most cases actually... not that that really matters much. And some clips are reused in more than one video...

A thought though - I wonder if we could get some Letchworth motivational videos like these? Over to you, Mike!!

But on with the action..
Says "England U19s" but looks like Nomads v a senior England team at Broadstreet. Probably my favourite this one - some fantastic moves, runs and tries!
"England U19s" again - but more of the same by the looks of it.

Labelled "England Academy v Holland, 2005", but as it seems to be clips from a number of games so it presumably was video was produced to inspire the team before that game.

Clips seem to be from England v Ireland, but again produced for England Academy

Clips from various England games produced for England Academy (rather similar to second video)

Called "Extending the Possibilities", again clips from various England games (music doesn't start until about 25 seconds in by the way - do not adjust your sets!)

A question for coaches

Just what the h*** was Saracens and England full back Claire Allen trying to demonstrate in this short coaching clip?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Women's rugby news site launches [Links corrected!]

Women's Rugby Review has exploded on the scene - I say "exploded" as the author "Total Flanker" (aka Barry French) has already written 23 articles on women's rugby worldwide since he started on 13th May, which isn't bad going. Certainly it will be interesting to see if he keeps it up.

Whether it can really claim to be "THE place for all your worldwide women's rugby news and views" is maybe too early to judge, though the site already includes stories from the UK, Europe, Africa, and North America. It is clearly the work of someone with some writing ability, not to mention a good deal of blog coding nous, and I would also suggest a fair amount of time on his hands as he is running a second, rather more eclectic (but nonetheless rather fun) site called Total Flanker.

This does reveal more about the guy, apparently a 42 year-old ex-back row forward formerly from London but now resident in or near to Chesham. That's Chesham from Bucks - the team Welwyn recently beat 108-0 in the 10s - not to be confused (and I frequently do) with Cheshunt, the town in Hertfordshire near Potters Bar who Ruby scored seven tries against in a single sevens game back in 2005 - a fact I often feel not unrelated to their folding soon afterwards.

Anyway there is no obvious explanation for his interest in the women's game (other than spotting a gap in the market maybe). He rather majors in the adult side of things - though we do get a brief mention in one article.

Still its a good start from young Barry but can he last the pace? Its a marathon this blog writing lark, not a sprint...

Incidentally the best and most comprehensive listing of women's and girls' rugby blogs is still to be found on Saturday's a Rugby Day - still the best blog on women's rugby to be found anywhere.

[Apologies for duff links when this was first posted - these have now been corrected!]

A letter to Three Counties Radio

Life can be annoying at times, but occasionally there are things which thoroughly hack me off and today was one of them. An innocent search for something (I forget what for now) took me past the BBC Three Counties Radio website.

A few moments on this blinkered, football-obsessed website resulted in the follow. If anyone wishes to follow suit, be my guest. probably won't do much good but it made me feel a little better...

"Dear Three Counties

Why is the sport pages of the Three Counties website - and especially junior sport - almost solely devoted to one sport - football?
  • I see you reported on Herts Youth Games - but only on the football. There were maybe a dozen other events going on but you ignored them all it seems
  • You have a part of your site devoted to advertising coaching vacancies - but only for football clubs
  • You feature match reports - but only for football

There is a huge amount of junior sport going on the region - often at a very high level - but you are ignoring virtually all of it. For example, this season I have been the Regional Manager for girls rugby in the East of England - a sport which your website barely acknowledges exists.

In fact your station's coverage include parts of three regions - Thames Valley, East, and East Midlands. The latter are two of the strongest regions in the country - East Midlands were runners up at this year's championships, and East were third. East Midlands includes at least one England U19 player it its ranks, while east fielded three girls from the elite national training group. There are future England internationals out there... but they fail to get a mention on your site.

Compare that with the junior sport you do headline. How many future England players were playing for "Memorial Park" or "Watling Saints" whose activities you are currently featuring?

Your area includes Welwyn and Letchworth - two of the leading girls clubs in the country. Uniquely for any region both of them reached the finals of the National 10s (where Welwyn finished as runners up to Worcester) and the National 7s (where Letchworth won the Plate tournament). Letchworth also recently won the highly prestigious award Presidents XV award from the RFU, which you ignored. So far as I am aware information about all of these stories - and more - were sent to your station so there is no obvious news-based reason for your missing them out.

There is more to junior sport in Three Counties than football. Local youngsters do play other things as well and I suspect that managers and volunteers in other sports will be equally frustrated by the concentration on one sport. We would all appreciate it if you could consider giving the rest of the sporting world even a fraction of the coverage that you give to the round ball game."

If you want to write as well in a similar vein the address is or, whichever is appropriate.

Ask the RFUW!

Fern and her dad are going to the RFUW Conference next month (still time for others to join them, by the way!) and have agreed (well, Fern has agreed - which is good enough for me!) that they will pass on any questions that anyone in the club may have to the RFUW, who will be represented by the Carol Isherwood (Director of Rugby), during the question-and-answer session at the Conference.

So if you have anything you would like to ask those at the centre about how girls' or women's rugby is organised this is your opportunity.

Anything you like - the balance (or imbalance?) between club and representative rugby (for instance) tends to generate some heated discussions from time to time. Or provision for U12s. Or... well, its not for me to suggest questions, there must be plenty of things you'd like to know the answers to.

So either add you question in the comments here, or send directly to Fern or Andrew.

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