Fiona Haggerty had been looking for a team in the Bridgend area. A former Welsh squad member, she hadn't played for a club since Swansea Uplands. This season she will be one of the veterans leading the way for Bridgend Athletic RFC.
Starting this season, Bridgend Athletic RFC will field four female teams. Building on the success of Sally Ganner's Under 13 and Under 16 programs, this year will see a senior women's team enter Division II and an Under 19's team playing 7's and 10's matches. Ganner, who has stepped down as the league officer for the Under 16's in South Wales to concentrate on the Bridgend team feels that it was merely a natural progression to field four sides. The young girls wanted to stay together.
The fact is, Bridgend women who were looking to play-either returning to the sport or just beginning had little choice of clubs nearby. Travel time and expenses made it difficult to commit to other clubs.
Now there will be a team located in the center of town and easily accessible to outlying areas.
The club have been training together since Easter and it has proven effective to have the large numbers out. While the senior women have yet to play a game, they did manage a 10 aside squad game early in May-to get accquainted with each other. With the aid of some "liberal" refereeing from Jason Langdon, the women stretched their legs and had more than a few laughs. The under 13's and 16's that came out to support were treated to a fine, if not rusty display.
Langdon not only refs, but is a father and husband to rugby women at Bridgend Athletic. His wife Liz loved the game and decided that she had done enough watching-his daughter Kylie is an outstanding young player with the under 13's. It is a family affair at the club with many parents helping out and always there to support the teams.
The club attitude is inspirational. Coaches will be stressing skill development, fair play, commitment, fitness, and thinking rugby. For some it will be a clean slate but for everyone it will be a new team, new friendships and a new style-blending experience, young talent and desire. Coaching will be done by a team of experienced individuals- Ganner, Development Officer Geriant Evans, Steve Newton, Jon Thiel and Jen Thiel, this club is leading the way to the future in Wales. There is a team and a place for everyone here.
Pre-season training begins on August 6th at 6:45 p.m. at the Newbridge Fields for all ages interested. Experience not needed, positive attitude a must!
If you would like more information about Bridgend Athletic RFC please call Jen at 01656 862 662 or visit our web site at www.BridgendAthleticRFCwomen@groups.msn.com
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.