Women's Rugby team maiden match
On a pleasant evening at Shelford Rugby Club on Friday 16th March the Highland Club from Ontario, Canada stopped over in Cambridge on their tour of England and Wales.
Their U16 boys played Shelford U16’s and their U18 girls played an East Region select team made up of girls from Hills Road and Long Road Sixth Form College, Palmers and Peterborough Colleges and girls from the Cambridge Rubies U18 team.
Watched by a good crowd of family and friends, senior staff from the colleges and notably Deborah Griffin, the bursar of Homerton College, who has done so much to develop women’s rugby, the girls on the fabulous new all weather pitch put on an excellent display.
Although the score of 55 to 5 in favour of the Highland girls suggests a one sided game, it certainly was not. The Highland girls who have been playing together for many years through the various age groups were playing against a combined side who were on a pitch together for the first time.
The East Region team frequently put together good passages of rugby to get into the opposition red zone but the final bit of composure and communication necessary to get a player over the line was missing. The Highland Club did not have this problem. Their efficient set piece and physicality at the contact area gave them plenty of ball and they knew how best to exploit that.
9 tries, 5 of which were converted were evidence of that. The East region defence was called upon a lot but never wavered. The U16 boys game on the other hand demonstrated how strong the club youth teams are in the region as Shelford came out on top with a score of 46 to 5. It was clear at the final whistle of both games that every player had given of their best and the happy faces as they applauded each other through their respective tunnels were in evidence throughout the rest of the evening as the players and coaches dined together in the clubhouse. Invitations from the Highland club to provide host families to look after players who might want to visit Ontario spoke volumes for the friendships made.
In Canada, clubs in the main have a girls/women’s section as strong as the men’s. That is certainly not the case in the East region but with strong RFU encouragement more clubs are now offering opportunities for females to play and relationships are being formed to allow players to transition from schools to colleges and on to clubs.
Adrian Medd, Rugby Coach