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, October 31, 2012

More tales from the real world

Apart from much of my writing appearing elsewhere, I felt reluctant to write on here what I have been hearing because its always so negative. But in the end there is a paucity of real good news about girls' club rugby, hence last week's review. Now some more information had found my way.

Remember Yorkshire? A few years ago girls' rugby in Yorkshire was so big they were not just a county, they were a region - on their own. Their clubs were feared across the country (for all sorts of reasons).

And now, after four years of centrally imposed leagues, in the third year of the glorious U13 programme, and with player statistics higher than ever before? Yorkshire cannot raise a U15 team.

You start with frustration, then anger, then despair, then... It is the worst sort of nonsense where those in charge of the sport seem interested in just the numbers, because numbers on paper mean grants that... well, I suppose they go somewhere.

But all the evidence - I mean ALL the evidence - is that player numbers - REAL player numbers - are falling through the floor. Yeah, girls are being introduced to the sport in record numbers in schools, and more schools are playing in more tournaments than ever before BUT practically none of these girls are making their way to clubs.

U15 rugby should be booming this year. Three years after the start of the U13 programme, its graduates should be flooding into clubs. But traditionally the single biggest girls rugby county cannot raise a team. All of Yorkshire cannot find thirteen U15s interested in playing rugby. WTF????

The wonderful nationally imposed leagues shrink year on year, and now I hear that (unofficially) rules that restrict guests players in league matches are being quietly shelved just to get matches going.

I hate to say that some of us told you so, because that hardly helps.

(If someone has some good new stories about expanding rugby at U15 and U18, please let me know. It would make a huge difference...).


  1. Anonymous12:10 AM

    I am relatively new to helping out in girls rugby, but have best part of a decade working in girls club football, and 3 years watching my daughter in girls county cricket: yes there is plenty wrong in female rugby, oh why oh why are the England Internationals not spread around the country, RFU to note England Ladies football international that was oh so important to win v Holland for Euro qualification, played in Salford to give the North West fans a local game. The clincher v Croatia in Walsall, following on from games in Doncaster, Swindon, Oxford and East London! Were the U20 internationals at Moulton publicised enough? Enjoyed the second game which I saw with my daughters club as ball girls. U13 girls rugby should be good but I think it needs more of the girls to leave boys rugby after U10’s then it will work.
    But to add the positive full of admiration and thanks to the coaches at Old Northamptonians 4 girls trained as U13’s last year through thick and thin. Those 4 girls are now part of a 15 strong U15 squad, with 20 or so in the U18’s and starting again with 2/3 U13’s. Working with schools to attract girls. Those 4 girls played for East Midlands U15’s on Sunday v Cheshire at Lichfield, 2 or 3 played the entire game a fabulous close 17-10 win. I had the dubious honour of running touch and it was hard to contain myself. The sheer pride of seeing the girls perform as they did was immense. Credit also to 1 or 2 Wellingborough girls who broke off from a family holiday to play.
    There are other positives the league rules are far more flexible than say football, still an ethos of playing matches, borrow, combine etc. Anyway enough ramblings off to round ball again tomorrow for Hertfordshire’s “adopted” best female sport promoters Arsenal Ladies FC.

  2. Anonymous11:17 AM

    Girls rugby needs dedicated individuals but where's the governing body initiatives to bring school players to the clubs? Looking at the leagues this season, there are only 6 for U18 and 6 for U15. About 38 clubs in each age group, come on RFU, according to the IRB, there's about 1,900 clubs in England!

  3. I would not worry about leagues over much - at the current rate of "progress" there will be no leagues at all by around 2015...

  4. Anonymous4:54 PM

    Sunday saw the fruits of my daughters long campaign to start a girls team, a chance comment to another parent and 2 girls turned a chance into reality within 2 weeks... 15 under 15s turned up at our local club in North Yorkshire for a 1.30 start to their first ever training session. My daughter had a further 10 apologies for that week, with a view to attend next week! Fingers crossed then for her success where others fall.... Dedication, want and driving force ended up in her being sick of waiting and having to watch her 3 brothers play while she spectated, therefore she subsequently approached a coach and set the ball rolling... There seems to be lots of obstacles in the way of their success so it's no surprise I suppose that seeing 15 U15s girls brimming with excitement and laughing and enjoying the game brought tears to my eyes on Sunday.

  5. This is how teams form best - word of mouth between friends. The problem so often is keeping it going, especially if there is a mix of ages. A viable group of 20 girls one year can end up being two separate non-viable groups of 10 the following year with regulations even forbidding joint training!

    Its partly why the life expectancy of girls teams is about 4-6 seasons. You need to keep attracting girls in at the bottom, which is hard work especially if mini girls have to go backwards thanks to the U13 programme.

    But good luck - and enjoy the ride over the next few years. The politics and lack of central support can get you down at times, but there is nothing more rewarding than taking a group of girls new to the sport all the way through - especially when you see some of them go on to play county, divisional and even national rugby. There is something about the sheer joy, enthusiasm and team spirit of girls rugby that you will find no-where else.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Total Pageviews (since June 2009)

Sport Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory