Incredible development but time for next steps for Haverhill Rugby Club women's squad
Haverhill Rugby Club’s head coach of the women’s team said it has been an ‘incredible’ 18 months of development, but the time was fast approaching for more.
Julian North, who is part of a committed coaching team alongside joint-head coach Kirsty Clarke and assistants Will Levett and Jake North, wants to see the team enter a competitive league next season.
They are this season competing in the Eastern Counties Women’s Merit League, a development league the club already topped in their inaugural season in 2018/19.
They have only played one fixture so far, a narrow 17-12 defeat at home to Braintree on October 6. But North expects more.
He said: “They need to win 90-95 percent of their games this season to be ready to move up to a standard league I think.
“That’s what I want to see. If they can do that, then it will be time. After last season, I think they’re capable –we’re playing full contact rugby now.
“We’ve enjoyed an incredible 18 months together though, growing together and learning and there’s plenty of camaraderie and a great team spirit; it’s very positive and we have already built on this time last year.”
The club have 27 women ‘on the books’, with North seeing 32 as ‘the magic number’ to aim towards for next season, as they look to develop a second time.
“A year and a half ago most of the team had never played the game,” North, who is also a long-time player of the men’s first team, said.
“We’re at full contact now and, with them training two or three times a week, the commitment is there.
“We also need to look at an under-18 squad as well.”
Girls are not allowed to play adult rugby until after their18th birthday, which North said is a restriction on bringing younger players through.
“They can play with the boys to 12 and then, if you haven’t got an U18 side, that’s it until they’re 18,” he said.
“So we definitely need to offer this option.”
Haverhill Women are due to host Southend Ladies next Sunday.
* Meanwhile in the Eastern Counties Greene King 2 West, Haverhill men are set to return to league action away to Shelford IV on Saturday (3pm).
The team who narrowly missed out on promotion last campaign look determined to achieve their goal this season with their first two victories seeing them post a points difference of 120.
They will look to build on this on Saturday.