- Six counties competing over four consecutive weekends
- Yorkshire Ladies to play Lancashire Ladies as curtain-raiser for big men’s fixture
Four weekends of exciting women’s rugby get underway this Saturday (May 3) with the start of the new-look North Counties Senior Ladies fixtures.
All six northern counties are competing and, for the first time, the programme has been packed into one month instead of being spread from September to December.
And, in another exciting first, the women’s game will see its profile get a significant boost as the big Yorkshire-Lancashire derby will be played ahead of the men’s fixture in front of a crowd expected to reach between 3,000 and 4,000.
That game takes place at Scarborough on Saturday, May 17, but there is plenty of action to enjoy before then. The programme of fixtures begins this Saturday with Yorkshire hosting Cheshire at Sandal RUFC (1pm), and Lancashire taking on Durham at Firwood Waterloo RUFC (2.30pm).
The fixture programme is being led and organised by the Constituent Bodies for each of the six counties, with support from Rugby Football Union officials.
And Peter Taylor, the Women’s Rugby Development Officer for Yorkshire, the North East and Cumbria, said: “It’s the first time the games have been played as a stand-alone programme at the end of the season and that’s bringing lots of benefits.
“By playing the games in May it means the university girls can get involved. In the past they have had difficulty turning out for their counties because of university commitments in the BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sports) competitions.
“The most exciting thing for me is that Yorkshire Ladies are going to be playing Lancashire Ladies as the curtain-raiser to the men’s game at Scarborough. That’s a big opportunity as it will bring the women’s game to a much wider audience.”
Saturday, May 3: Yorkshire v Cheshire (at Sandal RUFC, 1pm); Lancashire v Durham (Firwood Waterloo, 2.30pm)
Saturday, May 10: Cheshire v Lancashire (Birkenhead Park, 2pm); Northumberland v Yorkshire (Novocastrians RUFC, 3pm)
Sunday, May 11: Cumbria v Durham (Kendal RUFC, 3pm)
Saturday, May 17: Yorkshire v Lancashire (Scarborough RUFC, 2.30pm); Durham v Northumberland (Hartlepool Rovers RUFC, 2pm); Cheshire v Cumbria (Northwich RUFC, 2.30pm)
Saturday, May 24: Northumberland v Cumbria (venue and kick-off to be confirmed)