Town girls form part of Swifts' side

PUBLISHED: 10:10 09 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:35 06 May 2010

On the pitch

On the pitch

Girls from Stevenage Town formed part of the under-17 rugby team Herts Swifts which narrowly missed out on a place in the semi-finals of the RFUW National Cup. Swifts, formed this season as a partnership of three sides in the Herts area - Stevenage Town,

The team

Girls from Stevenage Town formed part of the under-17 rugby team Herts Swifts which narrowly missed out on a place in the semi-finals of the RFUW National Cup.

Swifts, formed this season as a partnership of three sides in the Herts area - Stevenage Town, Old Albanians and Fullerians - just failed to qualify from the south of England pool.

It was an amazing effort by the girls as due to injury and sickness, they played the entire tournament with 13 players against all the other sides fielding full XVs.

Swifts now include three East of England players as well as eight girls representing Hertfordshire.

They have already won three games and narrowly lost to national champions Worcester.

Swifts have recently been sponsored by national contractor Swift Horsman Ltd and are pictured in their new grey and pink quartered kit at the national cup tournament.

Swifts welcome new players to their training sessions and no experience is necessary.

If you are interested in playing, contact Tony on 07930 108501 or 08717 169095 or email:

info@stevenagerugby.co.uk

* The expansion of girls' rugby in Hertfordshire has been given international recognition by the RFUW.

They asked the county to organise girls' matches as curtain raisers to this year's England Women's Six Nations home fixtures.

The first took place at Old Albanians in St Albans on Saturday.

Twenty girls from under-14 teams across the county including Hitchin, Letchworth, Stevenage Town, Welwyn and Saracens played in the exhibition game on the pitch at a packed Old Albanians.

An estimated crowd of more than 2,000 - one the largest for a women's international for years - watched the action just before the English and Welsh teams took the field.

The girls then lined up with the international teams for the anthems before taking on their duties as ball girls.

It will be the turn of the county's under-17 girls on March 18.

Nearly 50 girls will play in similar exhibition games before the England A match with the Nomads (1pm ko) as well as the full international between England and Ireland (3pm ko).

P Letchworth girls have exceeded all expectations - and last year's record - by getting seven players into the East Region squads this season.

In the under-17 squad, Hayley Guilder, Carla Kelly and Sasha Acheson will be joining last year's national champions.

While in the under-14s, Nikki Alcock, Sophie Lythgoe, Natalie Threfall and Emily Vivian will be training and playing with the best in the land.

This is particularly impressive as Sophie, Natalie and Emily only started playing rugby at Letchworth this season.

Regional rugby is the highest level of rugby available to under-14 girls in England, while the under-17 regional competition will be used to select the England under-19 squad for 2006-7.

The girls now have several weeks of training at Bury St Edmunds, with warm-up fixtures against East Midlands in April and the national championships in May.

P Two teenagers from Hitchin Rugby Club have also been selected to play for the East under-17s regional squad.

Claire Foster and Mel Waite, who both attend the Priory School in Hitchin, impressed at recent trials at Writtle College in Chelmsford.

Mel is one of the youngest in the under-17 squad, having moved from the under-14s which she captained last season.

This will be Claire's third season representing the East Region. She was a member of last year's winning squad at the national festival.

Both girls have played rugby with the mini and junior teams at Hitchin, and often appear as guest players with Welwyn Rugby Club's successful Warriors under-17 girls' team.

Girls interested in rugby at Hitchin should call Maggie Foster on 01462 634526.

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