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WRFC Ladies 2006-2016
Below is the entry from the 2006-07 season, by David Guest, Worcester Ladies Manager 2006-2014, Valkyries Manager, 2015.
Following the 2006 World Cup, the players involved were allocated rest from league action, some took shorter rests than others, some took the opportunity to travel and some retired. This left the 1st XV initially without the services of Jo Yapp, Nicky Milne, Kim Shaylor and Nicky Crawford, which presented an opportunity for several young players from the University of Worcester and the previous Girls under 18’s and 2nd XV to play in the premiership.
Following a preseason trial game at Malvern, a host of new names were introduced to the team sheet, Laura Keates, Rhiannon Parker, Jess Morgan, Helen Price, Samantha Bree, Sarah Guest, Katie Singleton and Jenny Mills. All but one of whom would go on to achieve international honours at various levels in their careers. Jenny Mills played in variety of positions for the club but international honours were as a Hooker.This cohort joined other young players who had made their debuts previous years, notably prolific try scorer for Worcester and England, Kat Merchant, Gemma Sharples and Tracy Balmer, the latter would eventually captain Scotland. Lottie Keys returned from a sabbatical to strengthen to the pack. They joined the more experienced Samantha Dale and Kerry Barber along with captain Katie White and became the backbone of the team, Sam Dale was a colossus, representing England on many occasions but a serious neck injury in 2011 forced her retirement.
The team was managed and coached and administered by Welsh International and flanker, Mel Berry who clearly had too much to do.
Having watched the first home game against Wasps, then travelled the Vale of Lune, sharing touch judge duties with another parent, it was hard not to get involved. Players purchased their own shorts and socks and took turns to wash the shirts. Dave Guest became the 1st XV Match Day Manager, a role that rapidly expanded beyond match day duties. Mel Berry decided to seek a new challenge before the end of the season, it was evident that the 1st XV needed a Coach.
Step forward Kev Morgan, an incredibly successful coach in the junior girl’s section, Worcester being virtually unbeatable.
The 1st XV finished in the lower half of the league but played with great determination and skill against the more accomplished sides of Saracens, Wasps and Richmond.
Kevin Morgan’s step up left the 2nd XV, who played in National Challenge 1, without a coach. Chairperson Kean Clifford added expanded his portfolio to also become Manager, aided by club stalwart and captain, Jilly Hendy. Jilly would also represent the 1st XV in later years. Reduced numbers saw them struggling to field a team every week with frantic phone calls late into Saturday evenings. Jilly Hendy, tirelessly to build a squad, but some games had to be defaulted, players were borrowed from Dudley Kingswinford and Chester University to fulfil fixtures where possible. Sadly, this resulted in relegation to National Challenge 2.
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