Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Finding what you need on the Herts blog

I have added some improved navigation to the blog. Basically all blog entries have now been categorised (see the list in the column to the right). Now clicking on any subject heading will produce a page of entries just on that subject.

So - for example - all news on the Herts 7s can now be found on a single page by clicking on Herts 7s. You could even add that page to your "Favourites" (http://hertsgirls.blogspot.com/search/label/Herts%207s) - thus in effect creating your own blog devoted just to the 7s.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Venues for regional away games announced.

The venues for the seniro and junior regional away games against East Midlands on 18th March have finally been revealed. These will be:

Seniors: at Coalville, Kick-off 2.30
Juniors: at Aylestone St James (Leicester), Kick-off 2.30

Sunday, February 25, 2007

East Region seniors: standings after round 2

The latest results and standings in the senior regional championships (after today's fixtures) are:

East 5 South East 12; North East P Yorkshire P; South 12 Thames Valley 12; East Midland 10 North West 5; West Midlands P South West P

East 25 North East 12; North West 5 West Midlands 17; Thames Valley 10 South East 17; South 10 South West 3; Yorkshire 5 East Midlands 10











South East










East Midlands






























West Midlands










Thames Valley










North West




















South West










North East










One round of games remains to be played - with East away to East Midlands on 18th March. The top four teams will then play-off for the regional championship at Wasps the following week.

Herts Sevens 2007: Entries starting to come in!

The entries for Herts 7s 2007 are starting to come in, where the following entries are already confirmed...

Eastern Furies
Paviors/Leicester Forest

So that is more than a quarter of the places gone already - with girls from eight different counties already taking part!

Don't delay, enter TODAY! Contact Peter McCullough (peter.mccullough@ntlworld.com) for details.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Herts Sevens 2007: Don't miss out!

Following last season’s successful Hertfordshire Girls’ Sevens Tournament held at Letchworth RFC, it is the turn of Welwyn RFC to host this prestigious event in 2007.

It is taking place on Sunday 20th May 2007. Clubs may enter both U14 and U17 teams, and there will be up to 16 teams in each age group. This is an open tournament and is potentially the biggest Girls Sevens Festival in the East and East Midland Regions this season.

Paviors / Leicester Forest have booked their place in the U17 section, so there are now only 13 places left at U17 and 14 places at U14 as the hosts Welwyn Warriors have already booked their places and a place is being reserved for a Barbarians Team at both age groups.

So get your entries in ASAP to avoid disappointment. If you have not already received your entry form please e-mail peter.mccullough@ntlworld.com

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Looking ahead: plans for 2007/8

The main points from last night's meeting:

County squads 2007/8
  • The new U15 squad will run in the same way as this year's U14 squad
  • Instead of one official U17 county squad of 25 and a semi-official "Barbarian" team, two official county U18 squads will be selected - County "A" and County "B"
  • Each U18 squad will have 20 members.
  • The two squads will train at the same venues on the same dates
  • Variations in form, injury, or lack of commitment may result in players moving between squads
  • Squad training (and hopefully fixtures) will run throughout the season, continuing on regional training for "A" and "B" squad members not selected by East.
  • In major festivals - like the one at Westcliffe in December - both U18 squads will play, while on other occasions it may be that the "B" and "A" team may have different fixtures.

U12s 2007/8

  • Training and development days for U12s will be run on the same days (and ideally the same location) as county squad selection/training days
  • If other counties will be running similar schemes, inter-county games may be organised.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Tonight's county meeting

As reported at the end of last month there is an important meeting on the future direction of rugby in Herts tonight. Anyone with any interest in girls of womens rugby in the county may attend.

The meeting is at Welwyn RFC, and starts at 7.30pm. The agenda is:

1. County programme - Spring 2006/7
We said we'd revisit the feasibilty of running any county training or matches for the rest of the season after the regional trials.
Timing: Simple yes or no required really - so 5/10 minutes

2. Promoting the girls game current U11/U12 girls
a) Saracens/Herts Youth Games tag - involvement, follow-up, support, etc.
b) Contacting girls at clubs without existing girls sections - can we do something at the Herts Festival? Other ideas?
Timing: c15 minutes

3. Emerging schools tournament - report, follow-up ideas, suggestions for expansion/ improvement next year.
Timing: c5/10 minutes

4. Support for U12 girls - 2007/8
Welwyn have matter in hand at club level for their area (previously reoported) - but what is planned elsewhere, and what can be done at county level to further support this?
Timing: 15 mins

5. County squad proposals - 2007/8
In particular the idea to merge the existing separate County and Barbarians squads (mainly at at U18 level) to form a single county squad of c40 girls from which two teams would be selected for each fixture. This is model used (apparently) by some boys age groups, and also the Worcesteshire Girls (who recently finished 1st and 2nd in the West Mids county tournament).
Timing: Views may be more divided, but ultimately a yes or no - say 10/15 minutes

6. Way forward paper. Discussion.
Timing: c30 minutes

7. AOB

Womens & Girls Development within Counties: The way forward"

The following is a paper discussion from Amanda Bate, who until recently ran things in the county, but has now been "called upstairs" to cast her magic across East Region and London North. It will be discussed at tonight's meeting:

Recently the 5 WRDM’s , who cover the whole of England, discussed ways of helping county groups to plan the development of W&G rugby in counties.

Eventually the RFUW and the RFU will merge and the better infrastructure W&G have the easier this merge will be.

Herts, like some other counties has really developed in the past 3 or so years, helped by the formation of the forum. However, it was felt, and I agreed, in the case of Herts, that the forum, in its informal guise has just about run its course. For those of you at the inception of the forum, may remember that attendance and the number of clubs represented was much higher then, than it has been in the last 6 months or so. The forum used to plan and feed back, but the last few have just been general discussion and nothing taken forward as a group, apart from the county teams, but of course, clubs, individually have been very pro-active in some cases.

An idea has been discussed and I would like to see if Herts could do it and be a pilot study in a way. Devon and Cornwall are interested in having a go. Read the Management structure idea and development plan and see what you think. You can adjust both to fit your needs.

At first reading you may think this is too big a project to take on, and you may be right, in which case feel free to go on as you are. However, if you want, or feel the need to have a better structure, maybe this is the way forward. I have begun a development plan, but the plan must be what you as a group want. If it is, it will serve to keep you focused and your work will be measurable. If it’s not a plan you want, nothing will be achieved from it.

Women and Girls Management Group
  • Chairperson
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Funding/sponsorship Officer
  • Press/communications Officer
  • Volunteer Co-ordinator
  • Coaching Officer (to sit on or be in contact with CB RDP coaching committee)
  • Referee Officer
  • Welfare Officer (to have contact with county Welfare Officer, or Welfare Officer to sit on this committee)
  • CB RDP representative, or someone from CB RDP sits on this committee.
Also, people to lead on the development of:
  • U12’s
  • U15’S
  • U18’S
  • Senior
  • Competitions and Events Officer.
Of course it may be that the treasurer is also the funding officer, the press officer is also the secretary…i.e. use skills people already have. But it is also fairly certain that new volunteers will need to be sought from within your clubs. (For guidance, the HSP website has job description templates on it, should this sort of information be needed. In fact google any of these committee positions and templates, guidance notes will be found.)

This group, would, with help and support from the WRDM, write a development plan for the development of the county. This would include age group development, coach development, volunteer development as well as county teams development.

The development plan can be as simple or as complex as the Management decide they can handle. Once agreed it would be passed to the CB RDP for their acceptance. Once a year it would be evaluated and revised, each time feedback being given to the Herts Exec via the CB RDP. This should ensure that W&G rugby is taken seriously and becomes included properly and totally within the entire county rugby structure and planning.

A General Forum

It is suggested that once at the beginning and again, maybe half way through, the season a general forum is held. The first part of the forum could be a workshop. Say on, form filling around affiliation, or funding applications etc, and then an hour on the questions and answers Parents, players, coaches, and other interested parties could be invited to this.

Support from the WRDM.

Amanda would aim at this,
  • to write a development plan for the group to adjust as they see fit.
  • to attend meetings of the group when invited, if possible.
  • to help provide volunteer training
  • to help with funding applications
  • to help with the general forums
Amanda also envisages that possibly at the RFUW Regional conferences, members or representatives from the county management groups could get together and find out what each county is doing. If counties have similar set ups they could be very beneficial to each other.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Make an impact at national level

The RFUW is seeking to appoint four Directors.

The RFUW Board is responsible for overseeing the policy, strategic direction and performance of the RFUW and its allocation and use of resources. It has a Corporate Governance & Audit sub-group chaired by the Chairman of the Board. This is an excellent opportunity to become involved with a national organisation at an exciting and important time – it is also an opportunity to make a valuable contribution to sport at both a strategic and operational level.

Posts do not currently attract remuneration, but there are significant development opportunities and travel expenses.

Attendance is negotiable with the Chairman but will be required for at least 6 days a year. Directors will also need to allow for reading time to ensure they keep abreast of developments in the Sport. Directors may also be invited to play an active role in one of the consultative or advisory groups and panels that have been established by the Board. the duration of the Appointment is initially for up to 1 year.

For further job description and person specification details please follow this link.

Please register your interest or send a CV with covering letter or e-mail including your rugby knowledge / experience to Susan Allen, RFUW, Rugby House, Rugby Road, Twickenham, TW1 1DS or to susanallen@rfu.com. The closing date for receipt of applications is 23rd February 2007and interviews will be held in Twickenham in March.

RFUW launch female referee initiative

The Rugby Football Union for Women is launching a new national campaign entitled Women into Refereeing II.

The aim of the campaign is not only to help increase the number of female referees working in the game but also to look for the talented female referees of the future who have the potential to take to the national and international stage in both the men’s and women’s game.

The RFUW will be hosting an Entry Level Referee Award Course in eight of the RFU’s regions for women only during March, April and May. The courses will be discounted and cost just £20. Course dates and venues are to be confirmed but will shortly be posted on the rfu.com.

The RFUW’s National Rugby Development Manager Sam Marshall said: “From these courses we are looking to talent spot up to six female referees nationally to go on to a specially designed fast track Continuous Professional Development course.”

The RFUW have also appointed ten female Referee Ambassadors who all regularly officiate in refereeing societies at Level 8 and above. These include Somerset’s Clare Daniels and Gloucestershire’s Debbie Innes who both recently ran touch during England’s RBS Women’s 6 Nations international against Italy at Twickenham Stadium.

Marshall added: “As well as providing good role models for aspiring female referees, the ambassadors’ role will be to link up with local schools, universities, clubs and counties to ensure that women and girls are aware of the pathway available for female referees from grassroots rugby to the elite level.”

The RFUW will also be running one day ‘back to refereeing’ courses in June for women. Dates and venues to be confirmed on rfu.com.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Does your team have a website?

It has been suggested that the blog should include a listing of all girls club websites so as to make it easier for new players to find a team - which seems a pretty good idea.

So - does you team have a website or webpage?

Please note that I mean specifically the address that goes directly to the page or pages devoted to your girls' team - not just your broader club (have you ever tried to fight your way through the average club website to the girls page?). I also mean a page that is regularly updated - so all the phone numbers should work, and it perhaps should include this year's fixture - not those from 2-3 years ago!

If so please let me know the address and I will add it to the bar on the right.

Friday, February 09, 2007

"I like the bit when you can jump on people!": Emerging Schools 2007

Thanks to Dave Marques from Welwyn for proving me with some more detail about Wednesday - including the brilliant quote above from one of the players from Yavneh College which deserves to be hung up and framed somewhere!

Six teams entered - four from single schools - Highfield (Letchworth); Hitchin Girls; Roysia (Royston), and Yavneh College (Borehamwood) and then two combined teams - Stanborough/Sir Frederic Osborne (from Welwyn Garden City) and Chauncey/Simon Balle/Presdales (from Hertford).

The latter two teams - well padded out with experienced club players from their respective town's teams - were from the outset going to be clearly too powerful for the relative newcomers from the other schools (virtually all of whom had only started playing this season). So it was decided that "Welwyn Schools v Hertford Schools" would be the final - which Hertford won by five tries to one. Both of these teams go through to the next stage.

The remaining teams played in a "newcomers" tournament which was won by Hitchin Girls by virtue of conceeding one try less than Highfield. However, perhaps the performance of the day was from Yavneh who were all year seven girls and, while they lost two and drew one, "were a really plucky bunch!".

How to follow England's Six Nations campaign

As many of you saw on Saturday, England made a great start to this season's Six Nations with a 60-0 romp over Scotland - who, it is worth remembering, are "officially" the sixth best side in the world (Wales would probably argue with that, but they were not at the World Cup).

However, finding any news in the press about the women's six nations is about as easy as scoring a try against Welwyn U17s - even if the results are published they are often buried away in such small print that an electronic microscope if required! So the following web-based resources are particilarly useful.
  • Biogs etc. about the England squad appear on the RFUW website
  • Scores and results appear on the "Official RBS Nations Website". This also includes the previous three campaigns, and the main thing to note is that Italy did much better against France than I think anyone would have predicted.
  • England's matches can be watched - live - online at www.247.tv, except for this Saturday's game against Italy which will be on BBC Interactive.

New, free, online rugby magazine

DSM Rugby ("Dummy, Scissors, Miss" apparently) is a free online magazine for rugby followers. The first issue (which came out in December) featured all sorts of good stuff - apparently - including the first in a regular series of articles by Danielle Waterman (Clifton Ladies & England). The second issue has just appeared.

And its superb. Getting in can be a problem as it uses Flash so as to look like a paper journal, including animated page turning. The result is that some computers just hang if they do not have Flash, or do not have the latest incarnation of the utility.

But its really worth the effort - not to be missed! Anyway - with all of your starting your half-term early today it'll give you something to do to fill the yawning gap in your social schedules.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Emerging schools competition a big success

There were times when it looked like it would never happen, that not enough schools would come forward, that it was all getting left behind - but today the first ever county schools rugby tournament for U14 girls teams took place in Welwyn.

Apparently eight teams took part - which is spectacular. The winners seem to have been either a (combined?) Welwyn Schools team or a Welwyn school that my informants could not remember the name of, with a similarly constituted Hertford Schools (or school) team finishing as runners up. No great surprise this as most of the county's U14s play at one club or the other and both teams were apparently had a number of experienced players. Both of these teams now move onto the next stage.

Third and fourth also sounds to have been an excitingly close thing between Hitchin Girls School and Highfield School, Letchworth - all the more so because each team was full of mainly newcomers to the game who had been coached (and were supported) by different girls from Letchworth U17 team, a friendly rivalry that was still in evidence several hours later!

Anyway, the day was obviously a great success and I'd really appreciate it if anyone who was there could supply a more coherent report than the ones I have received so far. It clearly deserves to be recorded and reported.

Regional training: message from U17 team manager

Cathy Acheson, U17 East Region Team Manager writes:

Those in the U17 East Region Squad, along with those who are retrialling, will train at Culford School on Sunday 11th February.

You can find full directions, including a map of the school grounds here

Please be at the Gym by 12.30 for a 1pm start. Don’t be late!

For parents: please make every effort to attend, as there will be a presentation for you about what your daughters can expect. There will also be a meeting about the proposed tour to Canada and USA in July 2008

Monday, February 05, 2007

Watch England Women’s international rugby stars for free!

A reminder that you can see the next round of ENgland's bid to retain the Women’s RBS Six Nations Grand Slam winners FREE!. The World Cup finalists will take to the hallowed turf of Twickenham Stadium on Saturday February 10th wqhere they face RBS Six Nations newcomers Italy, kick-off 4.15pm. This follows on from England 60-0 win over Scotland at OAs on Saturday.

England head coach Geoff Richards said “Italy are the newcomers to the tournament this year, replacing Spain, and we will take them on at Twickenham stadium. Their addition to the championship is a positive move for the international game and it will also bring us in line with the men’s Six Nations championship. There’s certainly going to be some exciting rugby on offer and I hope that as many as you as possible will come along and support England at the home of English rugby.”

Entry to the match at Twickenham is free and people can gain access to the stadium directly after the conclusion of the men’s RBS Six Nations game against Italy.

And if you cannot make it there is no excuse for missing the action because you can watch live coverage of of the game via your red button on BBC Interactive. All other England Women's RBS 6 Nations matches are being streamed live on www.247.tv

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Team for first East Region senior fixture announced

The team for East region's game against the South East at Basildon next weekend has been annnounced. See http://clubs.rfu.com/Clubs/portals/eastladies/Southeast.aspx

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Herts U17s shine at inter-county sevens

Hertfordshire's U17 girls did the county proud today, battling back from an apparently impossible position to akmost steal the four-county sevens tournament held at Old Albanians as a curtain raiser for the England/Scotland international.

They began the tournament looking very like the scratch team that they were. Unlike Eastern Counties, and possibly other teams, Herts had had no pre-tournament training and had been selected on the basis of the first ten girls to step forward.

In practice it wasn't a bad side on paper, but based on the first half of their first pool game against Surrey you'd have thought they had barely met before. 10-0 down at half time required sharp words and rapid team changes (Megan Williams coming on - and staying on for the rest of the tournament!), and a revitalised Herts then clawed their way back into the game to finish with a 10-10 draw.

The next game against Eastern Counties saw a better performance, but no points on the board by either side at half time - Hannah Marques just going into touch in the corner before the whistle. However, Herts finally broke through in the second half to win fairly comfortably 10-0.

The final game was against an under-strength Essex - but again Herts fell asleep, and were 10-0 down minutes into the first half. Rousing themselves they pulled level by the interval and the injection of fresh legs in the second half saw the girls in green storm away to win 25-10 - thus securing first place in the pool. Second place was a near run thing, Surrey only denying Eastern Counties by snatching a draw just before the end.

So two unbeaten teams met in the final on the main pitch. An early score by Herts was quickly cancelled out and with our girls making a series of dreadful handling errors half time came with Surrey holding a commanding - some said unassailable - 20 points to 5 lead.

But Herts weren't finished. A far better second half showing saw the Surrey lead gradually whittled away. With the clock ticking down the score drew level, and then Herts snatched what seemed a dramatic winner - 25-20 with less than a minute left!

But Surrey were not finished. Almost straight from the restart they drew level, and as the clock ran down it was Surrey who were battering on the Herts line. The last play of the game seemed to have the Herts defence overwhelmed - until Megan intercepted a pass virtually on her own line, dodged and sprinted the length of the field to touch down and "win" a hugely exciting sevens game.

Unfortunately the final horn had been blown - and under the unusual the rules of the event the game ended when time ran out, not when the ball went dead, so the game was declared a draw.

But Herts U17s remain unbeaten at sevens - and we've beaten Surrey before!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Herts regional success at U17: story so far

Fourteen Herts girls are in the regional squad:

The girls selected (Welwyn unless otherwise stated): Lana Block; Ema Burgess; Frances Dawson; Charisse Fallon; Claire Foster (Hitchin); Hannah Gallagher; Hayley Guilder (Letchworth); Hannah Marques; Naomi Parnell (Letchworth); Alex Robertson; Casey Shults; Geri Thomas; Megan Williams

Herts players in the East senior squad

Although there are half-a-dozen players retrialling, its may be of interest to record the Hertfordshire player alreadyselected for the East region senior squad:

Chloe Allcorn (OAs); Kate Barnes (OAs); April Brown (Saracens); Elisha Dee ((Saracens); Laura Evans (Fullerians); Natalie Granger (OAs); Sarah McKenna (Fullerians); Cheryl Thompson (Saracens); Charlie White (OAs).

In addition Katie Hannam (Saracens) and Emma Nichols (OAs) are amogst those retrialling.

U14 regional squad announced

The (almost) final U14 squad has been announced. Unlike the U17s only one girl will be coming back to retrial on 11th February, our own Alice Nee (who was unable to go to Ely due to injury) so we have a much better idea about what the final make-up of the team.

Apart from Alice, nine Hertfordshire girls are in the final squad of 25. The girls selected are:

Courtney Arberry (Welwyn); Megan Childs (Saracens); Rebecca Dawson (Welwyn); Sydnie Alice Grace (Tabard); Rachel McCullough (Welwyn); Olivia Payne (Welwyn); Claire Shutler (Saracens); Samantha Voyle (Welwyn); Emma Wilson (Welwyn)

The full squad list appears on the East website