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Large turnout for Cheshire's first girls' rugby festival

16 April 2014

  • Girls from five Cheshire schools take part in rugby festival
  • Event offered youngsters a chance to play competitive sport
Year 7 and 8 girls from across Cheshire

Photo: RFU Archive

The County High School in Leftwich played host to Cheshire’s first ever girls' rugby festival as part of plans to get more youngsters playing the sport.

A girls' and women’s section is well-established at Northwich Rugby Club, but there is a lack of other clubs in the area offering opportunities to girls who want to give rugby a go.

That is something the Community Rugby Coaches (CRCs) in the region are working to change – and this festival, staged earlier this month, brought together girls from schools across Cheshire to give them the opportunity to play some competitive sport.

Girls from Sandbach High School; St Nicholas Catholic High School; Middlewich High School; Rudheath High School and Leftwich were all represented. Rather than competing for their individual schools though, the teams were mixed together and played one Years 7 and 8 game and one Years 9 and 10 game.

The event was organised by Cheshire CRCs Julian Gilding and Simon Verbickas, along with support from several volunteers at Northwich Rugby Club, who have been instrumental in championing girls’ rugby. These include mini and junior rugby chair Karen Gooch, community coach Ian Grassby, and father and daughter Ian and Libby Finn, who coach and play for Northwich girls.

“A lot of work has gone into organising more girls’ rugby and we have 50 or 60 girls playing regularly now,” Verbickas revealed. “As a direct result of the work with local schools, we have had six girls join Northwich’s under 12s, and that is encouraging.

“It was great to get the girls together for this festival and we hope that clubs will be encouraged to set up sides for girls as they see the demand is there and growing.”

Grassby, the community coach from Northwich, added: “This was an excellent culmination of our Satellite School/Club programme, and the level and commitment at which the girls played was exceptional.

“As a club, we are excited about the influx of new players, which will hopefully see us fielding competitive age group teams at U13s, 15s, and 18s next season.”