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...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

No National 10s in 2008/09!

Part of the pack given out at yesterday's conference included the latest draft of the "calendar" for 2008/9. Little has changed from earlier drafts - the indefensible block of regional dates after Christmas remains - but something I now realise that is not listed is the National 10s.

This seems - to put it mildly - extraordinary. Indeed words such as "ludicrous", "ridiculous", and "unbelievable" also apply... and others less printable. It also - if the information Worcester have been given is correct - seems to be true.

We all know that the National 10s was not a happy event for the RFUW, first having to rearrange the U18 event due to a small ground booking oversight, and then having to cancel the adult finals when several leading clubs decided they could not be bothered to attend. But that was no fault of the teams who DID turn up.

For U18 clubs - and smaller adult teams - the 10s has been a major event. More real U18 clubs enter the 10s than enter the National Cup (which you will note is still timetabled for 2008/9). This can be no surprise as (unless you have the resources of Worcester) the latter is only really accessible now to "clusters" (who, in the cup, increasingly seem to have a remarkably similar player make-up to regional teams), while for smaller adult teams it at least gives them a chance to play their "betters" on a numerical par. For RFUW to drop the tournaments because of last season's problems that were mainly of RFUW's own making (and certainly not the participants) is grossly unfair slight on these clubs who did nothing wrong.

One thing that was mentioned by several speakers yesterday was the fragility of the women's and girls' club game - the strong England team is in reality supported on a foundation of egg-shells. Dropping a tournament like this does nothing to improve matters. For most clubs the only chance to take part in an RFUW event is now the National 7s, and that one day in May 2009 is a long way off.

Its not too late for RFUW to change its mind - after all they managed to invent an entire U18 superleague for elite players two-thirds of the way through last season, so it cannot be impossible for them to do something similar for the grass roots. If you agree please drop a line to National HQ - Keeley Fathers (if you have her address) or just, or maybe your regional co-ordinator, or both.


  1. Not sure there's any point contacting the RFUW on this - we've been bleating away down in the West Country about the dire state of grass roots female rugby and the detrimental effect on it of the Regional programme all season and it's fallen on completely deaf ears - if they're not very careful they'll have no succession plan at all - but they're too busy patting themselves on the back about their wonderful Regional programme - very disheartening really Anne Bebbington, Taunton Fillies

  2. Anonymous4:26 PM

    I'm curious (incidentally, I'm no fan of the regionnal setup) as to how it has had a detrimental effect on grassroots? It's a genuine enquiry...what was the effect, also, what aspects of the program caused it?

    Could I also ask, would you have a proposal that might be better?

    I promise you this isn't one of those put up shut up, you may well have some really good ideas, or others on here might be able to help with your understanding of the situation.

    Look forward to your reply...

  3. Thanks for your comment, anon.

    I cannot speak for Anne, who may well reply here if she is watching, but rather than have any replies and discussion largely lost in this neigh-on month old post (all be it a post that geta a lot of visits) I think I'll take it up in a main article in the next say or so (I'm not trying to avoid anything, more spread articles out a bit over the summer - and I've made three posts today already!). So in the meanwhile keep reading...


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