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Inaugural U11 Girl’s Festival of Rugby
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Published: 6 October 2021
This Article was Written by: Kate Birinder-Ross
Sunday 3rd October saw Old Reigatian hosting the inaugural U11 Girl’s Festival of Rugby. With the older girls away at the Guildfordians Festival, the U11’s didn’t want to miss out, so we decided to host our own.
With 12 clubs expressing interest, we finally had confirmation of 7 that would attend (the others sadly had to pull out due to availability and fuel anxiety issues). So the scene was set for a day of high energy, fun and friendly girls rugby. Saturday presented a challenge weather wise, and this coach looked at the incessant rain and grey sky with a sense of impending doom, but Sunday morning arrived with a clearer forecast, and a lightning of mood!
With the visiting clubs due to arrive for an 1130 start, it was all hands to the pumps to get the fields of play ready, and provide a welcoming environment. As the visitors started arriving, the sun came out, and we were greeted by the most awesome sight of close to 100 girls warming up in club colours across 12 Acres. Truly a sight to behold!
Visiting clubs were Dorking, Farnham, Guildford, Old Allynians, Chobham, Cobham and Worthing. Great Team Managers, Coaches and engaged parents, from all, and there was a real buzz and excitement in the air. A quick coaches briefing, and onto (friendly) matches. We wanted the games to be fun in focus and all inclusive, so ran two streams of contact and non-contact games. Whilst we stressed that scores would not be recorded, I’m sure the girls did!
Onto the games, and each team played two 7 minute halves, with a total of 4 games per team. ORRFC fielded 3 (!) Contact teams and 1 touch team, and all the games were contested in a high energy fashion. There was no clearly dominant team, so as spectators, we were treated to end to end, evenly contested games. It was a real visual treat! However, the standard of rugby was the real stand out of the weekend. All our girls stepped up, and there was a sea-change in their application, motivation and drive to play. Each and every girl had an individual moment of sublime brilliance, from a bone crunching tackle, to a poetic pass, a cheeky offload, to a scintillating, scything run to score. All done with massive smiles and prodigious work-rates! Visiting girls all played well, fairly and to a high standard. They were all polite, engaged and similarly had excellent skills on display. Support from the sidelines from all parents and guardians was epic, and really gee’d the girls on. We have a large squad forming a very unique bond with each other, and it was great to see the spirit of teamwork and support they showed each other.
Ultimately, as a non-competitive (very competitive!) festival, there was no overall winner, but anecdotally, I ‘ve been told that ORRFC collectively scored more than conceded, so I’ll take that as a win. However, cliched as it will sound, Girls Rugby was the true winner this weekend. The smiles, chatter, re-telling of events after the games and in the bar was the best we could have wished for, and the engagement from all clubs and parents, especially about wanting to recreate this as a regular event was most promising.