The session was organised as result of changes in the girls' rugby age bands. Until the start of this season 11-year-old girls could start playing with girls' U14 teams, but the age band has now gone up to U15 which means that these girls have to play an extra year in mixed-sex mini-rugby teams.
Although many girls play mini rugby from an early age many drop out of the game between the ages of 9 and 11, often because they feel isolated as the only girl in a team of a dozen boys. Herts were worried that one effect of age change was the even more girls would be "lost", and so it was decided to organise regular sessions bringing as many girls as possible together in order to support and encourage the girls to keep playing with their clubs until they are old enough to join a girls' team.
The first session was successful in attracting girls from clubs across the county, and also pulled in just many girls who had only played tag rugby before at primary school. Clubs and towns represented included Hitchin, Stevenage, Welwyn, Letchworth, and Watford.
And there is still time for more girls to join in. A second session will take place at the next county day, also at Welwyn RFC on 30 th September at 2pm and any girls (aged 11 or under on 1st September 2007) are welcome to attend, regardless of experience and regardless of whether they are currently members of a rugby club. After that Herts U12s will be looking for fixtures, ideally against other counties.
photos Janos Schmidt