Just 24 hours after International Women’s Day celebrated women’s achievements, girls rugby took over Towcestrians RFC with a special eight-team tournament.
Teams from Royal Latin School, Magdelan College School, Malcolm Arnold Academy, Ousedale School, Caroline Chisholm School, Moulton College and Campion School went head-to-head in a round robin competition, organised as part of Northampton Saints’ Rugby4All project.
Run in conjunction with Premiership Rugby, and funded by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, the project has introduced rugby to girls across Northamptonshire, and many of the players running out at Towcestrians had only been playing the sport for just a few months.
With every team facing each other once the players were exposed to different experiences and standards of play, with the overall winners decided in a league format. Royal Latin ‘A’ took home the trophy, with Magdelan College School in second place.
Saints community coach Charlotte Eggleton, who manages the Rugby4All project, said she was very pleased with how the day went, both from the playing perspective as well as the contributions made by Sports Leaders from Caroline Chisholm School, who helped out throughout the organising and match day management process.
"I’m delighted with how the tournament went and the positive attitude shown by all the girls involved, most of whom had only been playing rugby for just a few months," she said. "Rugby can be an intimidating sport, especially the contact aspects of the game, but the girls have all approached the game in the right way and the feedback we got was that they enjoyed the experience.
"A tournament like this gives them an early experience of competition and playing against other teams, which is different to just training with their friends. And it was really good to hear from teachers that they would like to have more fixtures and more tournaments in the future. Getting more girls playing rugby is what this project is all about, and we can look forward to working with the schools in creating fixture lists between them.
"The tournament would not have run as smoothly as it did without the contributions of the sports leaders at Caroline Chisholm School, whose help was invaluable, and they deserve as much praise as the players and teachers.
"Hopefully this will be the first of many similar days in the future!"
One of the schools that has had rugby introduced by the project is Ousedale, located in Olney, and teacher Lindsay Taylor says that the students had really taken to the sport.
"A tournament like this is brilliant," she said. "It gives the girls something to aim for and spurs them on. You always get a bit to begin with where students start and then fall off, but a new wave of girls have come through and they’ve wanted to come to the tournament.
"It’s also about meeting these other schools, which is great. The social side of rugby is good, not just the physical side of the game, and it’s really starting to grow in our school.
"Rugby being new, you don’t always know where to look to find fixtures, and a tournament like this is great, and I’m meeting people who I wouldn’t otherwise have met, and hopefully we can get more games in the future."
If schools would like to get involved in this project email Charlotte Eggleton – firstname.lastname@example.org