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, July 27, 2009

Leagues continue to grow

The cluster with Saracens for the Thames Valley league next season promises a whole new experience as we have never previously taken part in a league - partly because no league had been set up near to us, and partly because various concerns team managers have had about leagues generally (and, considering the inter-club friction that some leagues have produced, this has maybe been justified).

Reports about the Thames Valley league, however, seem to have been positive - not least, perhaps, because its main aim has always been to develop the game rather than simple "prove" who is "best". It is an inter-county "cluster" league, with one team from each of the region's counties bringing together girls from that county's clubs. Its been going two or three years now, with Saracens joining after the league's first year. And this season we will be "clustering" with them as a joint team.

Virtually the entire country is now covered with leagues, of one sort or another - we are probably one of the last clubs to join one. The "Surrey league", which Welwyn and Wimborne are in, seems to have swept up most of the south, while Basford are in a league covering Kent. The Nottingham-based league that started last season seems to have expanded across most of the midlands (Worcester will, I believe be in this next season). Not sure sure what is happening in the North East, but it seems that North West teams play in a "merit league".

Which leaves the South West. You may remember that this launched last year, and is based on a centrally planned series of mainly triangular fixtures - each club hosting two visiting clubs on a rotation each week for either three separate games, or a single game combining players if one club does not have enough.

Its a great plan - and worked brilliantly well in the first year - so much so that it is expanding this year from 9 to 14 clubs. The organisation of this league is an astonishing piece of work that even takes into account journey times when organising the fixtures.

But overall what is trully remarkable is the way this wonderful explosion of ideas - all these different ways of doing things - have emerged responding to local needs and circumstances. And all without any central direction, dictat, or control. What works is being allowed to work. There is a lesson there somewhere.


  1. Anonymous10:01 PM

    Sorry John, You seem to have forgotten that large piece of land to the East containing Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambs. whilst it remains true that they are still a fledgling area, those people that are committed to seeing Girls and Womens rubgy thrive here are not helped by the continual struggle to arrange fixtures against the more established clubs that will no doubt now have league fixtures as well as their festival commitments et al to contend with !

  2. I had heard that Suffolk Sabres at least were looking at joining the Midlands league - and I agree that leagues do cause fixture problems. Without the cluster with Saracens, Letchworth would be in exactly that position.

    Personally I don't like leagues - especially the hyper-competitive winner-takes-all type. However, the south-west pattern is a different matter and could work in East as well - if the region wanted it to.

  3. Anonymous12:56 PM

    alot of people have heard a lot of things about suffolk sabres but none of it seems to match?
    the only constant thread is that no one seems to have a clue what is happening.


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