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...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Carla Kelly: the bandaged wonder

"Okay then - just tell me which bit DOESN'T hurt.."

This Saturday will be the a day of goodbyes - more girls move on to adult rugby after this season than we have ever lost before - but for one of our number the end has already come.

Carla won't be with us at the Nationals. Her final game was the Herts 7s semi final last Sunday, and it was peculiary fitting that she should end her that match lying on her back on the field being attended to by Joe and various medical types for no-one has had a bigger impact on the team's first aid supplies than Carla.

This may partly be due to her unwillingness to follow medical advice too closely, generally converting a doctor's suggestion that she take a certain number of weeks off into a similar number of days. 

Carla's utter dedication to the game and her team was slightly later to get going than her contemporaries, for - although in the squad for the infamous HYG tag team in 2004 - she could not make the actual tournament. However, Carla did pull on a Letchworth shirt for the first time a few weeks later for a tag tournament in Harpenden - the forerunner of Herts 7s - and has missed very little rugby since. 

In fact she (along with Nikki) are possibly unique in having played both there and at every Herts 7s tournament ever held since (in fact we are possibly the only club that has been to all six editions of the county's girls' rugby tournament).

Carla is also probably unique in having been selected for the region - and not once but twice (at both U14 and U17 level) - but never for the county. Quite how Herts selectors could repeatedly overlook abilities that both we and regional selectors have so prized remains one of the game's great mysteries. In fact Carla was the only player from the 2005/6 East Region team not to be selected for the 2006/7 Herts county squad - a decision that ended Carla's regional career. In more recent years she did not even bother going to the trials.

But enough of such unimportant controversies - one effect was to give us unique access to one of our most determined, dedicated, brave, and versatile players in the game. Beginning in 2004 as a goal-kicking hooker, Carla has played just about every forward role available (and now there are suggestions that Hitchin may have her lined up as a back next season!). In every role she has made her mark, never letting us down, putting - even throwing - her body on the line at both ends of the field in support of her team and friends.

Perhaps one of her most memorable tries demonstrated this - the one of the tour against Exeter (see below) where she somehow seemed to shrug off tackles from half the Exeter team in a single-handed 40+ metre drive to the tryline. 
All this has not made her a stranger, shall we say, to the first aid kit - her first trip with East to the regional finals at Rugby School ended in the St John's ambulance and not much has changed since. This has had the effect of producing the following oft repeated touchline exchange...
A: "Quick - someone's down!"
B: "Who is it?"
A: "Oh its okay - its Carla. She'll be up again in a minute!"
And she (almost always) was - generally recovering instantly to the magical words...
"Do you want to come off then?"
Its difficult to believe that she will not appear again in the black-and-amber, but its great to know that she will be staying in the game - spearheading the Letchworth invasion of the Hitchin women's team. I just hope that their first aid kit is well stocked...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Total Pageviews (since June 2009)

Sport Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory