Girls reach semi finals

Letchworth Rugby Club s under-17 girls have qualified for the semi-final round of the game s toughest and most prestigious tournament at their first attempt. The national cup is the oldest and toughest competition in girls club rugby. It attracts the eli

Letchworth Rugby Club's under-17 girls have qualified for the semi-final round of the game's toughest and most prestigious tournament at their first attempt.

The national cup is the oldest and toughest competition in girls' club rugby. It attracts the elite clubs in the game and the Baldock Road girls were under no illusions that this would be their biggest test since they began playing in 2004.

The girls were playing on home soil at Letchworth and were bolstered by three guest girls from Sudbury in Suffolk.

Letchworth won 10-7 against first opponents South East League champions Worthing.

Next up they won 10-5 against a Saracens/Fullerians combination.

A defeat in their final game with Welwyn was irrelevant.

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"They are still quite a young and inexperienced team and most of them will still be together for at least another two years," said manager John Birch.

The semi-final round will bring the South East qualifiers up against the best from the South West in early February.

# Girls' rugby also continues to flourish in Hertfordshire.

The under-14s won the Essex county tournament at Westcliff while the under-17s fell at the final hurdle.

Since they were formed last season, the under-17s have a great track record, losing only one match so far.

Their only defeat occurred in the final of the recent tournament with Essex girls clinching the top spot.

Herts under-14s claimed victory and remain unbeaten, winning their section of the tournament.

Amanda Bate, rugby development officer at the Herts Sports Partnership, is delighted with the results.

She said: "The girls' teams are going from strength to strength.

"This is the first ever girls' under-14 county team and to win this tournament is fantastic.

"The under-17s played well and were very unfortunate to have the title snatched from them in the last few moments of the final game.

"Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens and England) has recently spoken to the squads about goal setting and the importance of sports psychology to help their performance.

"She is a great role model for these young players, and her advice is invaluable to their future development."

# A last minute penalty saw Hitchin win 16-14 at Sudbury in Suffolk in the English Clubs Colts Plate. The superb advert for national cup rugby had it all.

Sudbury scored first with a penalty try before fly-half Henry Robinson crashed over the line to score under the posts. David King converted to make the scores level at half time.

In the second half, King kicked an easy penalty but Sudbury responded with a well-worked forwards try.

King kicked another penalty but missed his next attempt.

Last attack of the game saw yet another penalty to Hitchin 35m out.

All eyes fell upon King - three out of four kicks in the game - and he stroked the kick between the posts.

"I was not worried," said a smiling King after the game. "You just kick and hope for the best."

Hitchin now go to North Walsham in the next round this Sunday.