A guest post from Flossie McGhee.
The first time I remember thinking “wow, rugby is brilliant” was in 2003, wrapped in a duvet very early one morning where I was taught the basic rules of the game by my flatmate’s boyfriend as he watched the World Cup on a portable TV in our communal living room. That was to begin my love of rugby, which has grown over time to an almost religious following of the National and International game.
A family member kept telling me I should take up rugby, and I kept laughing it off. As much as I wanted to my head was filled with self-doubt; I’d be terrible, I’m too slow, I’m too old, I’ll get hurt. Then, about a year ago, my good friend Emma came to me, and said she was setting up a ladies team locally and would I want to give it a go. I said I would, thinking I would show some support a friend, but never intending to do more than a session or two.
One night last November, I traipsed down to the rugby field, and proceeded to spend an hour and a half getting a crash course in the basics of ball handling, tackling and the rules of rugby in the dark, under floodlights. And I fell in love with playing the game. The other women there ranged in age from 16 to 49, and from there, our team was born, affectionately known as The Mother Ruckers. Over the past year, we have trained in all weathers; one particularl night we started off dry but cold, before progressing to hail, then snow, then torrential rain. We’ve gone from the basics of running forward but passing backwards (MUCH harder than you think) and tackling, to more recently set pieces like line outs and scrums.
Do not for one moment think I am super fit; I like cake and Netflix far too much for that. I’m now 36, and my only previous experience of team sport was at school where we would play hockey, netball or rounders on an annual calendar, only the really sporty girls would actually play matches and rugby was “for boys”. What I found was a team that was welcoming and inclusive, where success is not about who is the best, or the fastest, but about what we can achieve as a team. These women encourage when you’re flagging and recognise when you have made even the tiniest amount of progress. All shapes, all sizes, all fitness levels and ages, because one person’s weaknesses are another’s strengths. It’s completely exhilarating, great fun, great fitness and the bruises are spectacular. I’m stronger and fitter than I was when I started, more resilient, more likely to get up and go again when I get knocked back. When anxiety and self-doubt told me that I didn’t belong on the team, my team rallied round and brought me back. Every week I attend, and every week I surprise myself.
If you’re 18 or over and want to try ladies rugby, look out for Inner Warrior days held by
local clubs in partnership with England Rugby. If you’re local to the West Dorset/Somerset area, Crewkerne Ladies RFC have been selected to hold an Inner Warrior Day on Sunday 22nd September from 2pm onwards. It’s completely free, and will introduce the basics of rugby in a fun way. There’s even a cream tea at the end for all who attend.
Crewkerne Ladies RFC play on Monday nights, 7-8.30pm and have their very first Development match against East Dorset Ladies in Bournemouth on 6th October; so if you’re free, any and all support appreciated!
Crewkerne Ladies RFC is very proudly sponsored by Lovegrove Essentials Ltd.