STRATFORD RFC Ladies have enjoyed their most successful summer training period since the section began in 2012.
The team have, in the past, taken the summer off and only offered training to those who want to take part. This year, the club has trained consistently on a Tuesday throughout August, as well as offering fitness training on a Thursday evening.
The numbers to training have been excellent, reflected in the ability to play full six-a-side matches in most of their training sessions, officiated by a qualified touch referee. Four new recruits have also joined the squad in that time.
Last weekend not only involved the return from the summer break for the Midlands Ladies Touch League with a Super Sunday at Redditch, but also the first training session at Stratford RFC for the newly-formed girls’ section.
Seventeen girls aged between 9-14 joined coach Wendy Robinson for the inaugural non-contact training session, with more to join in the coming weeks.
At Redditch, despite having had eight weeks off, the ten-strong squad, including a welcome return from travels for Heather Britton and from a two-year injury for Sarah Munday, played their best first round match all season.
They may have lost 3-1 to Pershore, but played with consistency and structured play rather than panicking. The try for Stratford came for Rachel Browne after some fantastic team handling skills. Conversely, they let the panic back in the second match against Wellesbourne, which was lost 3-0. Some of the structure was lost and the team let some adverse referee decisions affect their focus.
The play-off section of the day saw Stratford face Ledbury and Ross. Ledbury had beaten Stratford in the last two encounters and Stratford fought hard and held them to a 0-0 draw.
Ross was a similar match resulting in the same outcome. Stratford held onto possession consistently for the full six phases, but they are still struggling to convert that attack into points. The work rate in defence stepped up significantly in these two matches from the earlier matches. These results put the team in eighth place on the day.
As Super Sundays have no bearing on the league positions and are standalone events, a good measure of success is not in the standings on the day but the performances against previous opponents and against their own targets.
Becki Coombe was named as player of the tournament after showing a huge improvement in her work rate and decision-making in a touch rugby game.
There are two more fixtures for the ladies this season. The last league tournament takes place at Wellesbourne RFC on 23rd September, while the final competition is a Super Sunday competition at Kidderminster on 7th October.
For more details on the club’s ladies section, click here