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, September 24, 2008

Playing on

Its very early in the season, but already minds are looking ahead to 2009-10 and especially the question of how to keep those "graduating" out of U18 rugby playing the game.

I know that those of you moving into higher education will be hoping to continue to play at university - indeed the quality of the university team often seems to be as important as the quality of the courses! - but you are likely to still need a "home club" to play and train with when you are not away.

But finding a club to play for is a pretty daunting prospect. There are at least six women's clubs within 20-30 minutes of Letchworth - Hitchin, Shelford, Hertford, Old Albanians, Tabard and Saracens - but which one should you go to? What are they like? Who do you contact? Will they want you to play for them?

Until recently none of these clubs have made any sustained attempt to attract U18 graduates. Some of the most gifted ex-regional players have been invited to some clubs, but by and large the impression is that most club players seem to pack their boots away at 18, never to get them out again because no-one seems to want them. 

The RFU's Play On initiative (despite the inept publicity) is designed to try to solve this problem and - perhaps co-incidentally - several of our local women's clubs are taking steps to break down the barriers between the adult and junior games. 

Saracens, for example, have invited all girls playing in our fixture on 5th October to stay on to watch the women's game afterwards and may repeat the successful "open evening" they ran in 2006, but Old Albanians Saints are being even more ambitious. 

You have all been officially invited to join OAs at any of three special training evenings which will be aimed at all U18 players throughout the county (along with their parents and coaches!). The aim is to give players the opportunity to see the club, train with the senior side, get to know everyone, and generally feel that there is an open door at all senior clubs. The evenings will be:
  • Weds 17th December, 7.15pm (OA's training pitch)
  • Weds 28th January, 7.15pm (OA's training pitch)
  • Weds 11th March, 7.15pm (OA's training pitch)
In addition OAs are hoping to visit junior clubs to meet players moving up next year.

Hopefully the other four clubs will follow these examples.

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