11:00AM, Tuesday 18 May 2021
Maidenhead’s director of women’s rugby, Stephen Jones, says the reaction to the launch of the u13s team has been so widespread, the club may have to consider establishing further age group teams to accommodate the interest.
The club is planning to launch its u13s team with a special open training session in conjunction with Get Berkshire Active on Sunday (May 23), from midday for a 12.30pm start, with England women’s scrum half Leanne Riley to conduct the session.
However, there’s also been interest from girls in older age brackets and, while the club plans to launch a u17s side in the not-too-distant future, Stephen hopes the girls and women’s section of the club ‘mushrooms’ in the coming years.
“The reaction to the u13s has been so widespread,” he said. “We will definitely be having a u17s team, but I think the u13s will go on to become a u14s side and then a u15s side in that way.
“While that’s going on we’ll move onto starting a u17s side and use that as a feeder team for the senior side.
“We’ve had schools asking if their sixth formers can come down and play, so if this really mushrooms, we may have to have three teams on the way up, at u13s, u15s and u17s.”
The women’s senior side, the Iron Maidens, has also seen an influx of new players since being relaunched earlier this year and with the relaxation of restrictions enabling a return to training.
“It’s been going really well,” said Stephen. “We had 13 or 14 at our first training sessions. Some of the girls have been there every week.
“And each week we have new people. Last week we had our first Muslim player come down, which was just a brilliant moment for us.
“We’ve had local people, people from local football clubs who’ve never played rugby before. It’s just really good and everyone is really welcoming.
“They’re dedicated, they love the contact, and they love each other’s company, like all rugby and sports teams. We used to have a great team. It’s been three or four years since they played. People like Emma MacDonald, who is the daughter in law of the great Gordon MacDonald, who played for Scotland. She’s absolutely brilliant, and she’s not played for years. She’s head of sport at Claires Court School. It’s just lovely.”
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