Haverhill Rugby Club’s newly formed women’s team will take to the field of competition for the first time later this month, writes Hannah Dolman.
The touch tournament in Ipswich was originally scheduled for March 18, but adverse weather saw it postponed until April 22.
Head coach Jodie Baker said it is a development tournament for teams that have only recently come together and is the perfect setting for their first taste of competitive action.
Baker, an experienced player herself, said the club had long been pushing to re-establish a women’s team after several years’ absence and was ‘excited to see it finally happening’.
She said: “It’s been going so well since we first ran a session on January 7.
“I’m very proud of it all, the club have been trying to get a women’s team going for a while.
“I‘m excited to see it finally happening and now looking forward to our first tournament.
“It will be the first competitive games we have played so far — and a touch tournament is perfect for that first go out.”
Baker said she thought the majority of their players were first-time rugby players, of all ages, who had decided to give the sport a try and become hooked.
“They have played other sports most of them, but are either fans or have recently been attracted to rugby,” she said.
“And it’s great to see such a variety of ages coming too, from under-18s all the way up to 50.
“We want to be a team of people who are passionate about playing the game.”
Baker said the team currently consisted of 16 players, with 10 available to compete in the first tournament.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on them with competition,” she said.
“But we’re progressing so quickly, we have a really good bunch together and we’re already tackling, which is just crazy really.
“I’m hoping to look at joining a league for the next season but I also want to make sure the team would want to do that.”
She said all the players were now registered with the RFU, the game’s governing body, and so would be able to now enter competition but was aware numbers were at the minimum of what was viable.
She said they would need to fulfil eight fixtures to remain in a league and hoped they would be able to achieve that.
“We’re planning a charity event in the summer, for the new pitch, and I hope we’ll get some more players between now and the start of a new season too,” she said.
“We’re at such an early stage but things are looking good.
“I hope this is the start of a team that can just get better and better and one day be really competitive in a league.”
She said it was a shame the rules meant they could not have any of their younger players involved, with a ban on under-18s taking part in adult competitions.
There were a number of youth players involved in the new side, and she was disappointed that they would be unable to take part in the competitive side of the game.
“They come to training and do all the hard work and it’s a real shame they can’t then take part in the matches,” she said.
“It will be hard to keep them interested and involved if there’s nothing to play for, but it is the way it is.
“And it is of course looking good for the future.”