From grassroots to international rugby at Welwyn RFC
PUBLISHED: 08:02 15 February 2014
Enjoying rugby and having game time are crucial elements as to why Welwyn Rugby Club has been so successful in bringing through female players that have gone on to gain international recognition.
In the past two weeks ex-player Hannah Gallagher represented the England senior side in the six Nations and duo Sydney Gregson and Scarlett Cooper-Wall turned out for the U20s, while Megan Williams plays for the Ireland 7s.
Greg Maxwell, who has coached the girls’ section at Hobbs Way for around 10 years, said: “The thing that makes the section so strong is as coaches we coach the girls, but they also have fun which is important.
“We have a laid back approach to the girls playing games, if they get it wrong on the pitch so be it. There is no point worrying about things once it’s happened and most of the time the girls learn from this and get it right the next time.
“This takes any pressure off the girls during game time.”
The club coaches could not do their job without the endless support from parents and other volunteers.
“We have a strong team of managers and helpers, plus mums and dads that will do things allowing myself and Bob Dawson to concentrate on the girls’ training and on their games,” said Maxwell.
“This is also why I believe girls come from far and wide to play for us simply because we get the girls game time and train every week.”
Maxwell, and all at the club, take delight in seeing their students progress to the sport’s top level.
“We are very proud that a little club like Welwyn has girls playing at all levels of rugby from club, county ,the London and south east team and England,” he said.
“We have had a few girls over the years play for their country which also includes Wales and now Ireland’s seven-a-side team and I don’t think we have finished yet.”
The flow of players to the senior international ranks shows no signs of slowing according to Maxwell.
“You will see more in the England set-up and maybe one or two may pop up in the Olympics in the seven-a-side GB team.”
Of the club’s current crop, U15 players Daisy-Mae Parker, Hannah Botterman, Rosanna Moynihan, Helena Rowland and Anna Liddlelow were successful at the recent London South East Divisional trials.
They will now take part in a series of training camps and games.
Club chairman Heather Elliott highlighted the importance of the girls to the club.
“Welwyn RFC is immensely proud of its girls section, which is one of the strongest in the country,” she said. “This is reflected by the selection of several of our former players to gain divisional and international honours.
“They are a close knit group of girls with a dedicated and well-run coaching and support set-up, all of whom are, as with the rest of Welwyn RFC, run by volunteers.
“Their success means that both age groups have to travel far and wide to find opposition of a good enough standard to challenge them.
“Encouragingly for the club, the U15s section is populated with a lot of girls who have come through our mini section and many of them, with good coaching, are strong enough players to be able to replace the U18 girls when they are out of age group.
“We hope that their success continues and we will see more international players in the future.”
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