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, January 11, 2009

Tough job for selectors at regional trials

The ground was just about playable for the start of the regional trials in Upminster this morning (mind you, considering how far some had travelled there'd have been a small riot if it had been called off!) and, going by the U18 trial at least, its going to be a just as hard a task for the selectors to choose their final squad as the variation in ability and performance was tiny.

The only possible negative this year was that the East pack will not as big as in previous years - which will, I imagine, be some concern as in recent years East have done very well up front. In fact an uninformed spectator would have been hard pressed to say which was the forwards group and which the backs (which is one major difference between the junior trials and the seniors a few weeks ago!). 

There were around 30 U18s present, which means that at least six or seven nominees did not attend. As it no longer seems to be possible to add replacements when nominees drop out this seemed to result in some imbalance. Possibly as a result Jess - our sole trialist (being as Sasha is already "in") who was competing for one of the flanker positions - spent the second half of the trial game on the wing. Experienced hookers also seemed to be at a premium.

Jess had a good trial and was noticably quicker around the field than many other players - getting to the first breakdown in the game and rarely being out of the action after that. However, what with U20 and TDG pre-selections and the high standards shown by pretty much every girl taking part whether she will make the final squad is impossible to say. Apparently we should know by Tuesday.

These high standards promise problems with senior trials within the next year or so. In terms of ability, awareness, and ball-handling skills there was little difference between today's trialists and the best of the senior trialists last month. The seniors still score on sheer physical size and strength, but as today's U18s (and come to that U15s) develop and start to move into the senior ranks competition for places in senior regional sides is going to become intense. 

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