This season has been a challenge in many ways for this group of girls. It was the first year of the experimental cluster with Bedford Junior Blues U18’s to increase the playing numbers to enter the RFU National Cup and they sadly suffered the loss of one of the squad members Chidera Alozie in January to an asthma induced cardiac arrest. What has been outstanding is the way they have taken everything in their stride, been totally committed to the squad, the game and how they have represented themselves on and off the pitch with grace and dignity, making friends wherever they have played. The squad is made up of 25 players who mostly are in the younger age band of the U18’s. In girls rugby U18’s is years 11,12 & 13. So 15-18 year olds. Most teams they have played have contained more 18 year olds than the squad and this showed in some of the results due to size and experience.
The season started straight into the RFU Cup against POW and was a lesson in the standard of this competition, losing 70-5. The girls dusted themselves off a couple of weeks later and played Basildon in a friendly at home winning 58-5 and followed this up with a loss to ON’s in the RFU Cup again, 72-0. The East Midland break kicked in and Megan Parry, Storm Judge, Charli Austin and captain Samantha Godleman making the squad with Storm Judge being asked for Midlands trials, which is a fantastic achievement for the girls. A few of the others just missed out due to being younger than some of the successful trialists from other clubs and will be picked next year when these girls leave the age group.
After East Midlands the girls travelled in the RFU Cup with 13 players to Boudica’s, a cluster team of Diss and Beccles Rugby clubs and won the game in dramatic fashion in the last play 37-43. This was followed by another thumping loss against POW and a tight game against ON’s losing 42-25. Prior to the final home game against Boudicas which was cancelled due to snow the squad travelled to High Wycombe and drew 27-27 in a very tightly fought game, lending High Wycombe some players meant that the game could be played. Big thanks to Milly Woods and Bethan Scarr for volunteering. Don’t score again Bethan for the opposition!! ☺. The return trip to Basildon followed in preparation for the RFU Plate Semi and again lending players Bethan, Chloe Pearce and Megan Parry to the opposition scuppered the team as Bethan again scored and Basildon won 25-10, avenging the defeat from earlier in the season.
Ashfield were next in the Plate Semi and after a long trip up the M1, the girls lost 72-0 to the eventual winners of the trophy. Again valuable experience against a larger and older team. They never gave up and won plaudits from the opposition as a team to watch in the next two years.
The final game of the season was a friendly against ON’s, it was one of those moments in rugby where everything in the previous 7 months came together and the girls won a stunning victory 85-5 in a thoroughly satisfying game for the players, parents and coaches alike.
Drawing the eventful season to a close was the Ipswich 7’s on 30th April, playing old rivals Basildon, Sudbury, Beccles and Diss the girls came away in 3rd position winning the Shield.
The girls will only improve next season with Sian, Chloe, Kayleigh and Teo from U15’s, who played up a year with the team in many of the fixtures this season and who all made the East Midland U15’s squad, couple that with 6-7 players from U15’s who graduate by age, the squad will be bigger and competition for places will be high. Big thank you to coaches Gloria, Chris and Dan for the hard work and commitment in dragging this lot around the country and Iain for the superb photo documentation. Looking forward to a few months off then we go again for 2017-18. Well done all!!
Record W4, D1, L6
Forwards – Lauryn, Maddie, Rebecca, Amy T, Shania, Bethan, Charli, Alice, Keira, Megan, Hannah, Si Si, Chloe S, Chloe P
Backs – Sammie, Teo, Sian, Natasha, Storm, Chidera, Sahara, Amy, Milly, Kayleigh