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...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The most important person in your life that you (probably) never met

None of us would be involved with this game without her. This blog would not exist because this team would not exist. You would all be playing - I dunno - netball or hockey or (heaven help us!) soccer every weekend. Or most probably nothing. 

And its not just Letchworth. It is very probable that more girls play rugby in Hertfordshire than any other county in the country - and that is almost entirely down to her.

But chances are that most girls will never have met her, or may have forgotten as she was maybe just another adult RFUW face in a tracksuit. Name might maybe ring a bell - but you will be unclear as to what she did.

The reason I mention all this - and on the very day that at least one girl makes the England U20 trials who would never have touched a ball without her - is to reveal that Amanda Bate, our RFUW regional development officer and fomerly Herts Sports Partnership's rugby officer, is moving on and will be leaving the RFUW next month.

It is hard to know where to begin to describe Amanda's genius and commitment over the past four or five years that I have known her. Always encouraging, helpful, and straight-talking Amanda's drive to support a game she had no family or (for most of the time) club links has been out of this world. It has been never ceasing, never tiring. She knows everyone, can talk to anyone, persuade anyone. If every county had an Amanda then girls rugby would be England's number one sport. If the British Olympic team had Amanda running it we'd have topped the medals table. 

She is without doubt the most effective and above all reliable sports administrator I have ever known (and actually I have known a few). We may have disagreed over this and that from time to time (most especially over this blog), but it is to her undying credit that she never holds a grudge (again unlike most administators!) and the next time we meet its down to business again.

That she only stayed at RFUW for just over a year must say something - I'm not sure what. What I do know is that RFUW are losing the best development manager they have ever had, or will ever have.

The good news, however, is that Amanda will not be dropping out of the game but will continue to act as a volunteer supporting girls rugby in Hertfordshire. The even better news is that she and fellow former WRDM Sam Marshall will be joing forces in a new business called Sport Support. Amanda may be a brilliant adminsitrator, but she is also a world authority on sports grants. What she doesn't know isn't worth knowing, and this new organisation will help clubs find funding for projects, large or small, helping to write applications, set up monitoring and evaluation, etc- all of which takes time and is why so many clubs (like Letchworth) don’t get around to doing it and why so much money goes unspent. It's sure-fire success.

So as she moves out of Twickenham and away from an official role in game, a big thank-you, Amanda, from everyone involved at Letchworth Girls - past, present and future. You have changed the lives of more people that you will ever know. Don't go too far away!

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