- Clyst Vale are first winners of new Under 15 competition
- “Experience they’ll never forget” for 24 girls’ schools teams
Photo: RFU/Capture the Event
Dene Magna School from Gloucestershire and Clyst Vale Community College from Exeter were declared national champions in the RFU National Girls' Schools Competition at Twickenham Stadium last Saturday (April 27) but they were just a part of a wider celebration for the girls’ game.
The Home of England Rugby staged the finals of this nationwide competition for girls in two age groups, Under 13 and U15.
It had all begun with local rounds of matches followed by six area festivals from which 24 schools teams qualified to play pool matches at Staines RFC on Saturday morning.
From there, the two pool winners in each age group went through to face each other on the famous Twickenham pitch at half-time of the annual Army v Navy match, which attracted a crowd of 72,471.
Dene Magna beat Copleston High School from Suffolk in the U13s final, while Clyst Vale defeated Merseyside opponents Range High School to win the inaugural U15 competition.
And the Twickenham treat extended still further, to the teams who contested the third/fourth place matches on the pitch, and to all the remaining participants from Staines who received tickets to watch the Army/Navy match.
It was a fine showcase for the fast-developing girls’ game, with a trio of England women’s internationals Lauren Cattell, Fiona Davidson and Claire Purdy on hand at Staines and Twickenham to pass on tips to players and teachers, help with the presentations of shields to every team and hand out wristbands printed with the RFU’s Core Values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship.
The top-performing teams were also given the chance to visit the World Rugby Museum at Twickenham Stadium.
And it was a particularly notable day for rugby newcomers Kelvin Hall School from Hull, members of the RFU All Schools programme, who made it to the national U13 finals in their first year of playing the sport.
“All the teams played in the true spirit of the game, and you could tell it was an experience they would never forget,” said Ady Cherrington, the RFU’s Royal Navy rugby development officer (RDO).
“When the girls who played at Twickenham were waiting to go on to the pitch, the look of excitement on their faces was fantastic to see.
“Everyone who took part showed an impressive commitment, both to the game in general and also to the elements of contact that are part of these under 13 and under 15 competitions.”
Presentations of shields and a framed photographic montage were made by the England players alongside Captain Mark Durkin (Royal Navy Schools Representative) and Janice Anastasi from the RFU Women’s and Girls’ Integration Board.
Cherrington was joined in the organisation of the finals day by women’s RDOs Clare Cooper and Richard Major, and Stephanie Giles from the RFU Education Development Department.
RFU National Girls' Schools Competition 2012-13 Finals, Saturday, April 27:
Final: Dene Magna School (Gloucestershire) beat Copleston High School (Suffolk)
Third/fourth: Hugh Sexey CofE Middle School (Somerset) beat Presdales School (Hertfordshire)
Also took part: Dane Court Grammar School (Kent), Robert Clack School (Essex), St Mary’s Catholic High School (Manchester), Oldfields Hall Middle School (Uttoxeter), Perins School (Hampshire), Whitburn CofE Academy School (Sunderland), St Gregory’s (Bedfordshire), Kelvin Hall School (Hull)
Final: Clyst Vale Community College (Exeter) beat Range High School (Merseyside)
Third/fourth: Beaumont School (Hertfordshire) beat Honywood School (Essex)
Also took part: Mount Grace (Leicestershire), Church Stretton (Shropshire), Perins School (Hampshire), Sir John Leman High (Suffolk), Dene Community School (Durham), Angmering School (Sussex), Skipton Girls High School (North Yorkshire), St John's Marlborough (Wiltshire)