Year 7 Girls Tag Rugby Festival 18/04/08
This week’s Y7 Girls Tag Festival was most definitely one of the best “feel-good factor” events held at Moss Lane for some considerable time and was attended by 11 local Secondary Schools. The event had been organised as a result of the Club’s blossoming partnership with Edge Hill University by a team of students working in conjunction with Paul Woodward as part of a project to boost participation in girl’s rugby in St Helens.
The young players were treated to a training session led by 1st team skipper Phil Kearns and assisted by several of the LSH & Edge Hill coaches where the girls had the opportunity to get a taste for a professional rugby training session using hurdles, agility poles and ladders…. Although most of them wanted to use the scrum sled and the tackling bags!!!! Maybe next time!!!!
It was evident from the very first match that there was enthusiasm in abundance and the coaches looked on with pride and amazement at the levels of skill and determination on display. Kieran and his team of coaches from Edge Hill had worked wonders with the After School Clubs and this was clearly going to be a keenly contested tournament.
During lunch there was an opportunity for the young players to meet ex England International and President of RFUW Gill Burns M.B.E. and Lancashire President Davis Herriman, who complimented the players on their performance so far and wished them luck for the knock out rounds that were to follow. Tesco had kindly donated free fruit for all the players to boost their energy levels so it was with renewed vigour that the teams took the field for the play-offs.
The knock out stages were keenly contested with lots of free-flowing rugby and plenty of tries and were witnessed by guests from St Helens Sports Development Unit Terry Bates, Damien Keegan and Gemma Harkness who said “Part of my role is to help develop girls sport in St Helens and this is a magnificent example of the potential we have in this town. We really should have a Girls Rugby Team in St Helens, we definitely have the talent!!”
Haydock A and De la Salle A took part in a keenly fought grand final, which was level at full time with three tries each. The match moved into extra time and was competed in excellent spirit by both teams who were showing no signs of fatigue. Unbelievably, both sides scored a further two tries a piece in a real thriller of a game that had the crowds biting their nails on the touchline. The game moved on to “Sudden Death” and you could feel the tension in the air as both sides applied pressure and had scoring opportunities. Eventually Haydock A broke the deadlock by scoring in the corner to seal a match that nobody deserved to lose and win the tournament. Both teams congratulated each other for such a magnificent spectacle in a tremendous show of spirit and left the field with applause ringing in their ears.
Gill Burns M.B.E. and David Herriman presented each captain with medals for every player who had taken part and the Y7 Champions Shield was presented to Haydock A.
Community Rugby Coach John Foster brought the Festival to a close by thanking all the coaches, players and guests for making the day so enjoyable and paid tribute to all the teams who had not only played a tremendously high standard of rugby but had been a credit to their schools as well.
John went on to say that “The formation of a girl’s rugby team based in St Helens is long overdue and the level of interest today has been phenomenal. I will contact the schools within the next couple of weeks and we will set something up. Based on what we’ve seen here today, there is no reason why we can’t have at LEAST one team up and running for next season”.