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 06, 2009

Looking ahead to the Nationals

With two days to go before the official close of entries there are still a number of vacancies in the U18s National 7s entry. Last year there was actually a waiting list because around 20 teams tried to entry the competition but in truth that was quite unusual - most  years the entry date tends to to be extended and we normally get a full 16... unless someone withdraws on the day of the competition.

So far the website lists 10 entries, and most of the big names are there - Worcester, Tynedale, Reading, Paviors, Exeter. A few "new" names as well, but no Darlington, Wimborne or come to that Basford yet. However its not clear when the page was last updated, and its difficult to believe that these teams will be absent.

The U15 tournament is also filling nicely and should have a full complement - although we are not in it. Well, at the moment, though I guess if the girls continue to grow into the game as did on Sunday we may try to get them in yet! However, the adult 7s is in real trouble. The RFUW currently list only TWO entries out of a possible 32 - even with a late rush that does not sound promising. 

One reason for this is that the cost of entering the adult event this year is a remarkable £150 (more than twice the fee for the junior sevens) - which is a heck of a lot for a single day's competition. But more importantly the RFUW no longer has a monopoly when it comes to the provision of high profile women's rugby tournaments. The RFUW 7s is on the same weekend as the big, highly commercial, well organised, heavily promoted and cheaper Bournemouth 7s. Bournemouth also allows squads of 14 instead of 10 - and already has 28 entries for its two women's tournaments over the weekend.

The concern must be that, if the RFUW's adult 7s is cancelled, what will happen to the junior 7s - if not this year, then next? After all the loss of the junior 10s only makes sense if it resulted from the failure of the adult event. 

This means that the "safest" club junior tournament run by RFUW is also now comfortably the least popular one. With Oakmedians failing to show up for the first day of the southern qualifier the U18 National Cup is down to nine entries! One positive should have been that, with only five teams left, it would have been possible to complete the qualifier in a single day. At least three of the entrants wanted to do exactly that... but I understand that RFUW refused to allow them to do so! 

The tournament itself is only halfway through - but it already looks like Reading will win it after two comfortable wins over Welwyn and Exeter. Wimborne, Welwyn and Thornbury may have an interesting (but, in any practical sense, meaningless) battle for second place, with Welwyn just having the edge at the moment, but the most fascinating question about the qualifier now is not who will win but who will turn up for Day 2. Exeter are out of it after two defeats and are faced with a totally pointless 400 mile round trip in three week's time. Will they make the journey? Would you?

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