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, November 27, 2010

Recognise the work of your club, coaches and team-mates

Entries for the 2010 Comet Sports Awards have opened.

The awards recognise the work and performances of everyone involved in sport in North Herts - coaches, players and teams. So if you think that your club, coaches or team-mate deserves recognition then don't wait for someone else to put in a entry - do it yourself!

This year's categories are:

  • Sports Personality of the Year
  • Team of the Year
  • Service to Sport
  • Coach of the Year
  • Club of the Year
  • Youth Achievement (Boys)
  • Youth Achievement (Girls)
  • Veteran Achievement
  • The Paul Pearce Disability Award
  • Youth Team of the Year
  • School of the Year
  • School Unsung Hero
  • Sporting Photograph

OAs cancel tomorrow's county training session

OAs have announced that, due to frozen pitches, tomorrow's (28th November) joint training session for girls' clubs has had to be cancelled.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Six Nations 2011 - at last we know where and when

The times, dates and venues of the men's Six Nations games have been known for... well, months - practically since the last tournament - but for some reason details about the women's games have been treated as if they were state secrets by all of the countries involved (except Wales). At times you did wonder whether they had decided to avoid repeating the World Cup's problem of a lack of seats by not telling anyone where the Six Nations games would be played.

However, some determined will-not-take-no-for-an-answer work by ScrumQueen's Alison Donnelly has finally broken the resolve of the officials across the British Isles and France and at last we know where England will be attempting to retain their Grand Slam title, and where everyone else will be trying to stop them.

England three home games will - for the first time in many years - be spread across three grounds,  and - even more amazingly - they will be venturing outside the Home Counties (presumably the RFU have convinced the RFUW that civilisation has indeed now extended beyond the M25). Scotland, France and Italy are similarly spreading things about a bit, but Wales are sticking to Bridgend for their games and Ireland are remaining at "lucky" Ashbourne.

As for TV coverage, unconfirmed rumour suggests that Sky are keen to renew their acquaintance with the game and would be delighted to be able to show England's game at Twickenham  - but the snag is that the BBC have the rights to the preceding men's fixture. Sky also often cover England men's A and age-group games, and if they do coverage of the rather more interesting game against France may be possible. On the web Scottish Rugby TV occasionally records some of their women's games, while some French games can be found on the FFR's website (occasionally with a live feed).

However beyond that... nothing (so far as I am aware). It seems the concept of a live web feed for women's rugby - something which not only the USA and Canada can manage, but even a few of the Caribbean islands - currently remains beyond the technical abilities of the Home Nations. For the time being you really do have to be there.

Times, dates, and venues below:
Friday , Feb 4th: France v Scotland (Athis Mons)
Sunday, Feb 6th Wales v England (Bridgend RFC); Italy v Ireland (Rovigo, 14.30)

Friday February 11th: Ireland v France (Ashbourne, 19.30)
Saturday, February 12th: England v Italy (Esher, 16.30)
Sunday, February 13th: Scotland v Wales (West of Scotland Club, 14.00)

Saturday, February 26th: Scotland v Ireland (Lasswade RFC, 14.00)
Sunday, February 27th: England v France (Worcester); Italy v Wales (Viareggio, Tuscany, 14.30)

Sunday, March 13th: England v Scotland (Twickenham); Wales v Ireland (Bridgend RFC); Italy v France (Benevento, 14.30)

Friday, March 18th: Ireland v England (Ashbourne RFC, 19.00)
Saturday, March 19th: France v Wales (Stade Pierre Rajon, Bourgoin-Jallieu, 15.00)
Sunday, March 20th: Scotland v Italy (Meggittland, Edinburgh)

  • And if you think that and England win is a foregone conclusion, then shock results can happen. Earlier today, in the women's sevens tournament at the Asian Games, China - who had hitherto not conceded a point in the tournament, had never lost a game at home, and had only been beaten by Australia since the last World Cup - missed out on gold, losing what sounds like an incredible, incident-filled, final to Kazakhstan. Nothing is certain in sport!

See the world through rugby

Tag RugbyWant travel, play rugby AND make a difference to the lives of children in some of the poorest regions in the world? Then this could be for you.

The Tag Rugby Trust have contacted me. They are a charity that coaches children and develops rugby in countries across the globe -  take a look at our latest tour report from India, a tour which is in progress as we speak.

The TRT have been running tours since 2002 and run at least five similar tours a year, and the number is growing. They are IRB-recognised  and all funds raised go towards building futures for children through rugby. The tours are funded through volunteers who raise money to join the adventure, and work closely with the children as coaches. Apparently many volunteers say that the tour is a life changing experience. The TRT have a website, and photo albums on Picasa, or search for "Tag Rugby Trust" on YouTube.

The 2011 tour dates have just been announced - click here to register an interest.

2011 Tour Dates

Late April – Zambia (Already full!)
Late June/Early July – Uganda
Early July – Zambia
Late October/Early November – India
November – Mexico
Romania – TBC

More information: Tag Rugby Trust, Meadow View, Tannery Lane, Bramley, Guildford, Surrey, GU5 0AB. Telephone: 01483 892894.

Alphonsi is Sportswoman of the Year

Its probably not much consolation for losing the World Cup final, but Maggi Alphonsi's performance in that tournament - aided in no small part by the success of the competition and the way it captured the public imagination - has resulted in her winning the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year award.

Not only is this a terrific honour for Maggie, but it is the first time women's rugby has won such a high profile award. Several of her "opponents" for the award were far more well-known sportswomen from far more "high profile" sports, such as gymnastics, cycling, and the Winter Olympics.

Unfortunately the England team missed out on the team award. However, it is interesting to remember that - while Maggie's win came as a result of a public vote - the team award was made by a panel of "experts" and journalists, which maybe suggests that sports journos who are out of touch with the interests and views of the public?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Vote for women's rugby

I am normally a bit reluctant to republish messages and releases from RFUW unedited, but for once I am going to make an exception. So, take it away Keeley...
"The Women’s game of rugby has received some great news and it would be brilliant for Women’s rugby as a sport if we could actually walk away with a winner.
On Sunday it was revealed in the Sunday Times that England Women have been shortlisted for the Sunday Times’ SportsWomen Team of the Year award and Maggie Alphonsi, has also been shortlisted for the SportsWoman of the Year award.
Voting for the team of the year is decided by a panel, but for the SportsWoman of the Year it’s up to the public! As you’ll see from the link below there is some tough competition, but if you want to show your support for Maggie please vote for her at
Voting closes midday on Wednesday November 17th so you’ll have to be quick and the winners will be announced on Monday 22nd November."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

England's top U18s

After yesterday's U20 announcement, today it was the turn of the U18s who will be part of the new Talent Development Group (there will be no U15 group this season, due to the reorganisation). The names can be found on the RFUW website. No-one from Letchworth, but its still worth looking at as it is really interesting to see the geographic spread of players.

16 of the 32 girls come from six clubs, and five are from one club - London Irish (a fact that will result in the odd comment or two I suspect). In addition Aylesbury produce three, while Gloucester, H3, Newquay and Welwyn provide two each - but that does mean that 22 clubs are represented, which is (without checking) pretty good. The appearance of a few clubs that are not normally high on the list of "big names" is also good to see - Furness (Cumbria), Malton & Norton (Yorks.), and Tavistock (Devon) for instance - but most of the clubs are familiar names and chances are that anyone who played for our U18s last year will have played against most of the girls on this list.

This season the route into the TDGs will be via the new divisions, instead of the old regions. It will be interesting to see whether this results in any change to the range of clubs getting girls into the highest level of junior rugby.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

All change for England U20s

After a disappointing season last year, its all change in the England U20 squad. Only eight players from last season survive the cull, and a new coach has been appointed - former Welsh international Amanda Bennett.

It will be the biggest season ever for the national age-group squad, with games against France and Scotland as well as the reappearance of the Nations Cup (presumably in Canada). On the other hand, going by the RFUW press release, the fixture against Wales seems to have been dropped which is a pity (if it is correct) as it is a game with a real history behind it and a good benchmark to measure the progress of both age-group teams.

There are several familiar names - former members of clubs such as Welwyn, Basford and Wimbourne. Check out the RFUW's release for all of the names.

  • Late news... England will still be playing Wales it seems, but only as a training fixture. Odd...

County weekend round-up

All of the weekend's county results have now been published - and some even more remarkable scores are included.


First, congratulations for Hertfordshire - the senior women's team - who completed a clean sweep for the county with a 30-7 win over Leicestershire. Only Essex did better with a 32-5 win over Sussex, and that with a side packed with familiar names from the days of the great U18 rivalry between the counties - India Harvey and Emily Scott were both among the Essex try scorers. Pity the two counties are not due to meet - would be great to watch.

In other games Lancashire also followed on from their juniors with a 30-7 win over Yorkshire to complete the hat-trick for the red rose - clearly Yorkshire's old U18 girls have not made it into the senior ranks in the same way that those in Herts and Essex have. Devon's women also completed a clean sweep over their Cornish rivals, 27-19. And Hampshire will be very disappointed by their 20-0 defeat to Kent - especially when they could not score even when had a two-player advantage near the end of the game. But the less happy news is that, just like their U15s, Warwickshire could not raise a women's team to play East Midlands.

  • Cheshire 15, North Midlands 22
  • Cumbria 17, Northumberland 7
  • NLD 21, Staffordshire 24

Results unpublished on Sunday now reveal that...
  • Gloucestershire were the winners in a three cornered set of fixtures involving Berkshire and Oxfordshire - moreover without conceding a try with a 27-0 win over Berkshire, and a 37-0 win over Oxon.
  • Cheshire beat North Midlands 32-12
So, based on the first round of games, the leading counties at U18 level are Dorset & Wilts, Gloucestershire, East Midlands, Surrey, and Hertfordshire. Will we get a better (if unofficial) idea about who the Champion County is after next month's round of games?


The headline result with the U15s is the amazing 99-0 win for North Midlands over Cheshire - though the fact that Cheshire would appeared to have only fielded 10 players may have been an important factor. Dorset & Wilts were almost as impressive in their 52-0 win over Somerset.

  • Berkshire were winners of a triangular also involving Gloucestershire and and Oxfordshire
  • Kent completed a disappointing weekend for Hampshire with a 26-0 win
  • Northumberland beat Cumbria 20-14.
The leading U15 counties so far would therefore seem to be... North Midlands, Dorset & Wilts, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Surrey, and Devon.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Sydney scores two as Hertfordshire sweep opposition aside

Hertfordshire were overwhelmingly dominant in their county games, at both age groups, yesterday. The U18s destroyed hosts Leicestershire 78-0, scoring 14 tries in the 70 minute game (see the Herts blog for details), while the U15s swept to a convincing win in a three-way tournament beating Leicestershire 32-5 (six tries, two for Syd, one for Florrie) and then Notts, Lincs and Derbys 20-5 (these games were "only" 35 minutes, so the scoring was almost as one sided as in the U18 game).

Results of (most) of the county games are now appearing on the Rugby Roundup website (look under "Competitions" and then "Under 15" or "Under 18") - which is a great breakthrough, presumably coming from the merger with the RFU. Though the website suffers from some seriously annoying pop-up adverts, once you have waded through it all you will find full team lists and scorer information for most of the games.

Looking through these results a few highlights stand out. Lancashire U15s - not historically the strongest of counties - destroyed Yorkshire 61-0... in Yorkshire, a truly astonishing result considering that Yorkshire was a Region on its own until this season, though maybe we saw a foretaste of this with the significant improvement by Lancashire teams at the National 7s back in May.

Elsewhere in the U15s Surrey thrashed Sussex 44-0, and Devon were almost as dominant in Cornwall, wining 48-12. but other games were closer. Its good to see former East Region colleagues Essex rebuilding  as they beat Middlesex 19-10, and the same applies to Eastern Counties - in deep trouble last season - who ran East Midlands close losing only 20-12. On the other hand it is worrying to see that the Staffordshire/ Warwickshire CB were unable to raise a side - not an area that you normally think of as being weak.

In the U18s (in the games were results have been published) East Midlands almost matched Herts with a 70-0 win over Eastern Counties, and Dorset and Wilts blew Somerset away by 78-5. Other games were rather closer, but Devons U18s achieved the double with a 26-10 win over Cornwall, as did Lancashire with a 17-10 win over Yorkshire. Joe Randall's old county - Gloucestershire - had few problems beating Oxfordshire 37-0, Hampshire sneaked home 12-7 against Kent. Staffs & Warwicks did get an U18 side out, but they lost 26-20 to NLD, and finally (and perhaps a surprise result) Oxfordshire beat Berkshire 21-5.

One thing you may notice is how counties with strong U15 team also tend to have strong U18 teams, which presumably reflects the strength of the game at club level in each county (okay, county coaches may help - but  even the most brilliant of coaches would be hard pressed to make silk purses out of sows ears in only two or three training sessions!). When you think about where the big clubs are - the Lancashire U15 and Oxfordshire U18 results aside (surely Berkshire is is mainly Reading, for heaven's sake!) - there are no huge surprises. We know its good in Devon (Exeter Saracens, to name but one excellent club down there), and that the (unfortunately former) Gloucester Girls Rugby Trust did amazing things in that county. Dorset will be drawing on Wimboune, amongst others, and Surrey will presumably have the likes of London Irish behind their success.

However, the overall message that comes from - admittedly only just the first round of results - is how amazingly strong the game in Hertfordshire is. So, if you trialled for the county squad but didn't get in, don't have hard feelings - you were trying to get into one of the best county squads in England!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The time has come...

The time has come to tie down exactly who can and will play in the historic Old Letchworth/Legends Reunited v Old Welwyn match, to be played at Letchworth on the evening of Monday 20th December. The ground is agreed, the club are signed up - its all ready (apparently). All we need is YOU.

So - please can you confirm whether or not you can play on that evening. If you would like to play, but are still unsure of your availability, then please let me know that as well - a lack of reply by (let's say) 20th (at the very latest) will be taken as meaning that you cannot play. That would give us plenty of time to wind things down if it turned out that we did not have enough of you willing to play (a possibility which, it has to be said, seems unlikely based on initial responses). It will also allow us to decide whether we'll be playing 7s, 10s or a full 15-a-side game.

In addition, if you know of anyone who has not received this message but would still like to play, please pass the invitation on. The only qualifications are to be aged 18 years or more on the day, and to have worn the Black and Amber as a junior. In theory this means that well over 100 of you are qualified, so we really should be able to get a team together.

Anyway.... the main thing is that its going to be fun, the bar will be open afterwards, and all you need do to make it happen is hit this email link. Now.

Remembering Letchworth's fallen

If you are not going to Hertford on Sunday (see below) please try to come to the club at 12.45 - the end of the junior boys' training - for a special presentation for Remembrance Sunday.

You may have noticed in the clubhouse a small wooden plaque listing the players and club members who fell during the Second World War. Its a simple memorial, like many you see, but for most people they are just names. The war ended 65 years ago this year - a long time, even for their families, to remember the people behind these names.

So this Sunday promises to be very special. To mark the 65th anniversary one of the club's oldest and most distinguished members - Gordon Collinson - will be giving a brief presentation about the real people behind these names, many of whom he knew.

It'll be a fairly short event - 15-20 minutes perhaps - but an important one. Please come along if you can.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

County development day

Even if you are not playing for the county this weekend, there is still a great opportunity for you to have a game.

The county RFU are organising a series of development days designed to give girls who are not in the county squads as much game time as possible on County days. The next day will be at Hertford this Sunday and girls from both age groups are invited.

Players should arrive at Hertford after 12 o'clock - changing facilities may be available, but you should come ready just in case. After a group warm up/training session players will be grouped into teams to play a game or games from about 1pm, with the day finishing at 2 - 2.30pm.

These days are always great fun, and well worth attending - particularly if you are new to the game.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Getting ready for the game: expert advice

Scrumqueens has just published an excellent article, written by Sports scientist Tessa Morris (pic left) and Scotland women's rugby international Lynsey Douglas (right) detailing how players can make themselves as prepared as possible for a match.

Its gives advice on diet and liquid intake before, during, and after a game that will maximise your fitness and performance on the day, as well as helping you recover afterwards.

Admittedly, with most games being on Sundays, I suspect that the requirements may be quite challenging for some...

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