Special day shows how far the Harps ladies have come

The ladies section at Harpenden Rugby Club is continuing to grow.

The ladies section at Harpenden Rugby Club is continuing to grow. - Credit: Archant

A historic day for Harpenden Rugby Club may have ended in mixed emotions but it shows that women’s and girls’ rugby is on the up at Redbourn Lane.

Both the U15 and U18 girls’ sides were involved in London & South East Cup semi-finals with the winners of the area finals going on to the national stages.

The U18s lost 19-15 to Bournemouth-based Ellingham & Ringwood, and had a try disallowed that would have won them the game, but the U15s made it to the final, where they could face neighbours Old Albanian, by beating Buckingham 34-17.

Coach Gavin Lendon said: “We have only just begun as a section so to get two teams to an area semi-final is phenomenal.

“The club has been so supportive and we had one match on the main pitch in front of the grandstand so there were loads there to support the girls.

“Saying they were ecstatic at the end doesn’t do it justice.”

The teams have girls from schools across the district which has helped the numbers mushroom.

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And that has brought its own rewards with Harpenden supplying the biggest number of players to the county.

The growth isn’t just a trend in the girls section as Felicity Aubertin-Scriven, team manager of the senior women’s team explains.

She was the first senior lady to join three years ago and since then the section has grown to over 120.

She said: “We have put a huge amount or work in with schools and the great thing is that anyone can do it.

“It’s just fantastic to see and when you start to feel that momentum and then have people actively ringing up asking if they can play, it’s amazing.

“It’s still really difficult to break down the barriers about getting hit and injured.

“That happens but the women’s game is different to the men’s.

“There’s a great social side here at Harpenden which attracts some but sometimes I think the physicality helps, just because when we go out onto the rugby pitch alongside each other and get hit and put our bodies on the line, it builds the camaraderie.”

The plans across the section are simple; continue to grow and continue to be competitive.

There’s nothing to say that won’t happen and if and when it does, expect more history for Harpenden Ladies.