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, October 24, 2008

The changing face of English girls' rugby

The RFUW recently circulated the latest list of girls' rugby teams - and it is a good opportunity to look at how strong the game is in England. It lists 113 different clubs running 204 teams - 104 U15 teams, and 100 U18. This is  (at first glance) little changed from a list I have found from two seasons ago, when there were 118 clubs - so clearly girls rugby is a pretty stable game. 

Or is it? Because when you look into it this does not mean that five clubs that were members of RFUW from the first list are no longer around. In actual fact nearly half - 49 - of the clubs from the older list do not appear in 2008/9, being replaced by 44 "new" clubs. Only 69 clubs from 2006/7 are (apparently) still around.

Admittedly this may be partly due to some clubs not being very fast off the mark when it comes to completing their registration. For example Swaffham and Mitcham (to name but two) do not appear on either list, I'm pretty sure that Dorking isn't a new club (!), and likes of Darlington and Market Harborough are still with us. In addition a few clubs may have changed names. However, even allowing for all this, its an amazing rate of turnover.

The following are the clubs from 2006/7 who do not appear in the latest list (clubs we have played against are highlighted)...
Aylesbury; Barton Hill; Belper; Bexley; Bideford; Blackpool; Bloxwich; Bridlington; Burnham on Sea; Camberley; Clevedon; Cranleigh; Crawley; Darlington Mowden Park; Dartfordians; Esher; Essington; Fullerians; Greyhound; Guildfordians; Hitchin; Hucclecote; Ivel Barbarians; Kent; Leos; Liskeard; Market Harborough; Mid Warwickshire; Milton Keynes; North Kesteven; Old Coventrians; Orpington; Oswestry; Oxford; Paignton; Percy Park; Portsmouth; Sandal; Stafford; Tamworth; Thomas Becket; Thornbury; Uttlesford; Westoe; Weston super Mare; Witney; Woodrush; Yardley; Yatton
... while the "new" clubs are...
Alnwick; Barnsley; Bolton; Burgess Hill; Burton; Caldy; Castleford; Chesham; Chinnor Chicks; Croydon; Cullompton Vixens; Derby Vipers; Dorking; Drybrook; Ealing Emeralds; East Retford; Eccles; Evesham; Flyers (Warwickshire); Folkestone Fillies; Glossop; H3; Hinckley Vixens; Holt; Ilkley; London Irish; Macclesfield; Maldon; Minety; North Dorset; North Hykeham; North Ribblesdale; Oakmeadians; Old Alleynian; Ormskirk; Ponteland; Sleaford; St Mary's Old Boys; Stevenage Swifts; Stow on the Wold & District; Stratford Upon Avon; Tavistock; Wasps; West Park Leeds
... and the "ever presents" are...
Aldwinians; Ampthill; Aylesford Bulls Junior; Aylestone St James; Basildon; Basingstoke; Beckenham; Bridgnorth; Burnham on Sea; Buxton Bobcats; Camp Hill; Canterbury; Carlisle; Chobham; Cirencester; Cockermouth; Melksham; Deeping; Diss; Dorchester; Ellingham & Ringwood; Exeter Saracens ; Goole ; Gravesend; Grove; Guildford; Harlequins; Havant; Hertford ; Kenilworth ; Keswick; Kettering; Kingsbridge; Letchworth Garden City ; Lewes; Lichfield; Manchester; Melbourne; Morpeth; Newbury ; Newquay; Northwich; Paviors; Peterborough; Petersfield; Plymouth Albion ; Pocklington ; Reading; Rochford (Basford); Romford & Gidea Park; Sandbach Storm ; Saracens ; Shoreham; Slough; Spalding; Stourbridge; Sudbury ; Sutton & Epsom; Taunton; Thanet Wanderers; Tonbridge Juddian; Trowbridge; Tyldesley; Tynedale; Waterloo; Welwyn; Wimborne; Worcester; Worthing.
In addition there are now three different categories of membership dependent on the number of players each team claims to have at the start of the season. 
  • Category A teams could field a full-sized team on their own, assuming (in some cases) that every player was available. There are just 82 of these teams - 42 U15s and 40 U18s. 
  • Category B teams have at least five or six girls, so teams that could just about play 7s or 10s. There are 75 such teams - 40 of which are U15s and 35 U18s. 
  • Category C teams have fewer than five players in an age group, so might not be expected to play as an independent team. 47 teams are in this category. 
This means that (based on self-declared player numbers) there are probably around 70 or 80 teams in each age band capable of playing at least 7-a-side fixtures on their own.

But how many of these are within reasonable reach of us? Well one other neat thing you can do with the list - thanks to the wonders of Google Maps - is map all the teams to show where they are, and where the nearest team is to any given place in England. So that is what I have done. Click below for each map (if you have a Google account you can add each to "My Maps", which means that you can combine the maps).
These also work in Google Earth which means that you can now see who all the registered U18 teams within about 50 miles of Letchworth are (click on the map below)...
The main thing I get from this is that there are more clubs within around 50 miles or so of us than I had previously thought. Admittedly that is 50 miles in a straight line...

One other thing I did find is the name of a team even stranger than Joe's new compass-bending charges at South West North. I give you St Mary's Old Boys Girls (from Gloucestershire - also from Joe's patch, curiously). There could be various explanations, are they the daughters of men who used to go to a particular school, maybe?

1 comment:

  1. John,
    An excellent piece of work and very useful.
    We are now dealing with the 'administration' issue which shows us as missing......


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