Wow – what an afternoon. Sunshine, pristine pitches, a BIG warm welcome from Long Eaton RUFC and 230+ girls playing contact rugby.
Sunday afternoon (18.9.16), saw girls from across NLD, East Midlands, Yorkshire and Northamptonshire come together to take part in the 2nd Annual NLD “All Girls Rugby Festival”. In total just over 230 girls, at U13, U15 and U18 took part, competing for honours within each age group and playing some inspiring rugby. The format was little changed from last year for the U15 and U18 age groups and the U13 girls had to contend with a raft of new rules. The U13’s took to their matches with just the same gusto and enthusiasm as the older girls and proved that, given the chance, they are just as able as boys in their equivalent age groups.The girls had lots of support across the park from traveling parent’s, coaches and members of the public looking to see what all the noise, fun and commotion was about.
The format for the NLD Girls Festival is 10’s rugby in a points based league with the winners accruing more wins or points difference than their opponents. The festival was first run last season and is intended to give teams a fun run out at the start of the season, letting them judge their progress and development and also enable new players to be introduced to the game in a friendly yet competitive environment. This year saw Newark RUFC winning the U15’s age group, (for the second year running), and POW winning, (by the narrowest of margins), the U18 age group. Congratulations to both teams.
A big thank you must go to Long Eaton RUFC who volunteered to host the festival again this year; Angie and Allan, (LE RUFC), who organised the club facilities, the Long Eaton catering staff who coped admirably with the throngs of players, parents and officials who wanted food and refreshment throughout the afternoon and big thank you to whoever took the decision to allow the U13’s to play on the “billiard table top” 1st team pitch. As always a huge thank you to the volunteer referees who despite the heat refereed most of the games and to the physio’s who thankfully didn’t have too much to do. Thank you to John Payne for putting this together, to Pete who thought he was coming to watch his daughter and kindly volunteered to help on the day and to Tracy and Nicole from the NLD/RFU office who supported the day from behind the scenes and continue to support the girls throughout the year. The biggest thank you though goes to all the players, parents and coaches who made the day such a success. Without you none of this would be possible.
Don’t forget to make it a date in your diary, Sunday September 17th 2017, same time same place. Let’s make it bigger, better, more clubs, more rugby, more fun, more noise. See you there!!!
Article by Neil Clack – NLD Chair of Women & Girls Rugby