Weston Roses under-18s are growing in strength despite season delay due to Covid-19
- Credit: Archant
Last season saw the start of a change at Weston for the club’s Roses under-18s.
For a long time, girls from the club’s successful minis and juniors section found themselves having to leave the club that had nurtured their love of rugby and find a new club that could offer them further opportunity to play.
But last year saw a shift in focus thanks to parents of younger girls and one very ambitious teenager.
Inspired by her brother playing for the club, Bryony Shepherd got involved in an initiative through Bristol Bears project rugby who were running sessions at Hans Price.
While Shepherd was finding out how much she loved the sport she also decided Weston was the club she wanted to play for, while parents at the club were pulling together to work out how they could help retain girls rather than accept that at under-12s they had to leave.
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And with that Weston Roses was born, a development team focusing on learning, fun, support and fitness.
Quickly, likeminded girls wanted to join, girls who have never played rugby before and ladies chair Tracey Williams said: “These girls are extremely brave, having never played rugby before, at 15, 16 years old they put on boots and started to play matches against girls who have been playing the sport for years.
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“It is a massive achievement for them and something the club is immensely proud of.”
On December 15, 2019 they had their first match at Lydney against an established under-18 team supported by club chairman Pete Land and coach Mark Walker. And although covered from head to toe in mud and beaten, the girls came off the pitch buzzing, smiling and raring to go again.
Covid stopped the team just as they were picking up momentum, but the girls kept each other’s spirits up in lockdown using social media to keep in contact.
The girls are continuing to recruit friends into the team and many are now part of Weston College’s Rugby Academy and throughout the girls’ section, several girls are now assisting younger girls within the club.
Shepherd has helped to coach the minis and while studying sports coaching at college is now coaching the newly formed under-11 girls’ team and looking forward to playing the new Ready4Rugby format for the 2020 season as well as welcoming new players.
Training for under-18s is 6pm-7pm Tuesdays at Weston and for more information contact Tracey Williams on 07765 407808.