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...

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Farewell to the personification of Letchworth Girls'

And so, at last, we come to the final farewell. Delayed slightly as there seemed a chance that our subject might play at the abortive Rugby League festival last weekend. But it was not to be.

What is there to say about Nikki Alcock that has not already been said? No-one has played more games for Letchworth Girls, scored more points, made more tackles, or represented the club better. And chances are (unless they tinker with the age bands again) no-one ever will again. From the small, rather shy, girl who came to see what her sister as doing at tag rugby, to the strong, confident captain of teams at both age groups, its been a long journey. Indeed its not far to say that Nikki has grown up playing for Letchworth - you do wonder what she will do to fill in the gap. However, those shorts were not going to last forever and maybe her retirement came just in time...

Normally when writing these articles the task is to find a good photo from a few dozen, but when you look through the various archives it is amazing how many pictures there are of Nikki - illustrative, if nothing else, of how throughout her rugby career Nikki has been at the centre of everything.

As well as many action shots (including several tries, like the one of the right), there are a number that illustrate Nikki's determination (ie. a range of interesting injuries) - none more so than this picture (left) from a game at Kettering in 2007, a memorably physical and well-contested game played on a close to liquid pitch. The mere problem of a bit of blood running down her nose was no reason to stop playing - in fact I can't actually recall a game where Nikki came off early.

Nikki also expressed the values of the girls' section at Letchworth better than anyone else.
She always played fairly, but to her highest ability - even when playing for the opposition. Lending players to the opposition can be a problem sometimes - some players from some clubs have shown a certain reluctance to play a full part at times, but early one season Nikki was briefly Ampthill's top scorer, thanks to several tries scored against Letchworth while guesting for the Bedfordshire club. And it wasn't just at the glory end of the field - Nikki defended hard as well, and if that meant tackling your own sister into touch just short of the line, then Nikki was not going to hesitate to do it!

And so the last of the Originals has pulled on a Letchworth shirts for the last time. Its now up to a new generation of players to take forward the team that Nikki helped create. As for Nikki - hopefully she will soon be pulling on a new shirt for a new team. The game needs players like Nikki, and its hard to imagine Nikki without rugby!

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