Wednesday, November 23, 2011

County festival: the full results

London & South East County Festival

Pool 1
Surrey 19 Kent 7
Sussex 0 Kent 12
Surrey 24 Sussex 0

Pool 2
Hampshire  0 Hertfordshire 24
Essex   0 Hertfordshire 27
Hampshire  12 Essex   12

5th/6th: Sussex 0 Essex 19
3rd/4th: Kent 3 Hampshire 0
1st/2nd: Surrey 0 Hertfordshire 10

Pool 1
Surrey 0 Kent 17
Sussex 5 Kent 5
Surrey 5 Sussex 7

Pool 2
Hampshire  5 Hertfordshire 10
Essex   0 Hertfordshire 34
Hampshire  20 Essex   0

5th/6th: Surrey 30 Essex 0
3rd/4th: Sussex 12 Hampshire 7
1st/2nd: Kent 10 Hertfordshire 7

For the results from all other Divisional festivals see the Letchworth blog.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Herts U15s: L&SE County festival report

Hertfordshire U15 Girls were runners up in the inaugural London and South East Division county rugby festival on Sunday, narrowly losing out to Kent in the final.

The first match in the pool round brought a 10 – 5 victory over Hampshire. In the opening minute the ball was moved quickly across the backs for wing Hannah Botterman to score in the corner. It was 5 – 0 at half time with Herts dominating the first half. Early in the second half Hampshire broke through with a long run to score. In the final play of the match scrum half Rosie Kay scored to give the Herts girls a nail-biting win.

The second match was a comprehensive 34 – 0 victory against Essex. Full back Katy Walker completed a hat trick, wing Beth Summerfield scored twice and fly half Zoe Harrison added a try and two conversions.

The final was delayed to 3.30pm, by which time the sun was beginning to set and the mist was beginning to crawl across the pitch. The girls were cold but gave their all in a hard, physical match against Kent which resulted in several injuries on both sides. In the first half Floss Jones had to come off after being barged in the face, and Hannah Botterman was sidelined with an ankle injury.

Play was frenetic and it was hard to discern much in the way of shape or pattern. Kent won much of the ball on the ground but the Herts girls' tackling in defence was ferocious. So even though Kent had more ball in hand, they couldn't do much with it. Kent scored first, in the dying minute of the first half, to take the score to 7 – 0 at half time.  Herts evened the score eight minutes into the second half through a Zoe Harrison try, after winning a 5m scrum, which she then converted.

Two minutes from the end Kent elected to kick a penalty. It rattled around the posts and in the gloom the spectators on both sides were divided as to whether it had gone over. The man that mattered, the referee, decided it had. In the confusion Herts ran back to take a quick restart but were tackled by a Kent player – who presumably was equally confused. The 12-minute halves were too short for Herts to come back, though they kept fighting to the end. Final score was 10 – 7 to Kent in a close, feisty match which was a huge progression from the Herts girls' first match against the same opposition a month earlier. Herts gave Kent an almighty shock and a run for their money.

Afterwards coach Gareth Bowser said, “All the coaches were immensely proud of the girls. Each and every one of them did all we asked, and more. It was a fantastic team performance.
“We’d also like to thank sponsors ExL Driving School for providing the girls with Herts RFU polo shirts to wear after the match.”

Team: Harriet Austin, Fran Bannon, Louise Baxter, Sarah Blissett, Hannah Botterman, Katy Cook, Lucy Corrigan, Hayley Everett, Leanne Green, Zoe Harrison, Rosie Kay, Floss Jones, Aine McMahon, Emily Marsh, Ellena Perry, Kayleigh Read, Ella Sim, Megan Smith, Beth Summerfield, Kate Summerfield, Katy Walker.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Herts U18s win London & SE title

Herts became inaugural London & SE Division Girls U18 County Champions today after beating:

  • Hampshire 25-0. 
  • Essex 34-0. 
  • Surrey 10-0 in the Final (gaining revenge for the defeat to Surrey U18 in the friendly game earlier in the season).
Herts U15s also reached their final, but lost in a tight game 10-7 to Kent.

More details when we get them.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Herts juniors draw Hants and Essex in Festival

Middlesex will join Eastern Counties on the sidelines for the London & South East Division county festival this weekend, leaving just six teams playing for the Divisional title. Hertfordshire have also had a good draw - avoiding all of the unbeaten counties (Surrey and Sussex in the U18s, and Sussex and Kent in the U15s).

Hertfordshire's fixtures will be:

11.00 v Hampshire (U15s and U18s)
12.00 v Essex (U15s and U18s)
14.15 5th/6th and 3rd/4th place play-offs
14.45 Finals

U15 games will be 12 minutes each way, and U18 games 15 minutes each way.

The County Festivals are a key stepping stone to the Divisional squads, and from there the TDGs and ultimately (for U18s) England U20 squad.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Gallagher and Staniford ready for Black Ferns

18 players from the England party that returned from last week's French tour on Sunday have been selected in the squad for the Black Fern tests, which start at the end of this month - including both Hannah Gallagher and Michaela Staniford of Hertfordshire. They will be joined by eight World Cup veterans who return to the colours -  including Maggie Alphonsi, also of Hertfordshire.

England will take on their old rivals over two weeks with the first test kicking off at Twickenham Stadium on November 26th, kick off 5pm following the Australia versus Barbarians clash. The women’s rugby giants will then meet again on November 29th and December 3rd at Esher RFC. The two sides haven’t met since the Rugby World Cup final 14 months ago when New Zealand just edged out the host nations 13-10 in a thrilling final in front of a record breaking crowd, denying England their chance to lift the world cup crown again.

Hannah is one of only two of the five new caps who played against France to make the cut for the New Zealand series -  Richmond's Alexandra Matthews is the other. Commenting on the selections, England coach Gary Street said:

“Barring a handful of injuries I have been able to select the core squad from last year’s Rugby World Cup. This means we have a lot of experience in the side as well as a lot of potential through our younger players. We have got some exciting new caps in Alexandra Matthews and Hannah Gallagher who did an excellent job against France and certainly did enough to cement their place in this squad.

“I am sure for our experienced players there is the matter of unfinished business against New Zealand. In the world cup final we didn’t play to our potential and I know the players will want to put that right against New Zealand in our first game at Twickenham Stadium.”

England head into the series on the back of a winning Six Nations and Nations Cup campaign while New Zealand have not played an international test match since being crowned world champions in 2010. Street, however, is not expecting anything less that another world class performance from the Black Ferns.

“New Zealand’s international record is second to none, they always turn up and I am not expecting anything less for this series,” added Street. “Like us they too have a strong world cup contingent in their squad as well as some young players, which is really going to set up this series to be a thriller.”

Full squad here

Herts U15 v Surrey: match report

The second match of the county rugby season saw Hertfordshire U15 Girls score an emphatic 45-15 win against Surrey at a windy Old Albanians.

In a tightly fought first half, Hertfordshire scored first with a try by fly half Zoe Harrison. Surrey responded with three tries in succession – two by their captain Sarah Bern, and one from Eleanor Boatman. At this point the game seemed to be echoing the previous match against Kent but this time there was a greater cohesion, profiting from the additional training and match time together. Five minutes before half time Katy Walker evaded a couple of tackles to score under the post for Hertfordshire. This was converted by Zoe to take the score to 12 – 15 at half time.

With the wind at their backs for the second half, Hertfordshire made good use of Zoe’s excellent kicking game to stamp their authority. As the match went on Hertfordshire’s strength in depth also began to show as Surrey’s couple of outstanding players found it hard to sustain their high work rate of the first half.

Hertfordshire ran in five more tries in the second half with two more from Zoe, two from Hannah Botterman and one from Katy Cook. Zoe continued to demonstrate her superb kicking skills with four conversions, at least two of which were straight out of the top drawer.

Coach Gareth Bowser was pleased with the team’s performance. He commented, “It’s great when you see things we have worked on at training being transferred to a match. The girls have worked hard and deserved their win today.”

Team: Fran Bannon, Louise Baxter, Sarah Blissett, Hannah Botterman, Katy Cook, Lucy Corrigan, Hayley Everett, Leanne Green, Zoe Harrison, Floss Jones, Aine McMahon, Emily Marsh, Ellena Perry, Kayleigh Read, Ella Sim, Megan Smith, Beth Summerfield, Kate Summerfield, Katy Walker.
Carol Summerfield

Hertfordshire win two from three against Surrey

There was a complete turn around in results for the three county teams last weekend in the second round of county fixtures, played at Old Albanians.

The seniors beat Surrey 22-15, having lost their opening game, and the U15s also put in an impressive performance to beat the same opponents - normally one of the strongest at junior level - 45-15. However, the U18s - the only team to win in Kent last time out - were outclassed by Surrey, losing by 40-5.

The U15s and U18s now prepare for the Divisional Festival at Beckenham on 20th November, while the seniors travel to Eastern Counties on 4th December.

All other county results can be found here.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Latest: Gallagher wins England cap

Latest news from France. With 20 minutes left, and England leading 15-9 (thanks partly to a try from Michaela Staniford), Hannah Gallagher has just gone onto the field to win her first England cap - making her the first former Hertfordshire county junior to play for England (there were no county teams in Michaela's day).

Congratulations Hannah.
  • England eventually lost the test, thanks to a converted French try 12 minutes from the end. Final score - France 16, England 15.
  • OA's Caroline Colley was also on international duty, kicking two penalties in Scotland's 33-10 win against the Netherlands in Amsterdam.

Friday, November 04, 2011

OAs host open training session for England Deaf Women's XV

History will be made on Sunday when OAs will host the first ever training and selection session for an England Dead Women's XV. The training is open to all deaf and hard of hearing female players who believe they have the potential to play for England.

Players are eligible to play for the England Deaf side if they have a combined average hearing loss of 25dB or more in both ears This roughly translates to a minimum hearing loss in both ears or a moderate hearing loss in one ear but can hear normally in the other.

EDRU can offer Deaf Awareness advice to clubs and schools Integrate Deaf and Hard of Hearing players to clubs and liaise with club members to ensure the players are managed correctly.

Further details can be obtained from Tony Stoyles, director of rugby of the England Deaf Rugby Union, at

Two Herts players in 22 for France test

Michaela after Wednesday's game
Following their performances on Wednesday, Hertfordshire's Hannah Gallagher and Michaela Stanford have been selected in the 22 for England's test against France tomorrow.

England's young and experimental side lost the midweek uncapped friendly 14-5 played in a monsoon-like downpour (see picture. right!). After taking an early lead (see ScrumQueens report) with both teams experimenting with new players and ideas (including ex-scrumhalf Amy Turner playing at hooker). Tomorrow is the "real thing".

Michaela, who has been a regular member of the England squad for some years now, is in the starting XV  while Hannah will have to wait to see if she wins her first full cap as she starts on the bench.