A women’s rugby team is set to kick-off in Petersfield after an East Hampshire District Councillor passed them a start-up grant.
Petersfield Rugby Club is bringing women’s rugby back to the town and developing a ladies’ section once again.
Over 18,000 girls and women are registered to play rugby in the UK as it has become one of the fastest growing sports – so it is an ideal time for the town club to get involved.
Aided by Leanne Riley, the Harlequins and England scrum-half, the work started with visits to local schools to take assemblies, games lessons and after school clubs to whet the girls’ appetite for the oval ball game. This culminated in three Taster Day training sessions through the summer that saw a wide range of girls pitch up and play.
Councillor Julie Butler, EHDC Deputy Leader, has given the club £717 from her annual councillor grant budget to get the ball rolling and provide basic training kit such as balls, bibs and cones.
Pam Cheeseman, Director of Women’s Rugby at the club, said: “We are putting in considerable effort to re-start women’s rugby at Petersfield and to be recognised and receive support like this – makes it all worthwhile.”
Training for the girls is on a Sunday morning 10am-12 noon for girls aged U11 to U18 with a range of coaches including London Irish's Laurisa Robson.
Pam said: “Laurisa helped out at our Taster Days along with ex-England prop Claire Purdy – who brought along her World Cup winner’s medal to show the girls, she is fantastic with the group and I feel sure they will learn lots.”
The group will also be supported by former Petersfield starlet from U8 to U16 - Fiona Pocock who left the town some years ago for a glittering rugby career with Richmond, England (32 Caps) and Harlequins. She will act as the Club Ambassador and help with the coaching when she can.
Cllr Butler said: “Rugby is a fantastic team sport for young people as it promotes athleticism, confidence and teamwork.
“I’m delighted that Petersfield Rugby Club is re-starting a few teams for girls in the town – why should the boys get all the fun!”