February 28th, 2007
Girls' rugby in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Middlesex has been benefiting from a new cluster rugby league set-up this season.
The Thames Valley Cluster League for Under 17s and Under 14s girls from the four counties has given the youngsters a chance to play competitive matches since October and the initiative has been going from strength to strength. The Thames Valley Cluster League is the first in the country that allows groups of girls clubs to enter the competition and play regular fixtures and the County Championship.
League organiser Dave Edwards said: "The idea grew out of touchline discussions at the regional training in 2006 when it became obvious that lots of clubs in the Thames Valley had just a few players, but theses players were highly motivated and talented."
The first Thames Valley Cluster League match was played in October with Buckinghamshire playing Berkshire at Reading RFC. Each Cluster club has played each other twice throughout the season. A points system, which awards a point for five tries and a point for a defeat within 15 points, was also adopted to reward try scoring and to encourage losing sides to keep the gap as low as possible.
Edwards added: "The Thames Valley League has really added structure to our season and the girls have enjoyed the competitiveness of having points to play for."
At the end of six rounds of matches Buckinghamshire won the Under 14s league while Berkshire won the Under 17s league.