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...

Sunday, June 06, 2010

And here's to you, Jess Robinson*

Of all the many girls who have played for Letchworth in the past six years, only two who started their rugby careers at Letchworth have gone on to be picked for the RFUW's summer HPAs†. One was Hayley Guilder, and the other Jess Robinson. Yet, if you look back at reports on games played in Jess's first year at Letchworth you'd never have thought that Jess was to become one of the best players that Letchworth would ever produce.

Not that Jess was ever in any way a poor player - within a few weeks of taking up the game she found her way into the county U14 squad - but its not her name that appears in match reports. Jess was fast, but it was Natalie that defences feared most in that first season as she ran off with the U14 Player of the Season. Jess, however, took "Most Improved" - which sums up what has made her a great player.

Jess was always looking to improve. She was determined and really wanted to become a better player, to get into county and regional teams - and year on year she succeeded, becoming a better and better player.

In Jess's second season she became part of the new U17 squad - a real "dream team" with Jess and her ex-U14s helping to turn a promising but forward-dominated squad into a superb all round team that began to rack up the medals and trophies, almost as much as Jess began to rack up the tries. Though disappointed that she missed out on county selection in her first U17 season, Jess showed that determination throughout the season - and from that "dream team" it was Jess who became Player of the Year. By the following year she was back in the county team again - and picked for regional trials.

In fact the only problem Jess faced became where to play. In the U14s she was mainly a wing - she was fast, but very slim - however, as Jess grew she soon showed she could play full-back, and centre, occasionally fly-half. But if she was to make the regional teams she needed to decide where she would settle.

It was Simon Shutler, when coaching the county team, who came up with the answer, and an answer again that would never have occurred to anyone who saw Jess start. Jess should become a forward. Not in the front row (though it did happen - see left!), but as second row or flaker. Its a position that was new to Jess, but she took to it - and in 2008 she made the East Region team as a forward, and it was as a forward that she was picked for last summer's HPAs.

Jess is a star - but what is brilliant about her is that she has made herself a star. Her determination and will to improve has made her the brilliant player she now is - quite simply, and based on the judgement of coaches from outside the club, one of the best players Letchworth Girls have ever had.

*With deepest apologies to Simon & Garfunkel.
By all rights it should have been three this summer, but RFUW cancelled the U15 HPAs.

1 comment:

  1. Alan Watson10:35 PM

    Coaching the Saracens/Letchworth U18s this season has been a privelege and Jess has been one of the stars. I hope that she goes on to future sucesses in the senior game. Good luck and best wishes to all the other girls who are moving on. Please don't give up the game, it needs you all!!


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