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, April 13, 2011

RFUW announce new junior festivals for 2011/12

The 2011/12 junior calendar has been published - and there are some rather interesting developments:

  • These carry on, needless to say, pretty much as before. 
  • There is some slight hints about maybe future tightening of entry requirements - lines like "if you have struggled for any reason as a club consider if it may be better for you to play friendlies" would seem to suggest some concerns based on the number of walkovers this season, for example. 
  • The closing date for applications is 20th May, with fixtures published on 1st July
  • The U15 league  will be for up to 10-a-side teams (minimum 7), U18 games for up to 15-a-side (minimum 12)
  • 11 Sundays listed between 2nd October and 15th April... which also implies leagues no larger than six clubs (several this season had eight).
Comment: The trouble remains that this all betrays a lack of understanding about how junior clubs work. Most clubs will not have much idea about how many players they will have next year - least of all at U15s - and whether a club has struggled (or not) this season is no guide whatsoever to what they will do next season. I guess RFUW would argue that they need an early entry deadline to organise the leagues. And that is true - but it just goes to show that the system itself is wrong for the game as it currently stands. It is more sensible, surely, to design the system to match the game, not bend the game to match an inflexible system?

Much as this season - one training/selection/development day (25th September), two matches (16th October and 6th November), and a County Festival (or festivals?) on 20th November.

As above. Trials will be 22nd January. U15s get a match (19th February), two training sessions (12th February and 25th March), plus a festival (1st April). U18s also train on 12th February, then play three games on 19th February, 18th March and 1st April.

Returns to a reasonable date (it was originally planned that this year's 7s would have been next weekend!), and two weekend are set aside for "local tournaments" in the lead in. Which is good - RFUW have clearly learnt that there are some rather successful independent events (like Herts 7s) that need preserving.

This is new (or maybe not, actually). Basically on 22nd April 2012 there will be "five festivals held across the country - clubs can choose which they want to attend. This festivals will be split for developed club and developing clubs". No indication yet whether these will be for 15s, 13s or 10s or what - but what is striking is that this sounds very like the good old National 10s which were also based on "festivals held across the country" where clubs could "choose which they want to attend".

One might ask "why five??" (when we have four divisions), but the main matters to watch for will be how sensitive the RFUW will be to existing 10s festivals played at this time - like Worcester and Worthing. If they have any sense (and sensitivity) they will bring these into the structure - the trouble is that words like "sensitivity" have not really been  associated with Twickenham decision making in the past...

However, that quibble aside, this is a great idea. It'd be nice if there were more, spread across the season, as everyone loves a festival, but its a start. And if they work maybe they will be extended!

And finally, you never saw this coming. Truly this is from way left-field and opens stacks of questions (and cans of worms), but could be great.

Trouble is that - apart from being planned for the "Easter holidays" - there are no other details, least of all who could play in such a non-standard age group competition. In theory it might allow some of the Former Legends (including the likes of Nikki and Natalie) to pull on the Black and Amber again, but how far wide will the age grouping go? Could 17 year olds play, even though they are technically still "juniors" playing alongside "adults"? Its all a bit strange - though (potentially) fun...

The whole calendar can be seen here

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