Halifax RUFC held this year’s first Yorkshire Women’s Rugby Development Festival on Sunday 11th Feb, the first in recent times at the club. Over 70 women from across the county travelled to Ovenden Park to take part in games designed to build confidence and give a taste of full contact rugby.
Teams came from far and wide. The Development Festival allowed for players to group together to form teams thus providing valuable experience for new teams that may not yet have the squad numbers to take part in more formal matches. On the day North Ribblesdale, Rotherham and Halifax joined to form Ribb-Rother-Fax, Hornsea and Driffield formed East Yorkshire and Leeds Uni joined Leeds Medics and Dentist to form Leeds Universities. This allowed the players to take part in full contact 15’s. For many it was their first taste of this format. Each team then played the other with local Community Rugby Coaches Calum Harris and Andy Fradgley acting as referees but also guiding the teams through.
The Yorkshire weather threw everything it had at the players. The start was delayed by a small blizzard but play was soon underway. Bright sunshine was followed by snow to be followed by sunshine again as the teams fought it out on the pitch with vocal support from the crowd sheltering in the stand.
Development Festivals are all part of the RFU’s plan in Yorkshire to provide valuable game time for developing players and teams, recognising the rapid growth in the number of players within the county. With the RFU’s strategy to grow the womens and girls game by 25,000 more players over the next 4 yrs - finding playing opportunities is paramount.
Halifax RUFC Chairman Darren Emmerson said “We were delighted to host the RFU Ladies Development Festival today and are looking forward to working in partnership with our local development offficers at future events. The weather at times was blizzard-like but we made sure there was a warm welcome in the clubhouse for all the visitors.”
All the teams have agreed to meet again to continue to mutually aid in their progress, with Halifax Ladies looking to meet with smaller teams to help them with their development.
Halifax Ladies continue to actively recruit new players as they look to grow their squad to create a formal development side. New players are always welcome regardless of experience and anyone thinking of joining the team is encouraged to contact the club or turn up to training on Thursday nights at 7:30pm at Ovenden Park.
Photo Credit: Bev Clough Photography
Updated 21:52 - 12 Feb 2018 by Vicki Faint