Tuesday, May 30, 2006

News from National Sevens...

No titles this year for Herts sides at the National Sevens, but our girls came closer than ever before...

In the U14s our sole county representatives and Herts Sevens champions Welwyn stormed through all the group phases, and in the final met London & SE Champions "Cramberleigh" (Camberley & Cranleigh combined). Many of the girls had met before in the Regional Championship final at Rugby - and unfortunately it was the same story again with Welwyn going down 25-0.

In the U17s we had three teams:
  • Fullerians performed best, only losing out to eventual champions Basildon in a tight cup semi-final.
  • Letchworth also lost to Basildon, but recorded their first ever win at the National Sevens against Andover, and thereby reached the Plate semi-finals where they fell to Wimborne.
  • Welwyn found themselves in tough group, losing to Darlington and Petersfield. However, they picked themselves up and made it through to the "Best of the Rest" final.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Fourth Herts 7s gallery published

On the day of National Sevens a surprise fourth gallery of photos from Herts Sevens has now appeared on RugbyMatters, featuring:

  • Letchworth
  • Uttlesford
  • Westcliffe
  • Becket (not sure which one of them!)
  • Basildon
  • Wasps
  • Rochford
  • Daventry
  • Milton Keynes
  • Romford
  • Paviors
  • Letchworth/Saracens, and
  • Hertford

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Welwyn pair selected for England performance camp

Two Welwyn girls are among the best 30 U17s in the county - and that's official.

Michelle Brophy (centre, 17) and Megan Williams (fly half, and still - amazingly - only 14) have been selected to attend the RFUW's U17 performance camp at Loughborough. The Performance Camp is the next step up the national ladder above the Performance Development Academies (PDAs) (featured in the latest Newsletter which was issued today).

Unfortunately details of the selections have only just been issued and so the news does not appears in the Newsletter, for which the editor apologises - but it only goes to show the advantage of a rolling electronic news service over a printed publication!

Anyway - good luck to Michelle and Megan, and we look forward to hearing how they get on. They are - I think - the first non-Fullers Hertfordshire girls to get to Loughborough?

Their selection shows the depth of talent at Welwyn, who have also had three other girls selected for the PDAs in Guildford (Frances Dawson and Hannah Gallagher at U14, and Emma Cramphorn at U17).

Only four other girls from Herts clubs will be at the PDAs - Claire Shutler (Saracens, U14), Sarah McKenna (Fullerians, U17), and Sasha Acheson and Hayley Guilder (both Letchworth, U17).

RFUW affiliation – you’re not insured without it!

RFUW affiliation forms for next season will be dropping on many doormats around now – and its vital that you complete and return them as soon as possible.

Some confusing and (at times) it seemed contradictory advice has been circulated recently, but once you get to the bottom of it all it is quite simple:

Club teams

  • All club teams must be affiliated at each age group at which they play or coach (ie. U14, U17 and adult if players exist at all three levels);
  • Clubs must also ensure that all girls’ and women’s teams are included on their “declaration of insured teams” submitted to the RFU;
  • Junior club affiliation is £35 per age group (ie. £70 if a club has both U14 and U17 players)
  • Inclusion of junior teams on the declaration is free.

Some common misconceptions:

  • A men's club's RFU affiliation does not cover girls’ (ie. age 12+) or women’s teams;
  • Inclusion of a girls' or women's team on the RFU "declaration of insured teams" is not sufficient - on its own - to gain insurance cover for girls' and women's teams (note that the notes on some Marsh insurance documents can, if read in isolation or out of context, give the impression that it is);
  • An adult RFUW team affiliation does not cover junior teams

School teams

  • Schools must be members of the ESRFU
  • But a school with a girls' team/teams must also notify the RFUW about any girls teams
  • School affilation to RFUW is free (provided they are ESRFU members)

If you have not received your affiliation forms by the end of May contact the RFUW immediately, or download the forms from the RFUW website:

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Herts 7s: Further galleries of photographs

The second batch of pictures is now online (click here). Clubs appearing this time include:

  • Basildon
  • Becket
  • Hellesdon
  • Hertford
  • Letchworth
  • Milton Keynes
  • Paviors
  • Rochford
  • Uttlesford
  • Welwyn

In addition there are also now teams photographs and pictures from the presentations featuring:

  • Romford
  • Wasps
  • Rochford
  • Welwyn
  • Becket
  • Paviors
  • Basildon

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Rugby Matters photos from Herts 7s

The first gallery of photos from Herts Sevens have now appeared on the Rugby Matters website.

The pictures are from matches in the first hour or so of the event and mainly feature Uttlesford, Rochford, Becket, Letchworth, Milton Keynes, Basildon, Romford, Westcliffe, and Paviors.

More galleries of photos will appear over the next few days - but there are already a number of excellent action and character shots here. Copied can be ordered from Rugby Matters using this form.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hertfordshire Sevens results now on website

Almost all of the match results and tables from Herts Sevens are now on the website.

There are also now links to reports on the festival, including some video from a Letchworth parent. If you come across any more reports please let me know.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Herts rugby's "athlete support programme" opened up to girls for first time!

Hertfordshire RFU's "athlete Support Programme" will be offering places to girls for the first time this summer.

These special training events for the most promising players will be held at Hatfield Sports Village on three dates in June and July, with a final event in December. Players and their parents will also get advice on nutrition and personal development.

Twenty places will be available, with roughly half allocated to last year's U14s and half to the U17s.

Players and parents who have been selected will be notified shortly.

Changes to girls' rules and regulations, 2006/7 - 2007/8

There are several important changes to the rules for girls' rugby coming up in the next couple of years. For the official guidance click here

County selection essential for regional players next season

Regional trials ae likley to be "closed" events next season - ie. instead of anyone turning up, only players pre-selected by county coaches will be able to attend.

This will make the county trails and matches even more important next season - so make a note of the dates (see below)!

Grab a grant!

If there is one area where women's and girls' sport scores over men's sport its in the area of grants. If a club has a female section it will invariably get a bigger grant than without - indeed any grants are now dependent on a sports club being open to everyone in the community, and not just men.

So get out there and grab a grant!

One of the best sources for funding is the Local Network Fund (details on how to apply here).

Both the county development group and several clubs have already benefited from grants from LNF, who particularly target "disadvantaged groups" - a definition that includes girls' team sport.

Did you know that boys are six times more likely to play a competitive team sport than girls (and that is even when you include "traditional" girls sports like netball and hockey)? And when it comes to games like rugby, well, more men play netball than women play rugby.

Yet - as we know - there is no reason for this beyond artificial barriers such as awareness and access. Which is why the LNF offers funds - to try to redress the balance, increase awareness and access, and raise participation.

The county recently received a grant of over £6,000 which will be used for next season's programme, and Letchworth also announced this week that they have been awarded £2,650 to be used to promote and develop the game in their area.

LNF are keen to have more clubs apply for grants, and will help you complete your application.
Awards for all are another body worth contacting, though they tend to look for bids at club level, and your local council may also offer grants for clubs or individuals.

However it can take some time to process bids, however, so the sooner you apply the better!

"Official" county teams for both age groups next season

County coaches for both age groups have now been appointed for next season which means that there can now be official trials and selection for both the U14 and U17 sides.

The U17 coaches will agains be Luke and Vikki, while the U14s will have three coaches with Simon Shutler (Saracens) as head coach, and Rachel Ansbro and Laura Broderick as assistants. In practice this is no major change as Simon and Rachel did much of the U14 coaching in the pre-Christmas period last year, and Rachel took the U14 County Sevens team to Wimbledon.

John Birch will remain team manager for the U17 and U14, and will also deal with the press.

The county does - however- need a fixtures secretary. If you are interested please contact
Amanda Bate (A.1.Bate@herts.ac.uk)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Herts rugby the big winner at Herts Sports Awards

Hertfordshire rugby - and girls rugby in partiuclar - was the big winner at the Herts Sports Awards (in association with Excel) which were held at Hatfield on 2nd May.

Hertfordshire There were 7 categories, and rugby got an award in 5 of those categories!

  • Community coach of the year (male) Simon Shutler 2nd. Simon is the U14 girls county coach, and also has coached many age groups, boys and girls and adults at Saracens. He also coaches in schools.
  • Community Coach of the year (female) Vicky Lowe, 1st. Vicky is the Girls U17 county coach, and also plays for Fullerians , helps with coaching there, and coaches Hertford women and coaches in schools.
  • Junior Coach of the year 21yrs or under Luke Williams 3rd Luke is the assistant coach to the U17 girls county team. He also coaches the junior girls at Welwyn RFC, and plays for the senior mens team.
  • Accredited club of the year Hertford RFC 1st Hertford run both womens and a girls teams, the latter being runners up in Herts Sevens this year.
In addition the Simon Lowe and Nick Winwood were 3rd in the Paul Pearce Coach of Disabled Performers Award- they set up and coach a mens team which includes men with learning disabilities.

Herts Sevens: Anglia TV reports

The TV news reports from Herts Sevens can now be seen on the Herts 7s blog - click here

Monday, May 15, 2006

And so the 2005/6 season ends...

..which is an odd time to start a new blog, but there again its now that all the planning starts.

And this is also not really a new blog - but an off-shoot, a daughter perhaps, of the Herts Sevens blog used to organise the 2006 festival, a blog which attracted close on 1,000 "hits" fromall parts other world in its short life (not bad for something promoting a small regional junior girls rugby tournament) and which showed that there is at least some mileage in this sort of system as a means of communication.

Anyway - news and information will appear here about girls rugby in Hertfordshire (probably sportadically over the summer). Please get back if you want to make any comments, suggestions, etc.