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...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lancashire Life

Interesting information from Lancashire has come my way. We don't normally hear much about girls' and women's rugby in the north west. Apart from Waterloo and Tyldesley in the sevens we never seem to come across their clubs, and their regional teams have never made a huge impact.

One reason - as mentioned in January - is the growing strength of girls' rugby league - players numbers are not readily available, but there are nearly twice as many rugby league girls teams. But another factor seems to be that the north has been developing a strong and self-sufficient structure which means that regional rugby is not seen as being as important - Yorkshire did not even run a women's regional side this year. 

Lancashire has had a women's county team for over five seasons - significantly longer than most southern counties (Herts women's team only really got going this season). They have their own tournament - The Northern Counties Competition - which includes Yorkshire, Cheshire and Northumberland - and since 2007 has included U15 and U18 teams.  The competition is run by the Women's and Girls' committees of all four counties but has very strong support from the CBs, despite their not having specific funds for female rugby. County presidents and officials attend fixtures (a rare sight in the south), and all Lancashire players have been given county shorts, socks and polo shirts at no cost to the players - just like the male teams.  
Last season the CB asked W&G group to run a county cup competition. The final of the women's Lancashire Cup is being played today before the start of the men's final, and the plate final for this will take place alongside the men's trophy and plate competitions on May Day.
At youth level Lancashire, Cheshire, Cumbria have - in a format similar to the South West League - combined existing teams (in clusters) in an U15 "merit" league (which may be extended to the U18s next season).  They also run monthly "super 7's tournament" so could provide some upsets at the National 7s, especially in the U15 tournament. 

However, things are not entirely happy. "The northern counties are treated like second class citizens" is the belief of many - it clearly grates a bit that it has been more than 10 years since the international team travelled anywhere further north than Northampton, while national tournaments have - apart from the visit of the National 7s to the north east in 2004 - remained firmly at midlands or home counties venues.  Lancashire believe that the successful integration of the W&G with the men's county structure is a model that others could follow - and with the incorporation of the RFUW into the RFU next year it could become very relevant to everyone in the near future.
  • One amusing little story has also come out of North West rugby today - you can imagine something similar happening one day with Nikki and Katie!

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