On Sunday (24.02.08) Camp Hill Chargers' Mom's/Social TAG team played their first competitive fixture - and won!
With the majority of the squad flirting with the late 30s-40year old mark, the team made the short trip to Chaddesley Corbett to face their decidedly younger and larger squad for a 9-a-side half pitch TAG-rugby game (3 x 10minute thirds).
"I have to say I felt rather intimidated when the Chaddesley girls ran onto the pitch (all 30 of them!) with their full strip and make-up on!" says wing Fiona Hearn, 38. Having made their mark off the pitch, Chaddesley complimented the proceedings with a vibrant start - the pace of some of their young charges catching Camps unaware: "After five minutes, and three tries scored I think Chaddesley might have thought they had it in the bag" commented Captain Annie Sheppard, 43 "but as the rain stopped so we started, stepping up our game to put all our training into practice."
With the basics being key Camps regrouped, reorganised and started to play - handling, pace onto the ball and superior off-load skills proving the difference between the two sides with Chaddesley unable to manage the magnetic runs of Danne Dubois-Gayere and Collette Corr in particular, who in drawing the defences attention off-loaded to centres Gina Hughes and Amy Bayliss who offered themselves in support throughout the game.
A 3 nil deficit was soon turned into a Camp Hill lead as tries reined in from Captain Sheppard, Jo Taylor (2), Dubois-Gayere, Kate Edgington and Hearn. Tracey Cook added a clever 7th score just before the two-thirds whistle went and with the final third of the game remaining Camps had bagged a 7-6 lead with 10minutes to go.
With rolling subs providing fresh legs for Chaddesley, Camps smaller squad of 13 had to dig deep in order to ensure a strong finish, with 6minutes to go the breathing room that was needed was granted when a Chaddesley ball was dropped, collected by Hearn who flew up the sideline from 30m out to score a memorable individual try. Sharon Blick, aided by Jane Homans, provided the final impetus with a carry and off-load to Bayliss who evaded the defence for the game's final score.
Beaming head coach, Jo Kilby afterwards said: "I'm very, very proud of the whole squad including those that weren't able to make it on the day - the effort, the application, the commitment has all paid off, the ladies were magnificent and thoroughly deserved their win."
Speaking of the initiative itself, Kilby commented: "many of the team have never done anything like this before - played a vigorous team sport - in perhaps 20 years, if at all, combine this with the fact that they have gone from complete rugby novices in 6mths to players who can create space, hit holes and compete with players half their age in a competitive setting and you can see why we're all so delighted, but significantly, it was and is achievable for everyone - our team is made up of mothers, housewives and busy professional women, they just applied themselves, committed to an hour or so of fun and fitness a week and the rest took care of itself."
Sheppard affirms: "I never had the confidence to play team sports, [the coaches] have all been so supportive, built my confidence and given me some self belief. Sunday was one of the best achievements in my life."
Camp Hill's Mom's are on the look out for new players ahead of their next game, a return match against Chaddesley, scheduled for April 13th as part of the Chargers Ladies Rugby Festival Day. If you're interested in giving a superb fun, fitness and friendly team sport a go, come and try Camp Hill's Moms/Social TAG team - contact Annie Sheppard or Jo Kilby via www.chrfc.co.uk for more details - all abilities and ages (+16yrs) welcome.
photo Dan Vernon
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level the playing field in terms of gender
Image by NordicFocus
photo Dan Vernon