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, June 02, 2010

So near and yet so far ...

This year's RFUW National 7s was again held at Harpenden RFC and, as defending Plate champions, Letchworth U18 girls were looking to the prospect of finishing off the season in style and, maybe, gaining a third National 7s Plate title in 4 years ...

However, things didn't go to plan from the start - well, from before the start, really! Even before we set off to Harpenden we had lost 2 players - one to school work comittments and the other to a turned ankle during final training on Thursday which refused to get better in time.

Nevertheless, undaunted, Letchworth Saracens girls set off on Saturday to discover that we were in a group with Burfield, Ellingham & Ringwood and Tyldesley. Those of you who have followed Letchworth's fortunes at the National 7s over the last 5 years will know that we always seem to have a tough group - not that there are any easy groups at the National 7s - and this year was certainly no exception as the group contained teams who would be the Plate winners and runners-up, a cup semifinalist and the eventual cup winners!

Our first game was against Burfield. As has been traditional for Letchworth over the past 5 seasons, Letchworth Saracens duly got off to a slow start; something that you just cannot afford to do against a side as good as Burfield. Inevitably, Burfield opened the scoring and, following an injury to Claire which saw her sidelined for the rest of the game, cantered away to claim the opener 26-5.
Second up were our old friends from Ellingham & Ringwood who had beaten us so narrowly in the group stages 12 months ago. Fortunately, Claire was recovered sufficiently to rejoin the team for this match. Letchworth Saracens put on a somewhat better display, though maybe the long wait between games on (another!) wet tournament day did not help their concentration, and they were eventually beaten 17-5 by the team who were to be crowned National 7s champions later that day.

The game against Ellingham & Ringwood was a good result against such fine opponents and it was also notable because it was Nikki's 200th junior game. Letchworth girls rugby founder, John Birch, was on hand to present her with a commemorative shirt.

With two group games lost, Letchworth Saracens were heading for the Plate competition and the result of the final group game against Tyldesley would determine whether they would finish the group in 3rd or 4th place and would, therefore, affect how difficult their Plate quarter-final game would be.

After raising their game in the second match of the day, Letchworth Saracens did not really get going in the final group match. Tyldesley were a well-drilled side who took the game to Letchworth Saracens and dominated proceedings from start to finish to record a 24-0 victory.

So at the end of the group stages, Letchworth Saracens found themselves in fourth place in the group and facing a Plate quarterfinal against Morpeth who were placed third in their group. Entering the knock-out phase, and a change to some dry Letchworth shirts, brought out the best in Letchworth Saracens who were determined not to exit the competition so early. A tight first half in which Claire broke away to score the only points was followed by a much more determined and assured performance in the second half resulting in a final scoreline of 26-0 in Letchworth Saracens favour.

The Plate semifinal opponents turned out to be Reading who have several times been our undoing in previous touraments however, on this occasion, a tight game was resolved in Letchworth Saracen's favour by 12-5.

So for the third time in four years, Letchworth girls found themselves contesting the Plate final. This time the opposition were Tyldesley who had convincingly beaten Letchworth Saracens in the group stages and, with a depleted squad and several girls carrying injuries, it was always going to be a difficult game for Letchworth Saracens to win. Although they put in a much better performance second time around, it turned out to be a similar result to the first game with Tyldesley running out deserved winners 19-0.

In the end, they Letchworth Saracens girls can be proud to have done so well at this national event when starting with a depleted squad some of whom were carrying injuries. To have finished as medal-winning Plate runners-up - that is, 10th place overall in England - is a very significant achievement. Well done, girls!

Results :

Group : Letchworth Saracens 5 v. 26 Burfield
Group : Letchworth Saracens 5 v. 17 Ellingham & Ringwood
Group : Letchworth Saracens 0 v. 24 Tyldesley
Plate QF : Letchworth Saracens 26 v. 0 Morpeth
Plate SF : Letchworth Saracens 12 v. 5 Reading
Plate Final : Letchworth Saracens 0 v. 19 Tyldesley

Scorers :

Tries : Claire (3), Natalie (2), Jess (2), Chloe
Conversions : Claire (4)

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