Girl Power award 2007/08
Derby RFC (Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire)
Claire McGinley, who nominated Derby RFC for the award says: “Having graduated from the University of Derby, I wanted to continue playing rugby in Derby and discovered my nearest senior club was twenty miles away; I decided, therefore, to approach Derby RFC to set up a women’s section. Derby were in favour of the section and provided us with facilities on a weekly basis. I recruited a coach who I met at a local Go Play Rugby launch and with the help of our local WRDM and RDO, we had a 'meet and greet' evening, with 13 people in attendance.
One week later we started training with nine seniors and four Youths training together, though playing touch rugby as only three had played contact rugby before. The next step was to generate some PR. I got a team makeover from a reputable hairdressing and beauty salon, which involved the women spending a day in the salon getting pampered before being taken to a local bar where pictures were taken and published in the local press and a hairdressing magazine along with a write up. The makeover took place purposefully during the World Cup to help eradicate some of the stereotyping of female rugby. Another PR social event involved getting dressed in playing kit and using the Go Play Rugby business cards during a pub crawl round Derby city centre to draw as much attention to ourselves as possible, giving out the cards as we spoke to people.
We currently have 24 players who are regularly training, with ten U15s and three U18s, who are all capable and experienced in playing contact rugby. We wrote a RFUW Development Plan and began the RFUW affiliation process. The women’s team has played five games, winning three. We have plans to play three more games to ensure that we can join the RFUW league structure for the 08/09 season. To help boost senior player numbers we have signed a HE/club link agreement with the University of Derby women’s rugby team, our U18 have linked to a local club and the U15 play 7s fixtures, entering into an NLD Pitch Up and Play tournament in March.
We have our own section on the club website and are currently organising fund-raising events to purchase kit, equipment and general running costs. The women’s team is going on tour to play the Connacht development squad in the summer. We have a representative on the main club committee and have begun identifying objectives for next season’s RFUW development plan. I feel this project is worthy of recognition as it provides the women and girls within the city of Derby with the opportunity to play rugby, make friends and to gain a level of fitness within a well organised and safe club environment”.