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A cracking season for Wimbledon's Women

A cracking season for Wimbledon's Women

Meg Gardiner20 Apr 2018 - 10:08
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A round up of the 2017/2018 season

Wimbledon RFC Women's XV started the 2017/2018 season in July with a rather intense preseason session thanks to our new coach, Bounce trainer and now regular 3rd XV player, Saner Hasan. We have had a hugely successful season, arguably the best on record finishing fourth in the Women’s second tier Championship league. The squad isn’t a huge squad, there have been 35 players play this year. Of those 35 players, seven joined the team this year and five of those have played almost every game since they joined. This year, not only have we been lucky enough to recruit players who have played the sport to a high standard before joining Wimbledon (two of our most recent recruits are ex premiership players) but we have been blessed with very few major injuries. The key to this season has been gel – gel of the scrum which has been completely dominant all season; gel of the back line in reading each other’s play and scoring more tries than we have for a number of years; and gel which stuck Alex's knee back together after a rather unfortunate run in with a Drybrook player's stud in September!

With Plymouth and Bath being promoted and London Welsh being relegated at the end of last season, our league had a long overdue shake up. We welcomed three new teams all of whom were positive, fun opposition. Our furthest mainland away fixture was Cullompton (just off the M5 in Devon and a much shorter trip than the dreaded 6.30am start for Plymouth we have endured in recent seasons!). We were also treated to an extended stay in Guernsey. We set off on our mini tour on a Saturday in February and, thanks to the fog, didn’t return until midnight on the Monday! In true Wimbledon ladies style, we made the best of a bad situation and frequented (what seemed like) the only restaurant and club open on Guernsey in the winter!

The whole squad have completely bought into the Wimbledon Way this season. Training three times a week (twice at the club and once at Bounce), July 2017 seems a long time ago but Saner has worked with us to make this an enjoyable season where the focus has been on being the best amateur team we can be. Individual players have come out of their shell and completely thrived with our new way of playing. To be congratulated by long standing rival, Teddington Ladies, in their after match speech at our penultimate league game with “you have had a far more successful season than us, well done and fair play, you deserve it”, adds to a joyful end to the season!

Sunday afternoons at Wimbledon have been awash with some extraordinary displays of rugby, we do hope we’ll see more of you on the touchline next season.

Thank you to all of the physios who have kept us in good shape this season at home and away fixtures: Lucy, Kris, Caroline and Chris.

The team finish the season by playing in the Surrey Cup Final at Esher on Monday 7th May and travelling to Belgium a couple of weeks later for our annual tour.

Good Luck to Kirsty Openshaw who will represent Surrey Rugby in the county championship this year.

A huge thank you to Saner; we are looking forward to working with you next season and for seasons to come. We have enjoyed a number of adventures this season thanks to our Social Sec, Ange, thank you for your great imagination! Thanks also to Anna, who organises all of our physio cover, our Bounce sessions, our away transport and represents us on the Club's Executive Committee.

The biggest thanks of all must go to our Team Manager, Meg. For the last six seasons, she has voluntarily organised everything from fixtures, training, collecting availaiblity, recruitment, inner warrior events, socials to every aspect of our trip to Guernsey. All the time and effort she puts in means that the rest of us just have to turn up, have fun and play rugby! Not only has she played every minute of every game this season (the only player to have done this), she really does eminate the true spirit behind this team. Thank you, we are very lucky to have you.

Here’s to a well-earned rest and a successful start to the 2018/2019 campaign.

Hannah Gutteridge
Wimbledon RFC Women’s XV Captain

Further reading