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...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Our last "divided" weekend (... or is it?)

The regional season comes to an end this weekend with the festival for junior sides in Lichfield, and the last round of senior games at Old Albanians. So this should be the last weekend we lose Jess and Hayley (not to mention the New Girl - Miss Heather, L) and/or find the opposition cancellng games because they have lost too many players.

Or maybe not. Because RFUW announced this week that they are going to whisk away the leading U18s from clubs for yet another two weekends. In a bending of the English language that would make a politician blush RFUW have published details of the "Junior Super Cup" which "will now become the highlight of the Under 18s season". What this "competition" will do will be to take the top 44 U18 players away for two weekends (29th March and 3rd May - the latter being the day of the Worthing 10s) - so that will be the TDG girls, plus the best performing non-TDG at this weekend's regional tournament. Two 22-player squads will be put together, and they will play each other twice.

Okay, 44 players removed from clubs is not nearly as damaging as the near 300 that the regional progamme takes away - but coming on the back of that two month decimation of the club game it really does illustrate beautifully how important Twickenham considers club rugby to be.

For example, exactly how can this be the "highlight of the U18s season" when for most U18s it will be a supreme irrelevence? But that is not the best bit - the press release goes on to say that
 "the development of Under 18s rugby is a strategic aim for the RFUW"
ROFL!! What? Clearly the RFUW do not read their own discussion boards where there is now a very heated debate going on which is finally bringing to the surface the seething anger that many clubs feel when it comes to the regional programme. Whatever you think of the programme, whether you are in a regional team or not, I urge you to take a look at it - and take part. Both sides of the argument are represented - so you can judge for yourself.

The theory is, of course, that those players left behind by region can join together in combinations with other clubs and play on. It might be called the great "cluster" theory, being as the "C" word is invariably thrown at anyone who complains. 

Well that is great in theory, but - as we have seen this season and in the past - it simply does not work in practice. The weather has not helped, but the fact is that - despite huge efforts by Heather at Letchworth, Hertfordshire and other county committees - most of you have had (at best) two games since Christmas. And that is probably two more than most girls have had.

How on earth preventing 80% of players from playing any sort meaningful rugby for over a quarter of the season aids the "development of Under 18s rugby" is a mystery to me. Perhaps its a misprint - perhaps there are some words missing and it should read "Aids the development of other sports by driving Under 18s girls away from rugby" maybe?

Anyway - join in the debate - you can do so anonymously if need be (indeed it interesting that most correspondents do chose anonymity). In the meanwhile a reminder that those of you not at region should actually have some rugby this weekend with Jimmies coming down - meet at 11.00.

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