Monday, April 30, 2007

Four top threes, but no winners at Herts Sports Awards

Girls' rugby just missed out on more silverware in four out of eight categories at this Herts Sports Awards, held this evening at the Herts Sports Village in Hatfield.

Joe Randall (Junior Coach) and Dave Marques (Administrator) were awarded second places in their categories, while Luke Williams (Male coach) and Welwyn (Club) finished third in theirs - but there were no overall winners this year.

All in all though it was a good performance for the sport - aided by the fact that Welwyn at least had not been backward in putting nominations in.

Because it does not matter how worthy you or your club might be in awards like these - if no-one puts nominations forward you or your club won't win anything. Nominations for Herts Sports Awards 2008 will open in the new year - don't miss out next time!

But meanwhile congratulations to our four "top three finishers" - and here's hoping that someone can go one better next year!

Herts representatives both through to National Tens finals

Uniquely Hertfordshire will be represented by two clubs at the Nationals 10s finals in Lichfield on 13th May.

Welwyn were faced with a single opponent in the London North heat at Hemel Hempsted, and easily disposed of Chesham 108-0.

Letchworth meanwhile were at Aylestone St James, near Leicester, for the East Midlands heat. This featured six teams and as a result both finalists were allocated places in the Nationals, which meant that the crucial game was not the final but the semi-final against Kettering - which the Hertfordshire team won 21-12.

This follows on from the county (also uniquely) having two teams in the U17 National Cup semi finals earlier in the year (Letchworth and Welwyn again), as well as a a third in the U14 semis ("Herts Barbarians"). On that occasion none of the teams went on to lift the silverware - maybe that will be different this time.

Other teams known to be in the National 10s finals are Cockermouth, Dorking, Paviors (winners of East Midlands heat), Tynedale, Wimborne, and Worcester.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Herts Youth Games 2007: U11 Girls tag

Herts Youth Games has included a girls tag competition for some years. This year it will again be an U11 tag competition, with teams coming from eight of the ten districts. This means some 80 10-11 year-old girls will be playing tag rugby - very few of whom will currently have a rugby club to play for.

As a recruitment opportunity its really not to be missed. While the age group changes will prevent these players moving directly into the girls game, most U12 mini rugby teams will welcome new players - be they boys or girls - and the county is planning to offer regular "development days" for girls from this age group next season (Essex have even suggested an inter-county fixture).

The programme for the Games - which will take place at the University of Hertfordshire Sports Village on Sunday 13th May - will be as follows:

10.00 Watford v Stevenage; Three Rivers v East Herts
10.20 North Herts v Hertsmere; Broxbourne v Welwyn/Hatfield
11.00 Watford v North Herts; Three Rivers v Broxbourne
11.20 Stevenage v Hertsmere; East Herts v Welwyn/Hatfield
11.40 Watford v Hertsmere; Three Rivers v Welwyn/Hatfield
12.00 Stevenage v North Herts; East Herts v Broxbourne

1.40 7th/8th playoff
2.00 Semi-finals
2.20 5th/6th playoff
2.40 3rd/4th playoff
3.20 Final

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The invisible cup

If you felt that last year's World Cup did not get that much publicity, and that in addition this season's England Grand Slam also went past without making much of a dent in the consciousness of the country's media then this pales into... well, I guess "significance" compared with England's next challenge.

For on Saturday England will be in Madrid competing for the first (well, I assume its first) Women's European Cup - a competition that at present seems to be requiring the invention of whole new lexicon of words to describe its media profile. Even the page devoted to it on the RFUW website can only be described as "minimalist".

Despite appearances this is a competition which will actually feature eight nations - France, Sweden, Netherlands and Wales are also taking part (not Scotland or Ireland though - no idea why...).

There is ever so marginally more information available on the FIRA website - but even they - the organisers - have clearly not felt the need to bust a gut over the promotion of the event. Like saying what the rules are, or where the matches will be played (other than "Madrid", which is a bit vague) - you know, details like that (mind you the RFUW just gives the venue as "Spain", so it could be worse!).

No idea who is in the England team - one assumes they are sending the full squad - in which case some of these games could get a shade one-sided.

But there we are. This blog has probably already given the event a bigger write-up than the rest of the world's media combined. Shame really. The final (inevitably between England and Wales or France) on 5th May should be quite interesting.

[UPDATE] Vincent Acheson has dug around a bit (see comments) and discovered that apparently England are sending an "A" team (though there seem to be a good scattering of full caps in there), which makes sense and actually makes it even more interesting because presumably this young side may well be the basis of the next World Cup team. Shame its all getting about as much coverage as the Albanian Ice Hockey league.

Also its NOT the first competition - which would seem to be news even to FIRA, going by their linguistically challenged website.

East Region end of season awards

Voting forms and lists of nominations for this year's East region awards have been distrbuted to clubs today. If you haven't had your form then contact your club secretary.

Note that the awards are NOT just for people who have worked in the regional programme, and you DO NOT have to be a regional player or official to vote. The awards are there to recognise the work people do to support women's and girls rugby across the region at all levels - so they are relevent to everyone, not just those who play for the regional teams.

There are quite a few awards on offer, and a dozen or more candidates for each one, so there isn't room to post the details here. Just ask your club for a form - and return it as soon as possible to the address given. You can vote by post, email - or even text message!

Apparently cunning schemes are in place to catch out cases of multiple voting, so don't even think about it...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Who wants to play Touch Rugby at Twickenham??

Calling all rugby players….

Do you fancy a chance to play at Twickenham?

If so this is perfect for all of you plus any friends you may think maybe interested.

This summer the 12 Premiership clubs including Saracens have joined together with to bring you the Mixed Premiership National Touch Cup.

Old Albanians RFC will host the Saracens Mixed Touch League and provide an opportunity for all local players to take part and be in with a chance of making the final which will be played at Twickenham during the Middlesex sevens or London Double Header. Teams will compete over an 8 week period to battle it out for a place at Twickenham. Squads will consist of up to 10-14 players of which six will play at any one time with at least two women on the pitch at all times.

The league is scheduled to start Wednesday 23rd May and will run through till July 11th where in the final week the Saracens Touch League Champions will be crowned.

What if I’ve never played before?

Don’t worry, Saracens and have organised a TRY IT session, this will take place in the week leading up to the first evening of the competition and is an opportunity to gain an understanding of the rules, regulations and game play under the guidance of and Saracens staff.

This is not a compulsory part of package but is recommended for new players to the game and is at no extra cost to you.

How do I enter a team?

If you are interested in entering a team in this year’s league or require further information please visit or contact

Please note that the league is for those over 16 years of age.

Richard Gregg
Saracens Rugby Development Officer
DD: 01923 204602

Monday, April 23, 2007

County Girls need Team Managers

The U15’s and the U18’s County Teams will need Team Managers if they are to run this coming season.

When the girls’ county teams were set up 2 seasons ago it was decided that to run, they would have to have a team manager, and John Birch has filled that role for both age groups, extremely well. Now he is stepping down and either one new person is needed to step forward and manage both teams, or 2 people step forward and mange 1 team each.

The role of team manager is about record keeping and communication. This can be done by e-mail on the whole, and by using the Herts Girls blog, set up by John Birch.

The successful applicant(s) will need to be good at e-mail communication and willing to communicate with players, parents and coaches regularly.

I am sure John will be able to explain exactly what he did and when to anyone interested.

Please go to the Jobshop on to see the advertisement and to download an application form. ( If these are not available, have another look in 2 days, as they were only sent to the HSP this morning.)

Deadline for applications is 15th June 2007.

Remember! No Team Manager, no team!

Amanda Bate

WRDM East & SE Regions


Herts Girls need U15's County Coaches

Herts U15 Girls will need new County coaches for the coming season. Please apply now! Deadline for applications is 15th June. If there are no suitable applications by that date it is unlikely that an U15 County side will run.

Go to the Jobshop on to see the advertisement and to download an application form.

Amanda Bate
Women’s Rugby Development Manager

Sunday, April 22, 2007

East Grinstead sevens tornament - 28th April 2007

East Grinstead Girls would like to invite all clubs to join them at the fourth annual Sunshine Sevens Tournament, which is being held at East Grinstead RFC, on Saturday, 28th April, 2007.

Registration will be at 9:45am, with the first matches kicking off at 10:30am.

Entry fees this year are £30 per team.

Please reply to Kim Funnell (manager) at:

8 Kennedy Avenue
East Grinstead
West Sussex
RH19 2DE

01342 324052

Please make Cheques payable to EGRFC.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Team needed to play Barnet ladies?

Annemarie at Barnet has been let down by the team the ladies were to play on 13th May as a curtain raiser match before a men's game.

It is a game of touch rugby. The Barnet women are experienced players in touch rugby and some have a contact rugby background. Are any of you interested? I think that as its Touch Rugby an U17 side could play or a womens side or a mixture….

Please contact Annemarie directly if you are interested.

Amanda Bate
WRDM East & SE Regions

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Herts Sevens Update

Amanda Bate, RFUW Women's Development Manager for the East and South East Regions, made the draw for the Groups at last night's Herts Girls Meeting.

Under 14's:

Group A: Saracens; Reading; Spalding.
Group B: Basford; Worcester; Hertford.
Group C: Welwyn; East Furies; Beckett.
Group D: Cramberleigh; Milton Keynes; Letchworth.

In the U14 Section there will be Cup, Bowl and Plate semi-finals for teams finishing first, second and third respectively, so each team will play at least three games. In the semi-finals A will play B, and C will play D.

Under 17's:

Group A: Letchworth; Kettering; Reading; Worcester 2.
Group B: Basford; East Furies; Milton Keynes 1; Spalding.
Group C: Welwyn; Paviours; Beckett 1; Milton Keynes 2.
Group D: Worcester 1; Hertford; Romford; Beckett 2.

In the U17 Section there will be Cup, Bowl, Plate and Shield semi-finals for teams finishing first, second, third and fourth respectively, so each team will play at least four games. In the semi-finals A will play B, and C will play D.

The running order of games will be sent to the teams at the beginning of May.

Friday, April 13, 2007

National sevens "on"

RFUW have announced today that the National 7s will go ahead as planned.

A week ago the event was threatened with cancelation as only two adult teams had entered. Since that scare there has been a rush of entries in all categories and as a result the event is now secure.

In fact all U17 places are now taken, and almost all U14 and adult, so an event that it was feared might have too few teams max now be oversubscribed!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Canadian school win three from five on Easter tour to Hertfordshire

Central Ontario champions I E Weldon Secondary School completed a short but hetic one week tour at the last weekend, winning three games out of five - played over four days!

This was the first overseas tour by the Canadian school. Using links with a school in East Hertfordshire the tourists arranged a series of games at each of the county’s main girls’ clubs.

Weldon arrived on Tuesday 3rd April and spent the first half of the week at Wymondley Woods Scout Camp, near Letchworth – the first time the venue had been used to host a sports team. The relative seclusion and large open training area allowed the visitors to prepare well for their first game at Letchworth RFC the following day.

Letchworth had organised a small four-team festival – dubbed “Canada Day” – designed to ensure that all of Weldon’s 26 players got a game. Weldon began slowly, losing to the host team (who had combined with Sudbury for the day), but then went on to beat Aylesbury and a “Barbarian” team (made up of girls from clubs in neighbouring counties).

After this the girls moved onto host families in the Broxbourne area, and on Good Friday took on Welwyn. After a poor first half, they came close to pulling back a 20 point deficit in the second half before eventually going down 34-20 in what was acknowledged as being one of Welwyn’s most competitive games of the season.

The tour was then rounded off the following day with an exciting 7-5 win over Hertford, the winning try and conversion coming in the final seconds of the game.

After returning to Canada Weldon’s Head Coach Kirk Wilson looked back on their week. ““It was real bang, go a head rugby,” he said to his local paper, the Lindsay Daily Post. “I’m pretty happy with the result, especially since we haven’t played since November. Anytime you’ve been off for a long period of time your game fitness is different,” Wilson said, noting you have to work out all the kinks first.”

Kirk and his team main surprise was the physical size of their opponents. “I think the girls were surprised at how much bigger the other teams were,” he said.

“Especially in their forwards,” added captain Corie Lewis. “It was a challenge at first for our defence to tackle girls that size.”

Kirk also praised the team’s hosts – and the English weather! “the teams we played were well organized, accommodating and very friendly. I think there were a lot of things that really exceeded our expectations.

“Quite often it’s very damp and rainy in England, but it was sunny and about eight degrees. Perfect weather for rugby. It was a great bonus.”


4th April:
Letchworth & Sudbury 17, I E Weldon 10
Aylesbury 5, I E Weldon 24
Barbarians (Ely/Peterborough/Towcester) 0, I E Weldon 17

6th April:
Welwyn 34, I E Weldon 20

7th April
Hertford 5, I E Weldon 7.

Friday, April 06, 2007

RFUW Senior Calendar 2007/8: First draft issued

Presented with similar apologies for the delay, and health warnings, as the junior calendar (below). Weekends not listed are for "club training, matches, or league", and all are sundays unless stated.


  • 9 County
  • 30 County


  • 21 County


  • 18 County


  • 16 Regional trials


  • 19 (Sat) Regional Training
  • 27 Regional Training


  • 3 Regional Training
  • 9 (Sat) Regional Training
  • 10 Regional match
  • 24 Regional Training


  • 9 Regional Match
  • 16 Regional Final


  • 6 Cup (Prem/Champ 1)
  • 13 Cup (Prem/Champ 1)
  • 20 Play-off (Prem/Champ 1)
  • 27 Regional Cup


  • 4 Regional Cup
  • 11 Regional Cup
  • 18 Regional Cup
  • 25 National 7s

RFUW Junior Calendar 2007/8: First draft issued

Actually this came out a couple of days ago but I've been up to my eyes in Canadians...

Anyway, with HUGE health warnings that there are BOUND to be changes, here is the first draft of next year's calendar. Weekends not listed are for "club training or matches", and all are sundays unless stated.


  • 9 County Development Day
  • 30 County Trials/Training


  • 14 Rochford Tens
  • 21 County
  • 28 National Cup Rd 1


  • 4 County
  • 18 County
  • 25 National Cup Rd 2


  • 2 County


  • 20 Regional Trials


  • 3 Regional Training
  • 9 (Sat) Regional Training
  • 10 Regional match
  • 24 Regional Training


  • 9 Regional Match
  • 30 National Cup Rd 3


  • 13 Cup Finals
  • 27 Regional Training


  • 11 Regional Festival
  • 25 National 7s

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Rochford Tens: Date confirmed

The date of next season's Rochford tens has been confirmed as 14th October. Information about entries (cost likely to be about £25 per team) will be distributed shortly.

Rochford has been won by Hertfordshire clubs for the past two seasons - so lets ensure it stays in the county!

Herts Sevens Update

Last Seasons National U14 Sevens Winners Cramberleigh, a combined team from Camberley / Cranleigh / Guildford, are the latest team to enter, bringing the number of sides in the U14 Section up to 12.

There are now a maximum of 4 places still available in the U14 Section (the U17 Section is full). The deadline for U14 entries has been extended to Fri 13th April, as the Draw for both the U14 and U17 Group Stages will take place at the Herts County Meeting on Mon 16th April.

There is a complete mix in standard of teams, all of who will play for either the U14 / U17 Cup, Bowl, Plate or Shield after the Group Stages, so there is something for all teams to play for right until the last games of the day.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Herts U14 duo to take next big step forward

Two Herts U14s are now preparing to take their biggest step in rugby to date.

Courtney Arberry from Welwyn and Claire Shutler from Saracens are amongst a select group of about ten girls being put forard by East Region for selection for the first U14 TDGs - the "Talent Development Group", which is designed to bring together the best 30 girls in the country in a special programme of extra training and development.

The U17 TDGs were selected last summer when six East region girls (the largest number from any one region) were selected in the thirty from roughly 100 nationwide trialists.

The U14 trials will take place over the next few weeks (date and venue to be confirmed).

National 7s under threat?

Shock news today that the National 7s may is threatened with with cancellation (or - as RFUW euphemistically call it "review").

Despite half of the U14 and three-quarters of the U17 places already taken up (and what a line-up it already is - take a look here!) the problem is that only two senior teams have so far entered. Whether a one-day junior-only event would be viable is unclear, but it would be a great shame if the lack of adult interest affected the juniors.

Junior interest in sevens has been overwhelming this season. Herts 7s (20th May) was fully booked-up on U17 teams nearly two weeks before its closing date and has had to turn several teams away (there are still a few U14 places left though - but they are disappearing fast!), while Dorking (with more pitch space than Welwyn) are anticipating an incredible 40 teams for its Surrey Sevens on 13th May (a UK - and possibly - world record for one-day girls junior rugby).

Maybe the answer might be to forget the adults and just go with a two-day junior event!

East Region U14s v Yorkshire & North East - Match report

Coach Simon reports again...

East 29 Yorkshire 0

Yorkshire decide to kick off using the wind and slope. East receive the kick and run it back into the Yorkshire 22, but after pressure knock on. From the resulting scrum Yorkshire kick into midfield just inside the East half. Layla gathers and runs the ball back. From the ruck East pass left for Charlotte to break the first line of defence. She is brought down just short of the try line but Claire is in support to collect the pop and score. From the restart Yorkshire kick deep into the East 22. East set up a maul but Yorkshire win back the ball and pass it out. East move up quickly and tackle the Yorkshire backs and force a turnover, running the recovered ball up to halfway. Layla takes the ball right from the ruck but is tackled. The ball comes back East’s way and Rhea breaks left beating the first line of defence. She is tackled but manages to offload to Anna in support, who continues the move into the Yorkshire 22, before passing to Claire in support who scores. Yorkshire kick off deep again and recover the ball, applying pressure to the East line, but are unable to make a breakthrough before half time.

Half time 12:0

East start the second half and Yaz kicks a high ball just over the 10m line; an awkward bounce sees Charlotte recover the ball at pace and run into the Yorkshire 22, before offloading to Anna, who is bundled into touch just short of the line. Yorkshire throw into their lineout, but it is grabbed by Alex from the East to crash over. Yorkshire restart with a good kick that bounces into the East 22. East drive and set up a ruck, before spinning the ball left to Anna who runs to the edge of the 22 and draws the final defender before passing to Claire to run from her own 22 to score. Jess coverts. The Yorkshire kick off is again recovered by Charlotte who runs it up to the Yorkshire 10m line before being brought down. Ellie takes a short pass and drives the ball further before the ball is recycled and popped to Alex to drive at the Yorkshire line. Alex pops the ball to Claire who scores her 4th try. From the kick off the ball is again taken by Charlotte who runs to halfway before passing to Anna, who is tackled at the 10m line. The game finishes at the following ruck.

Final Score East 29 Yorkshire 0


East 29 North East 0

East win the toss and manage to kick with the wind and slope. East kick deep into the North East 22. North East recover the ball and kick back to halfway, where it is fielded by Layla, who side steps a couple of chasers before being tackled. East break from the ruck into the North East 22. Quick ball is passed right down the back line for Sam to score. The kick off is gathered by East and moved back up to half way. From the ruck they pass the ball to Sam who breaks through the midfield defence and offloads to Anna to score. Yaz coverts.

Half time East 12 North East 0

North East restart with the slope and wind in their favour. They get a scrum from the kick and go right but the East backs are up quickly and recover the ball in the tackle. Alex makes a break from just outside her 22 and offloads to Charlotte, who makes it to the North East 22 but the ball is knocked on. North East win the ball from the scrum and kick the ball out on halfway. East win the lineout and Megan runs up field, passing inside to Rhea in support who runs from the 22m to score. Yaz converts. North East restart and East slowly drive the ball up to halfway before knocking on. East pressure the North East back line from the scrum and turn over the ball. Courtney collects and drives up-field before passing to Rachel in support. She is stopped in the North East 22 but the ball is recycled and passed right down the line. East are stopped just short in the corner and knock on. From the scrum North East kick up to halfway. East again win their lineout and pass down the backs, but are held up in midfield. Rhea rips the ball from the maul and runs into the North East 22 before being stopped, but passes to Rachel to score. North East again kick off and it is fielded by Courtney who runs out of the 22 before being held up. Rhea rips the ball from the maul and passes to Rachel on the wing who out-paces her marker and runs 60m to score.

Final score East 29 North East 0

Will you all be at Sevens and Tens?

RFUW HQ are reminding clubs about the two great "end of season" competitions coming up.

April 29th sees the first ever official "Regional 10s" tournaments. Confusingly by "Region" they mean the RFU, not RFUW, region so our local event is the "London North 10s" at Hemel.

In addition clubs are not restricted to play in their "local" 10s but can enter ANY tournament, perhaps treating it as a weekend tour or just a chance to play against some new faces. The East Midlands 10s at Aylestone St James, for example, is a quite accessible alternative for some Hertfordshire sides.

The winners of each event will play off for the national title on 13th May.

Which brings us to the second big day - the National Sevens, this year at Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire on 26th and 27th May. The entry for junior teams for this event can be a bit disappointing sometimes - Herts 7s (the weekend before) will probably have more teams in it - and this may be because the line-up can appear a bit... intimidating.

But fact is that its a great day out anyway, and as its on our doorstep there is no reasonable excuse for not giving it a go. So go on - enter the Nationals and end your season in a memorable way!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

East weekend results

East Region's U14s continued their (almost) unstoppable progress today with two 29-0 wins over Yorkshire and North East, to add to their impressive defeat of East Midlands two weeks ago. East - who have never finished outside the top four in any junior tournament - must be one of the favoutites to lift the at Rugby School in May.

The U17s remain frustrating to watch. Clearly packed with talent in the early excahnges they still showed a lack of confidence and understanding and were repeatedy turned over. However they recovered from a 7-5 defeat to Yorkshire with a comprehensive 24-0 win over North East.

But the big game of the weekend was the seniors national third place play-off game against East Midlands, which the seniors won by 15-5. Overall national winners were West Midlands.

Blogs for all in East Region

All parts of East Region are now covered with news blogs following the recent launch of the Essex Girls Rugby blog, following on from this service and that of Eastern Counties last year.

Basildon's Phil Robson is responsible for the blog, which published its first article on 13th March.