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...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

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...

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