Fringe Box



Wanted: Coach for Guildford RFU Girls

Published on: 15 Sep, 2014
Updated on: 17 Sep, 2014
Reaching out for the impossible?

Reaching out for the impossible?

By Maria Rayner

Guildford Rugby Football Club (GRFC) are hoping the World Cup success of England’s women will help in their search for a new girls’ coach.

GRFC Youth girls’ teams (U13, U15 and U18) have been without a coach since the departure of Vicky Alexander to Cobham at the end of last season.

Last month the national team won the top trophy in women’s rugby when they beat Canada in Paris. Some of the national squad have Surrey roots and have played for their county, including Emma Croker, Kay Wilson (21) and 19-year-old Alex Matthews, a healthy sign.

Sue Gardner, club secretary, said: “We are exploring many possibilities such as training the girls alongside the youth boys, contacting the Gazelles (Guildford’s women’s team) and using the Harlequins community coaches, many of whom are sponsored to study at the University of Surrey.

“It’s difficult for the senior women [to commit to coaching as well as playing] as they have family commitments but even a small level of involvement can go a long way.”

Currently the girls are split for their training, which was held on Wednesday evening last season. Some have followed Vicky Alexander to Cobham on a Sunday afternoon, while others are training with County coach Roger Underwood at Guildfordians in Stoke Park on a Sunday morning. They will play matches as a “cluster” team.

Four of the squad, Georgia Newman, Matilda McEvett, Katie Davies and Tandia Pritchard have represented Surrey U15, with Georgia going on to Divisional level. Rebecca Rayner has reached the second stage of selection for the county U18 this year. They are a talented bunch.

Surrey RFU encourages the grouping together of clubs as the girls’ game grows, so the players are used to being mobile. Many of the Guildford players are from the Guildfordians mini section, which seems to be more successful in recruiting and retaining the younger girls.

However, Guildford, based on the border of Waverley Borough (the river boundary runs through the site), has had more success with its senior women’s team which was promoted for three years in succession until last season.

Surrey rugby clubs also stage a series of “pitch up and play” events throughout the season that are free and open to any girls, from school year 6 to aged 18, to attend.

Vicky Alexander, now a community coach for the RFU All Schools Programme, said: “Rugby promotes the core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship. It’s very inclusive – any size, skill, gender or race can have a place in a rugby team – you can even play in a headscarf.”

Guildford is also a hub centre for the All Schools Programme, but as Sue Gardner said, “It’s difficult to promote the girls’ game when we don’t have a youth coach and have to tell them to contact Guildfordians or Cobham if they enjoy the taster sessions and want to develop their skills.”

Guildford’s award-winning u9 coach, Will Rattray, who has two young daughters, said: “The club is focussing on girls’ rugby. I’m convinced that every girl who comes here [but leaves] is still outdoorsy and into sport.”

If you are interesting in coaching, training to coach or helping out with the GRFC youth girls’ teams then please contact Sue Gardner on

Click here for information on the RFU All Schools programme.

The calendar for Surrey Rugby’s 2014/15 season (including pitch up and plays) is not yet complete, but it will be available here soon.

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