What an interesting season it has been this year for the U18 girls, some fantastic highs as a squad and for individuals and few lows on the pitch. All part of the continual learning of this group players who are consistently progressing as a squad.
The season started with friendly matches against Milton Keynes who are in their first year of the age group and ON’S, a win and a loss to start the season. Up next was Lutterworth at home and one of the team low points, a thumping defeat and some valuable lessons which were not taken on board as the team then travelled the week after to High Wycombe and lost 21-20. The team apologised (which takes a lot to do for teenage girls) to the coaching staff and committed to improve. It was also hard month for the squad, who then had to concentrate on East Midlands selection.
The East Midlands trials were held in late October in Bedford and 65 girls from around the region were put through their paces in highly competitive carousels and game play. The final squad of 32 was selected and Lauryn, Charli, Hannah, Megan P, Bethan, Sammie and Sian all made the grade and represented Ampthill in the squad. The largest contingent of Ampthill Girls ever to represent the region. The East Midlands Squad then won the regional league with a record of W4, L1 overturning a first game defeat to North Midlands in the return game in emphatic style. Wins against Staffordshire, Leicestershire x2 completed the set.
In late November the girls entered the RFU Cup and the first up fixture against the old nemesis Wellingborough who last season put 90 points on them. The game was tighter than anyone expected with Ampthill narrowly losing 27-24 in a great game of attacking rugby. ON’s followed again with another loss which put Ampthill 3rdand into the Plate competition due to Diss and Cambridge conceding their games against us.
2018 beckoned with old friends Basildon traveling to Dillingham Park and received the backlash of the earlier underperformances, Ampthill running out 58-5 winners. This was quickly followed up by the RFU Regional Plate Semi Final away to Mansfield. A war of attrition ensued, and Ampthill ran out 24-10 winners, sending the girls into their first final. But the weather scuppered any chance of a final with the other semi between last years’ winners Ashfield and Lutterworth not being played, so Ampthill won the Plate by default. Not the best way to win but we will take it.
In February Half Term, Lauryn, Charli, Bethan, Hannah, Megan and Sian went to the RFU Centre of Excellence Trials at Saracens, this stage of the Player Pathway replaces the Midland regional representation and allows the Tyrrells Premiership Squads to select future stars to nurture into Academy, Full Squad and England representatives. Lauryn Dacres-Kamm and Bethan Scarr were successful in being selected. They both now will spend 6-8 hours a month down at Allianz Park getting one /one training, conditioning and skills whilst still playing their games for Ampthill. Well done girls!
The season drew to a close with an away game against a new side for Ampthill, Gosford who contained over half of the Oxfordshire County side, who like East Midlands won their regional competition. Coaches Ian and Gloria were perplexed as the girls took 20 minutes to get going and conceded 4 tries in this period, in the next period of play Ampthill woke up and were unplayable and scored 3 unanswered tries forcing a tense last 20 minutes, but the damage was done and the Gosford strength in depth showed as they ran out eventual winners 48-15.
The season ended with the Ipswich 7’s where the girls have won the Plate in the last two seasons. This year Ampthill entered two teams and the teams came 2ndand 3rdwinning two pieces of silverware the Runners Up trophy and the Bowl. A huge improvement on last season only losing out narrowly to Sudbury.
The squad loses two players this year going to University, scrum half Sammie Godleman and centre, Storm Judge, both have been great senior members of the squad representing East Midlands three times in the last four years and both will have great futures in the women’s game, thank you girls for all your efforts.
Finally, assistant coach Gloria Mills was selected to play for the England Deaf Women’s 7’s team in the first Deaf World Rugby 7’s tournament in Australia 22-28thApril 2018. The team won and are now World Champions. A fantastic achievement for Gloria and we are delighted as a squad for her. Ampthill has a World Champion in its coaching squad!!
This was the last season of the cluster with Bedford Junior Blues and the future is bright, with a number of very talented U15’s graduating up to the age group. A majority of the squad next season are in the older age bracket so the girls of Ampthill will continue to march forward breaking new boundaries in girl’s rugby for the club.
Record W5, L6
Forwards – Lauryn, Elena, Charli, SiSi, Chloe, Hannah, Kiera, Megan P, Sofia, Gabby, Bethan
Backs – Sammie, Teo, Sian, Natasha, Kayleigh, Storm, Lilly, Megan K