Girls’ and Women’s Rugby at Ely Tigers Rugby Club

Written by: Rebecca Case-Upton and Charlotte Pindar 

Last season Ely Tigers rugby club started a girls’ section- the Ely Tigresses. We want this to go from strength to strength each year. The new season is starting, come and join us!

We want to make sure the opportunity to play rugby locally is available to girls and women in Ely and the surrounding area.  The women’s professional game has seen enormous success at both Premier 15’s level and internationally. As a consequence of this, women’s and girls’ rugby have become the fastest growing team sports in recent years!  Since 2013 the number of women and girls enjoying contact rugby in England has increased by over 10,000.  At the time of the 1991 Women’s Rugby World Cup there were around 35 English clubs with women’s sides, compared with over 300 rugby clubs hosting women’s and girls’ teams in 2017. Our long term goal is to have a thriving, sustainable and competitive women’s section at Ely RUFC. 

The Ely Tigresses train every Tuesday from 6.30-8.00pm and cater for girls aged 11 to 18. All the girls need to bring is themselves (and any friends who want to have a go too), a water bottle, warm layers, studded boots, a hair tie and a fitted gum shield.

Our coaching team consists of Simon Cross, Simon Edwards and Charlotte Pindar. As the girls’ section grows, we are recruiting for new volunteer coaches to add to our team. So if you are reading this and are an experienced coach, looking for a new challenge and to work with a burgeoning girls’ section, please contact our Girls’ Chairwoman Charlotte or our Director of Rugby, Adrian Storey. 

We had a brilliant turnout from our very first session last season and regularly saw 25+ girls from schools all over Cambridgeshire. This season we want to expand upon our excellent start and to have even greater numbers of players enjoying rugby. We have played 3 fixtures so far in partnership with Diss RUFC. We’d love to build on that and give our Tigresses more chances to represent their club.

Rugby is for everyone and teaches you so many important values.

One of the biggest misconceptions about rugby is that one has to be a hulking, great big person, who’s hugely athletic and very aggressive. This is definitely not so! Regardless of your size, shape, height, fitness and previous experience or (lack thereof), rugby is a game for everyone. If

you’re small but agile and speedy, you could zip past the defenders. If you’re a bit bigger and have sometimes felt uncomfortable in your skin, rugby could be the key to finding confidence in yourself and unlocking hidden abilities. We are one team. We all add value. 

Central to the culture of rugby is that we have a set of core values: Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship (or TREDS for short). We try to embody these in all that we do as a club, as a committee, as coaches and as volunteers; and we expect the same of our players, parents, supporters and spectators. 

Parents and players often say that they’re anxious about the contact aspect of the game. We understand these concerns but want to reassure you that we take the utmost care to ensure our players are coached fully in how to safely tackle and how to be tackled. We take their safety very seriously. If you have any questions at all though, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our contact information can be found below or on the Ely Tigers website.

There’s also so much more to the game of rugby than the tackle! We do a lot of work on the principles of play- Possession, Going Forward, Support, Continuity and Pressure. It stands to reason that if you want to maintain possession of the ball, to carry on going forward, to apply pressure, to keep up continuity and to support your teammates; you need to communicate, to run into space, to keep the ball alive, to offload the ball rather than running into contact and to follow that pass to support the ball carrier! We saw our players coming on leaps and bounds in their knowledge, technical understanding, fitness, tactical and physical ability last season, as a direct result of this focus. We look forward to seeing all the progress our girls will make this season. 

Most importantly, we’re committed to creating an environment in which the girls have fun, make friends and feel part of a team. If they learn something, get some fresh air and do some healthy exercise at the same time, even better!

Rugby is the game of our lives. We hope it will be yours too.

Contact Charlotte Pindar, Girls’ Chairwomen, at elytigresses@gmail.com or turn up on Tuesday evenings, 6.30-8pm.

Touch rugby for men and women

For over 16’s, Touch Rugby is organised on Monday evenings 7.30-9pm and is open to both women and men. Touch Rugby is a relaxed, social, non-contact game. The rules are very simple and we can teach any beginners who want to give it a go. Everyone is welcome at Touch Rugby; men, women, beginners or experienced players.

One of the ladies who plays on Monday evenings has given this glowing report of Touch Rugby. “I’m so glad I gave it a go when I saw it advertised last summer. I wasn’t sure I’d be any good when I started but everyone is so friendly that it doesn’t matter if I sometimes make mistakes. Touch Rugby complements the pilates, yoga and dancing that I do during the week. It really tones my legs up. I always look forward to Monday nights”.

If you would like to try something different and are interested in a non-contact form of rugby give touch rugby a go.

Visit the Ely Tigers Website www.elytigers.rfu.club

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