- Development still the name of the game
- Unbeaten pair test themselves at Esher
The RFU Women and Girls Divisional rugby programme has always been viewed as a development vehicle rather than a competition and that approach is underlined once again by the selection of the two Northern sides that will travel to Esher RFC on Sunday (March 10) for matches against their counterparts from London & South East.
The starting line-up for the North Senior team, for example, shows only four players in the starting line-up who played against the South West at Waterloo last weekend. One of those, captain Georgina Roberts, switches from centre to scrum half as five of last week’s replacements get a start on Sunday.
The make-up of the North Under 18 side shows an even more radical approach as the selectors not only deliver a starting line-up that contains 12 new faces to that which took the field in their opening game at Scarborough a fortnight ago, but also bring in four players with Northern counties involvement who are at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire, but retain their Northern allegiance.
After the North Senior side’s 29-10 win over the South West last weekend at Waterloo RFC and London & SE’s victory over the Midlands, the Esher clash brings together the two unbeaten Senior sides and promises to be quite a tussle.
“We have players out with other commitments on Sunday and we face a big task to beat London & SE, who themselves had a pretty good win against the Midlands,” said North Talent Development Officer, Rob Thompson. “It will be a tough deciding game to see who finishes as top dog. London are always a strong team because of their player base and they’re playing well, but I have a feeling that the North might surprise them.
“The Under 18s were disappointed with their defeat by the Midlands in their opening game when they conceded some soft tries and couldn’t repair the damage. The London challenge will be a tough one, but I think the determination among the coaches and players to improve and do themselves justice will result in another close game.”
North Senior Women (v London & South East, KO 2.30pm)
Danielle Wiseman (Waterloo & Lancashire); Igemi Ekoku (Eccles & Lancashire); Sarah Dunn (West Park Leeds & Yorkshire); Rachel Roberts (Darlington MP & Northumberland); Kate Edwards (Waterloo & Lancashire); Beth Stott (Waterloo & Lancashire); Georgina Roberts (Darlington MP & Durham) capt; Charlotte Evans (Sheffield Ladies & Yorkshire); Rachel Thomas (Waterloo & Lancashire); Ellie Prescott (Waterloo & Lancashire); Lisa Cockburn (Leeds Met University & Yorkshire); Lucy Brook (Waterloo & Lancashire); Lilian Knight (Durham University & Durham); Ruth Nash (Darlington MP & Yorkshire); Corinne Allmark (Durham University & Durham)
Daria Hinz (Waterloo & Lancashire); Amy Johnson (Birkenhead Park & Cheshire); Kelly Bevan (West Park Leeds & Yorkshire); Joanne Brown (Darlington MP & Durham); Alessandra Lewis (Waterloo & Lancashire); Lucy Earlam (Birkenhead Park & Cheshire)
North Under 18 girls (v London & South East, KO 12.30pm)
Zoe Aldcroft (West Park Leeds & Yorkshire); Rachel Woosey (Liverpool St Helens & Lancashire); Lindsay Tait (Tynedale & Northumberland); Sarah Foster (Morpeth & Northumberland); Tanya Donkin (West Park Leeds & Yorkshire); Rebecca Scholes (Glossop & Cheshire); Caity Mattinson (Hartpury, Worcester & Gloucestershire); Henrietta Burkinshaw (Hartpury & Gloucestershire); May Campbell (Hartpury & Gloucestershire); Rachel Watchorn (Tynedale & Northumberland); Emily Allen (Morpeth & Northumberland); Catherine O’Donnell (Keswick & Cumbria); Abigail Walker (Hartpury & Gloucestershire); Rebecca Trist (Tyldesley & Lancashire); Sadie Giles (Worcester & Lancashire)
Vicky Carbutt (West Park Leeds & Yorkshire); Lydia Hughes (Liverpool St Helens & Lancashire); Rachel Proctor (West Park Leeds & Yorkshire); Sally Stott (Vale of Lune & Lancashire); Tamizin Ireland-Shillito (West Park Leeds & Yorkshire); Emma McCartney (Liverpool St Helens & Lancashire); Olivia Ball (Tyldesley & Lancashire)