Women and Girls 2018-2019 Season update
Women’s and Girls Write up of 2018-2019 season, by Jan Duncan
Another busy year across the county for all things to do with female rugby. As this side of the game continues to grow, more clubs across the county dipped their toes in the water to try senior ladies’ teams with tremendous success!
South Shields RFC, Horden & Peterlee RFC, Gateshead RFC, Barnard Castle RFC, Winlaton RFC and, most recently, Stockton RFC, have all began new women’s teams with Horden & Peterlee, Barnard Castle and Winlaton taking part in friendly fixtures with ladies who have never played before! Winlaton and Gateshead are also involved in the RFU led ‘Tyne to Shine’ festival helping more ladies transition into full contact and Hartlepool Rovers turned out a second XV!
As well as a plethora of new women’s teams starting up across the county, Gateshead RFC have attracted girls to make teams along with Blaydon RFC and Stockton have restarted their girls’ program.
To encourage more communication amongst clubs, a new Facebook page, Durham County RUFC Women and Girls, was set up which immediately attracted almost 200 members and still growing! This can be used to promote any club, or their events in the County, proven success being the views of the match photos (kindly taken by Sally Evans) between Rovers 2nd XV and Barnard Castle’s brand new team reaching well over 1,000!
A new initiative called “Players’ Voice” has been set up by the W&Gs Committee to ensure girls have an opportunity to provide input for the allocation of funding towards their preferred events. This will be a quarterly event as, following the first meet, more girls from across the county from a variety of clubs expressed interest in becoming involved, a great tool for disseminating information and creating succession planning for volunteers on club and county committees!
A social event for all girl players, their friends and families took place at Darlington RFC with huge success. Over 150 attended to learn who had been chosen from their club for a Durham County TREDS Award and who had won the Innovative Club Promotion prize. Elle Bloor of DMP Sharks was guest speaker and prizes of kicking tees, balls and even an Eddie Jones and Will Carling signed England Cap were won with great delight!
The Durham County Women’s Cup took place in September with Sunderland Flames lifting the Cup and Hartlepool Rovers Ladies snatched the Plate from the mighty Darlington Women.
During the Girls’ u15 & u18 Representative Rugby season, u15s, led by John Holmes, Matt Fisher and Jack Sneazham, had a successful start to their campaign throughout the new format of playing 15s, 7s and Xrugby7s all in one day, claiming every win v Northumberland and Cumbria whilst u18s, led by Graeme Holloway and Nathan Throw, narrowly lost to Northumberland in 15s & 7s but won the Xrugby7s then won against Cumbria in all matches.
The Senior Women’s Representative XV under new Head Coach, Ryan Pink, assisted by Phil Wallis, gave Lancashire food for thought in their first match in the Gill Burns’ Championship Cup as the half time score stood at 7-0 at Firwood Waterloo RFC and, although following a long half time due to a serious injury to a Lancs player, then bringing the score to 7-5, the break in momentum created a loss of focus for Durham with Lancashire moving on to the semifinals 31-5 leaving Durham to face North Midlands at Hartlepool Rovers RFC, both fighting for second place which was comprehensively won by Durham Women 45-12.
Two of our local players, Jess Cheesman, Darlington RFC and Tamara Taylor, DMP Sharks, have taken part in the LMAX Everest challenge, playing the highest game of rugby ever recorded to raise funds for life changing projects for young people across the UK and Ireland.
Many thanks must go to the W&Gs Committee who I am so privileged to Chair as their total dedication and many hours spent voluntarily working to make sure everything goes ahead to give great rugby experiences for all female players has a value higher than can ever be counted. Thankyou Ladies & Gentlemen!