NLD U18 Girls

NLD U18 Girls

This season’s programme has seen a couple of changes to our NLD U18 Girls team.

Andy McMahon has taken over as Head Coach from Mark Dobb’s, who stood down at the end of last season, and Sophie Hart is our new team manager taking over from Clare Dobbs who also stood down at the end of last season. I should like to thank both Mark and Clare for all hard work, time and dedication they have generously given to Girl’s rugby at County level.

The NLD Girl’s U18 Coaching team for 2023/24 has comprised:

Andy McMahon (Head Coach) (Boston RUFC)

Steve Hogg (Assist Coach) (Newark RUFC)

Aaron Hart (Assist Coach) (Newark RUFC)

Sam Scott (Assist Coach) (Stamford RUFC)

Martin Roberts (Assist coach) (Gainsborough RFUC)

Sophie Hart (Team Manager) (Newark RUFC)

NLD Women and Girls (W&G’s) Representative Rugby Lead

The re-organisation of our coaching team and anticipated NLD/RFU changes meant a delayed start to the NLD Rep U18 programme, forgoing the 2 “open training” sessions planned for Oct/Nov, and going straight to trials and training. Trials were well attended, numbering approx. 45 players from a wide cross section of clubs across all 3 counties. The standard at trials was such it gave the coaches a headache in selecting a squad to represent NLD. The decision was made to take 37 players who had made themselves available into a Training Squad with teams being selected for each round following Tuesday training sessions.

As usual the U18 RFU Representative programme comprised Trials, a dedicated Sunday training session and weekday training prior to each of the 3 match events. This season we based ourselves at Keyworth RFC for most events; thank you and we are extremely grateful for your being such wonderful hosts. We also need to thank Sleaford who helped us out at the last-minute hosting a training session and a triangular home match when weather and logistical demands meant a temporary move.

2023-24 Match Reports

U18 Girls - Round 1

26th November 2023
Durham U18 Girls
15 ‐ 29
NLD U18 Girls
Yorkshire U18 Girls
12 ‐ 12
NLD U18 Girls

NLD girls had never played Yorkshire or Durham at CB level so this round was always going to be an unknown: and probably our biggest learning curve. All 3 teams started tentatively, figuring out their opposition though in both matches NLD seemed to settle first, probing defences and applying pressure through our forwards. Despite taking an early lead in both matches, and playing significant periods in both opposition’s halves, NLD didn’t quite manage to capitalise on their advantage and, against Yorkshire, allowed them back into the match late into the 2nd half with Yorkshire forcing a draw through a late converted try.

Overall, a positive start to the programme.

U18 Girls - Round 2

17th December 2023
NLD U18 Girls
15 ‐ 14
Warwickshire U18 Girls
NLD U18 Girls
15 ‐ 24
Leicestershire U18 Girls

This round was played at Sleaford due to pitch conditions and space constraints at Keyworth. Warwickshire were an unknown as NLD girls had not played them post pandemic so again an opportunity to learn. Leicestershire are regular opponents at CB level and always present us a challenge. The final score against Warwickshire accurately reflected what was a very close match. Both teams were evenly matched in both the forwards and back line. The margins were very fine and ultimately the final score came down to who made the least number of handling errors.

Leicestershire proved to be a much tougher opposition with powerful forwards play on display and good linked play from both sides but ultimately NLD handling errors and missed tackles gave Leicestershire the upper hand and despite battling hard to the final whistle NLD couldn’t quite find a way back into the match.

U18 Girls - Round 3

14th January 2024
NLD U18 Girls
12 ‐ 36
East Midlands U18 Girls

Our old nemesis. With near perfect pitch and weather conditions NLD battled 80 minutes against East Midlands. Both teams were out to play fast dynamic rugby and EM had a secret weapon in their no.15 who shone throughout the 1st half to put 3 tries against our girls. With 2 minutes to go for the end of the 1st half NLD saw themselves 21 points behind but within 10meters of EM’s try line. With some determined close play, the ball finally came out and was carried over the line to put 5 points on the board for NLD. The late points seemed to inspire our girls in the 2nd half who continued to battle EM all over the pitch, defending for prolonged periods, not giving an inch.

Eventually pressure always tells and EM scored 2 quick tries from close play. Both teams made a succession of changes and despite fresh legs and bodies couldn’t quite match EM though NLD did make a converted try late in the match. What impressed the most was the spirit in which the match was played with both teams battling to the final whistle; neither prepared to give quarter.

We have never gone out to “win at all costs” but rather, encourage and develop as many players as possible within a constrained programme of events. This is why 2 of the 3 rounds this season were played as triangulars. There are plenty of lessons to be learnt from this season’s programme and just as importantly, plenty of positives to be taken.

Open Training Sessions

In order to progress and build NLD Girl’s U18, the coaches are running 4 OPEN training sessions, (1 per month), at Keyworth where ALL U18 girls from ALL NLD clubs are welcome, (club, Rep, CoE etc). We will be looking at specific areas of the game and plan to have mini matches at each session to practice what has been coached. We are also inviting current U16 players who will transition to U18’s next season.

23.1.24 Cancelled due to weather/pitch conditions

20.2.24

19.3.24

16.4.24

All sessions will be held at Keyworth RFC, (unless otherwise communicated).

Players wishing to attend the open training sessions should email NLD U18 Girls Manager, Sophie Hart for more information and to confirm their attendance

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