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, January 18, 2008

RFUW achieve the impossible

I am looking through the window desparately trying to find this blue moon, but fear that the herd of flying pigs might well obscure it. Why so? Because the RFUW have done something that some of us would never have thought possible even four or five years ago. Its incredible, but true - the calendar for next season has been published - in January!!!!!!!!

I seem to recall the final calendar for what may have been our first season not actually emerging in anything like a final form until the season had been going for the better part of a month. Indeed as I was doing the fixtures I remember this quite well - the frustration, the tears, the large pile of screwed-up paper...

But that was then and this is now. The world has moved on and now fixture secs across the country can begin plan ahead for 2008-9 with confidence.

Well, I'll actually reserve judgement on that final bit because the word "draft" is still pretty prominent here. Still - that aside - here are the edited highlights....

County dates: 28/9, 19/10, 9/11, 30/11, 14/12.
National 10s: 12/10, 23/11

Regional dates: 11/1, 25/1, 1/2, 8/2, 21/2, 22/2, 8/3, 15/3.
National Cup: 22/3, 5/4, 26/4

Right. Now, if you are an RFUW official and easily offended then stop reading here. What follows is a personal view of matters related to the above. So no threats of excommunication, please. However, it would be nice if you could maybe read on and take it as it is meant - ie. positive criticism, the start of a debate maybe, a view from the grassroots perhaps.

Because here also endeth the good news as when we examine this - unless I am mistaken - you will notice that regional rugby will take place over eight of the weekends between 11th January and 15th March 2009 .

Or to put it another way... that's eight weekends out of eleven! Yes, folks, ordinary club players - like, well, most of you - have been generously given a generous three weekends to play in a period of effectively three months at the start of 2009. And one of them is half term!

Come on here - do Twickenham want a wide club network for girls of all ages and abilities, or a narrow sport played by only a tiny elite? Because if this is anything to go by then I think the answer is pretty obvious! How long can a club game keep going with a three month hole in the middle of the season? Chuck in the problem of the U18 band having exams for everyone in the spring and - for mere mortals - rugby is now just game played for eight or nine weekends every autumn. After that, well, the game seems to lose interest in most of you, let us say.

Then, to compound this, having come out of hibernation clubs are dropped straight into the National Cup. So that means ordinary club players who probably not have had any serious games for three months will be pitted alongside regional players fresh from their championship.

Well, can't imagine who'll win that one...

But there is so much to pack in, some may say, regional coaches need access to players to create teams, grants are based on the performance of national teams. Not all clubs can field full teams on their own, have to combine, regional only opening for high quality rugby. And so on.

Well, I've said it before and I'll say it again - IMHO a game is only as strong as its roots. If the roots are given no room to grow, develop and deepen then the flower will eventually wither. And die.

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