Thursday, May 18, 2006

That's all folks...

A reminder to all readers that - now the Sevens is over - all news and discussion has now switched to the Hertfordshire Girls' Rugby blog.

Please re-set you RSS and Atom feeds.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

TV reports on Herts Sevens

Okay - maybe one more post!

Because cameras from Anglia TV were at the Sevens on Sunday and two reports were later broadcast on Sunday and Monday evenings, and thanks to Mike Alcock - one the Letchworth parents - I've managed to get a copy.

If you missed them then then here (Sunday & Monday) to watch the reports (total of about two and a half minutes).
Amongst the "highlights" you will see:

Interviews with:

  • Carla Kelly and Hayley Guilder (Letchworth),
  • Emma Cramphorn and Jess Lane (Welwyn),
  • and some other bloke.
The following teams in action:

  • Becket Barbarians (U17s)
  • Becket Blues (U14s)
  • Hellesdon High School, Norwich (U14s)
  • Letchworth (U14s)
  • Uttlesford (U17s)
  • Welwyn (U14s)


  • Various crowd scenes!
  • A staggeringly patronising introduction (to the Monday broadcast)!

You can also download low quality (under 1MB) versions of each broadcast here:

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Congratulations to Basildon & Welwyn... and thanks to everyone else...

...for helping make it a memorable event.

For the record... after eight hours of play (yes - it did overrun a bit!):


Cup: 1: Welwyn; 2: Saracens, 3=: Basildon & Westcliffe
Plate: 1: Rochford; 2: Milton Keynes; 3: Becket Blues
Bowl: 1: Hellesdon; 2: Letchworth; 3: Uttlesford

Cup: 1: Basildon; 2: Hertford; 3=: Letchworth & Welwyn
Plate: 1: Paviors; 2: Westcliffe; 3=: Rochford & Uttlesford
Bowl: 1: Becket Barbarians; 2: Daventry; 3=: Milton Keynes & Wasps
Shield: 1: Romford; 2: Becket Belles; 3: Letchworth/Saracens

[I have the detailed scores from the pool stages, but after that... well it didn't matter as much and finding referees became a greater priority. However, in response to one or two requests, detailed results are noew available - see the column on the right]

There were many outstanding games - and a lot of very impressed spectators who'd not seen much girls' rugby before. It was particularly good to see new teams like Wasps, Hellesdon High School and Romford learn and improve game by game - all three of them had won at least one game by the end of the day, and two went home with trophies.

Basildon were worthy winners in the U17s, especially after a pulsating semi-final against Welwyn (revenge, perhaps, for their defeat at the Rochford 10s festival in October), and the final placings are probably an accurate reflection of where the strength of East (and East Midlands) girls' rugby has been this season.

In the U14s the clear favourites won - and who would bet against Welwyn's juniors taking the national title as well in two weeks times? Elsewhere the U14 competition was far probably closer than the U17s - Saracens winning Pool C on tries scored, and Westcliff pipping Basildon to Pool B by a single bonus point.

For most of you your season is now complete and you can put your feet up . As you do, spare a thought for the poor saps from Basildon, Welwyn (U14s and U17s) and Letchworth (U17s) who will still be fighting the good fight for two more weeks. Yes, these gluttons for punishment are going to do it all again in two weeks time - at the Nationals. And after today's experience, who would bet against an East region name being on the trophies!

Any feedback would be very welcome. Seriously. Suggestions for improvements, what went well (how useful was this blog?), what didn't, etc. would be very welcome.

And so it ends. For this year. The host for next year's Herts Sevens has yet to be decided (or even discussed) yet, but hopefully we'll see you all back in the county for that. In between times there's the Rochford 10s Festival on 22nd October (not the 29th, as the programme suggested) to look forward to - definately not to be missed. See you there!!

Finally... this is where this blog closes down - hopefully to be revive next year. I was tempted to talk about little white dots fading on the screen, but its a sign of age I guess for anyone to understand what I might mean. Anyway, I will now be transferring business to a new blog - - to give a similar news and comment service on the girls county scene in Hertfordshire. If you'd care to join me there you'd be very welcome.

And in the meanwhile, why not start your own blog? Its not just a management tool (though its a useful one) but it can be fun as well. Lets have some English girls rugby blogs out there - why should (the otherwise excellent, but still very American whatever you say, Blondie!) Saturday's a Rugby Day have all the fun?

[PS - don't forget to check out the tournament phots on Expect them to start appearing from the middle of the week - and keep going back as new photos will be added as they are processed. RugbyMatters also do a very fast and effective turnround time on prints - so get your orders in as well.]

[PPS - Anglia TV's report on the day went out at around 6.20pm on Sunday - which we were doing the presentations. I am trying to get a copy of the recording and will post it on here shudl I manage to do so].

Friday, May 12, 2006

U14 competition: Important changes

Unfortunately Kibworth and Holt & West Norfok have had to withdraw from the U14 event.

As a result Pools B and D will now merge to form a single, four-team group consisting of Basildon, Becket Blues, Letchworth, and Westcliff. All of these teams existing matches will still take place at the same time as previously arranged, but each team will now have one extra game. The games in this new, enlarged, Pool B will be:

11:30 - Letchworth v Becket Blues (Pitch 2) and Basildon v Westcliff (Pitch 3)
12:10 - Becket Blues v Westcliff (Pitch 2) and Basildon v Letchworth (Pitch 3)
12:30 - Letchworth v Westcliff (Pitch 2) and Basildon v Becket Blues (Pitch 3)

There will also be changes to the timings and structure of the knock out stages:

Cup Competition
  • The top two teams from the enlarged Pool B will be joined by the winners of Pools A and C
  • The semi finals, will now be at 14:10 instead of 14:30
  • The 3rd place play-off will now be at 14:50
  • The final will be at 15:30

Plate Competition

  • The plate competition will now be decided by a three team group consisting of the runners up from Pools A and C and the third placed side from Pool B
  • Matches will be played on Pitch 2 at 13:50, 14:30, and 15:10

Bowl Competition

  • The bowl competition will also now be decided by a three team group consisting of the third placed sides from Pools A and C and the fourth placed side from Pool B
  • Matches will be played on Pitch 3 at 13:50, 14:30, and 15:10

All of these amendments have now been incorporated into the tournament plans and accessible through the links in the column on the right.

Smile for the cameras!

Anglia television have just said that they will be sending a film crew to Herts Sevens on Sunday!

The reporter is due to arrive some time in the morning, presumably with the aim of including a report in the afternoon's regional news slot - so set those videos now!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

80 hours to kick off. "Light rain" forecast, so don't forget the sun block!

The programmes are now printed and stowed the clubhouse, car parking signs are done, pitch markings are begining to appear, pitch marshalls are appointed and allocated, 464's water has arrived, we've got some brand new balls... and Letchworth's girls survived the final training session with no serious injuries.

What more is there? Well, the final planning meeting is tomorrow evening so we'll see. Should we hire portaloos and will anyone use them if we do was the burning question of the moment last time...

Only problem is that the promised rain has failed to arrive. The promising downpours of Monday has all but dried up now, and the torrential rain and storms of today turned into baking heat. So this evening the ground was pretty solid again.

I mean what do these forecasters do - toss coins? Pull random words from a bag? Might as well, frankly.

For what its worth the BBC weather centre says no rain now until Sunday, and then light rain on the day. So expect a heatwave...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Paviors to the rescue: Notts team to replace Stevenage in Pool B

Stevenage Swifts have had to withdraw from the U17 Sevens due to injuries, but a replacement team have been found - Paviors - who will now play in Pool B.

Paviors come from Arnold in Nottinghamshire, which is just north of the city of Nottingham. They would appear to be a useful side as well, having reach the semi-final stages of the National Cup.

Because they are coming from slightly further away than Stevenage they have asked if their first game can be put back. So the first games in Pools B and C of the U17 competition will now be:

10.30: Hertford vs Rochford Hundred (Pitch 4) (Referee: Saracens)
10.50: Paviors vs Milton Keynes (Pitch 4) (Referee: Basildon 2)

All other games are unaffected.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The world's most complicated rugby tournament?

No - not this one.

I happened to glance at the format of the forthcoming Women's Rugby World Cup (to be held in Canada in September). I noticed that in the 12 team event England had been drawn in the same group as Australia and Ireland, which means (obviously) that in their pool games they will play... the USA, South Africa, and France.


No - that's the way it works. And then somehow - magically - after playing games against teams not in the same group as them, all the teams in the competition will be ranked 1-12 (how?) and will then play semi finals and finals.

I can't help thinking that if I'd come up with a structure like this for our tournament (and the U14s have 12 teams...) I've been lynched. And justifiably too!

Anyone wishing to try to get their mind round this is welcome to visit

IRB adds Women to World Cup 7s in 2009

A little international news, but by the time 2009 comes around a few of the girls at the Sevens on Sunday might be in the running for this. To quote from near the end the IRB's volunminous press release...

"To highlight the growth of Sevens, one of the of the key recommendations of the IRB Strategic Plan for Women's Rugby developed last year was the introduction of a Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens with the aim of providing an elite level of women's Sevens tournament which will raise the profile of the Women's Game on a global scale. It is the first time that there has been a major focus on the Women's Game and the introduction of an integrated tournament is not just an exciting development for Women's rugby, but also Rugby Sevens," Said IRB chair Dr Syd Millar.

"The Strategic Plan for Women's Rugby is designed to increase the competitiveness and profile of Women's Rugby on a global scale through a number of high performance, management and tournament initiatives, and the introduction of an integrated Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament is a key initiative," explained IRB Council Member with responsibility for Women's Rugby Chris Le Fevre.

"The IRB believes that an integrated Rugby World Cup Sevens, allied to the ever increasing number of participating Unions and healthy attendance and broadcast figures, further re-enforce Rugby Sevens' strong case for introduction into the Olympic Games sporting programme," added Dr Millar."

(Far be it for me to be slightly uncharitable here, but does that last paragraph maybe explain the IRB's suddenly seeing the light?) .

Anyway - more here - Saturday's a rugby day

Six days to go - the countdown begins...

Pretty much everything now in place.


If you are planning to travel in anything that will require a larger parking bay than a standard car, please let us know as soon as possible.

Weather forecast

Forecasts are for quite a lot of of rain in Letchworth over the next few days - even flash floods in some parts of the county (not a problem for us as the ground itself is near the top of a hill). This will hopefully soften the ground up a bit.

The long range forecast for Sunday itself is occasional showers.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Getting ready for sevens

Sevens is a very different sort of game, requiring its own special preparation. However, although there are any number of coaching resources out there for the 15-a-side game, resources aimed at Sevens are remarkably few and far between.

The following two are amongst the most comprehensive availble, and also have the benefits of being available free...

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Taking the next step starts at Herts Sevens

For many girls Herts Sevens 2006 will be their final appearence in junior rugby. With no change to the age bands for next season, any girls who are, or will be, 17 on or before 1st September will, in most cases, be moving on into adult rugby.

To help the girls who are facing this big step, representatives from four of the region's women's teams will be at Herts Sevens this season. Players from Hertford Ladies, Millwall Venus, Old Albanians and Tabard will be on hand throughout the day to meet players, offer advice, discuss what its like in the adult game, and also offer playing tips and suggestions.

The four clubs represent all levels of the adult game, from newly established teams such as Tabard, to well established premiership teams like OAs.

Its should be a great opportunity for all the players at the festival to learn more about the women's game so, if you are a coach, please make the club reps feel welcome and encourage your girls to find time to have a chat with them.

The main aim is to demystify the adult game, so that girls - especialy from clubs that lack women's teams - feel more confident about moving onward and upwards into adult rugby.

Sponsor to provide free tournament programmes for all

Just two weeks to go - and the programme for this year's festival has finally been completed and sent to the printers.

And the good news is (as well as being, hopefully, both an interesting and useful publication) - thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation - all copies will be available free to all spectators and supporters. So collect as many copies as you need when you arrive!

464 water, who are also suporting the festival, will also be providing bottled water for the players - remember to collect your supply at registration.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Parking and travel arrangements

If you haven't visited Letchworth RFC before, the ground is behind the North Hertfordshire Leisure Centre on the B656 (formerly the A505) between Baldock and Letchworth.

Note that the road numbers have recently changed following the opening of the Baldock by-pass.

If travelling from the east it is quicker to exit the A505 before you get to Letchworth and go through Baldock than follow the by-pass.

If you are using the A1 then leave at Junction 9, and follow the signs for the B656 and the leisure centre.

Parking at the ground will limited, so we have arranged for you to be able to use the car park of the Hertfordshire Careers Service, situated on the opposite side of the B656 from the Leisure Centre (marked with a "P" on the map above).

Registration will be from 9.30 -10.15. If possible you are encouraged to submit team lists by email ( before day in order to speed arrangements. A registration form can be downloaded by clicking here.

If you are travelling from a significant distance, and your first game is not until 11.30 or later, then you may delay your arrival until 45 minutes before your first game. However, you must still telephone or text 07767 615274 between 9.30 and 10.15 to confirm that you are on your way.

Changing rooms will be open and available, but there will obviously not be enough rooms for all teams to change at the same time! Teams should either arrive ready to play, or give themselves plenty of time to change. Showers will also be available on the same basis.

Changing rooms will be shared and no clothing or equipment should be left unattended in any changing room - Letchworth GC RFC will not be responsble for any losses resulting from unattended belongings.

The changing room and shower areas will be open only to players and female coaching staff throughout the day.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

RFUW issue insurance guidance

The RFUW have published detailed guidance on insurance for players and clubs - see here.

It reminds clubs and players that to be adequately insured anybody playing rugby must:

  • Become a member of an RFUW affiliated club
  • Become a Registered RFUW Player and / or
  • Become a member of an affiliated county squad and / or
  • Become a member of an affiliated RFUW Regional Squad.

It also states that:

  • Clubs must be affiliated to the RFUW.
  • Women’s / girls teams should ensure the Club Secretary is aware of their teams existence.
  • The Club secretary must then include all women and girls teams on the Club Insurance Form.

New teams - in particular those conected with men's clubs - are often incorrectly informed that their club's RFU affiliation and insurance covers girls' and women's teams. This is not the case as the RFU is not reponsible for girls' and women's rugby players or teams after the age of 12. This document sets out in detail what is required by the RFUW and its insurers.

It is in everyone's interests that all teams attending this year's Hertfordshire Sevens meet these requirements - so please take a moment to check that your team is covered.

Did you go to an England international this season?

The RFUW are asking for feedback from anyone who attended either of this season's Six Nations internationals at Old Albanians in St Albans, Herts.

This was the first year that England had played its Six Nations games at the ground.

Susan Allen at RFUW is asking specifically whether or not the venue as:


and has also published a more detailed questionnaire on the RFUW website (click here).

If you did got to one of the games please take a few moments to answer Susan's enquiries.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Referee changes

Unfortunately John from Bishop's Stortford will not now be able to referee on the 14th some amendments have had to be made to the referees' timetable.

All of the existing times published for everyone will stay the same, but some referees will be taking on an extra game. The extra assignments are:

11:30 Welwyn to referee Basildon v Kibworth (U14)
11:50 Letchworth 1 to referee Milton Keynes v Basildon (U17)
12:30 Hertford to referee Rochford v Hellesdon (U14)
12:50 Letchworth 3 to referee Basildon v Holt (U14)

And in the knockout stages (subject to change, depending on how the pools go, obviously):

14:10 Letchworth 4 to referee plate C2/D2 semi-final (U14)
15:30 Saracens to referee A2/B2 plate semi-final (U17)
16:10 Basildon 1 to referee shield final (U17)

Some of the "rules" have been stretched a bit here - Welwyn will now be refereeing in the slot before a Welwyn game, and Letchworth 1 will have three games running, but that is unavoidable. If this does cause any problems please get back to me as soon as possible as this has to be finalised by the middle of next week so that the amendments can be included in the tournament programme

Monday, April 17, 2006

Still spaces at National Sevens

Why end your season on the 14th? There are still places at the National Sevens in Harpenden on Monday 29th May. Thus far only two clubs from Herts Sevens will be going to the Nationals - Welwyn and Letchworth (and the latter only in the U17s).

With less than a week to go there are still five places waiting to be filled in the U17 competition, and nine in the U14s.

Its a great opportunity to play against clubs you'd never normally get a chance to meet - clubs like Worcester, Morpeth, and Petersfield - so if your already practicing for one event, why not make the most of it. More information by clicking here.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

U14 competition: provisions in case of a withdrawl

Hopefully this will not happen, but if a team withdraws from the U14 competition it obviously has the potential to cause significant problems as it would leave us with 11 teams and a poll with only two teams in it.

One option would be to redraw the competition with two pools of four and one of three, but this would result in significant disruption and confusion that could easily spill over and affect the U17 event.

So - in the event of a withdrawl - the following will happen:
  • All matches unaffected by the withdrawl will proceed as planned
  • Two teams (the "extra" teams) will be selected at random to play an extra match against one or other of the teams in the affected pool (the "affected" teams).
  • In these matches the "affected" teams will be competing for competition points as normal
  • The "extra" teams will not gain competition points from these games, but will be eligible for the "good sportmanship" bonus point (see competition rules)
  • It is possible that an "extra" team might have to play consecutive games. However, there is some leeway built into the timings which means that we should be able to ensure a 5-10 minute gap between matches if this happens.
  • The bowl would be decided by a three team pool, with matches taking place at 13:30, 14:10, and 14:50.
  • The plate semi-finals would move forward to 13:50.

Why would the "extra" teams not get competition points in these games?

It would theoretically be possible to award competition points, and then average out a teams points gained from their three games, but in practice this would add a degree of complexity (not to mention fractions of a point) to littel purpose as it would be unlikely to change any final pool positions. And if it DID change positions it would seem unfair - ie. a team might win both its pool games but not win the pool. The "good sportsmanship" bonus would seem to be sufficient.

Why would the "extra" teams want to take part in the games, in that case?

Primarily because most of the girls will be at the event to play as much rugby as possible. Also they do get a bonus point.

The "affected" teams would not be playing the same opponents?

True, but unavoidable. There is a limit to how even handed you can be, the teams will be selected at random, and in practice the game between the two "affected" teams will probably prove decisive anyway.

If more than one team withdraws?

Things become much easier, in fact. Two of the three team groups would be unaffected, and a four team group created from the remainder. Such an arrangement would also result in exactly the same number of games so the semi finals could proceed as planned.

What about the U17 competition?

If a teams withdraws from the U17s the group affected would play on as a three team group, with each team playing the other twice.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hertfordshire U17s win inter-county sevens

Last Sunday (9th April) Hertfordshire took part in an inter-county sevens tournament in Wimbledon, organised by Surrey RFU. With regional players away it was an opportunity for girls from the rest of the squad to take centre stage, which they did to great effect.

The U14 team finished runner-up to Surrey - but a sizable propotion of Surrey's points actually came from Herts girls (Jess Robinson in particular) who had been lent to them - so a moral victory there, perhaps.

In the U17s a Hertfordshire team composed of girls from Letchworth, Saracens, and Bishop's Stortford first beat Surrey 15-5 before taking on "Bedfordshire" (effectively Ampthill with a couple of Surrey girls), who also beaten Surrey (19-15).

At this point its worth metioning that earlier in the year Ampthill U17shad visited Letchworth. The game was a remarkable battle with which went well into the second half before ending early, owing to an injury, with the score at 0-0.

With girls from the two clubs making up two thirds of the players on the field another close game was expected - but after a remarkable battle which went well into the second half, the game ended early, owing to an injury, with the score at 0-0...

Herts were therefore declared winners of the competition as, with equal tournament points and an identical try count, they had conceeded the fewest tries.

(Its worth saying that the Letchworth and Ampthill get on very well off off the field. The "problem" may be that, in terms of strengths, weaknesses, playing style and everything else (even the colours!) the teams are remarkably similar. Its unfortunate that Ampthill can't make it to Herts Sevens as we might have broken the deadlock...)

Code of conduct

As mentioned in, and as an addenda to, the tournament rules the following code of conduct will apply:

To ensure that everyone has an enjoyable and rewarding day, players, officials and spectators are asked to follow the following code:

Players, officials and spectators…

  • Will not argue with referees, or other match or tournament officials
  • Will not use foul or abusive language
  • Will not smoke – particularly in enclosed areas
  • Will use any rubbish bins provided
In addition players…
  • Will not deliberately hurt or threaten any other player in any way, on or off of the pitch
  • Will not take anything that does not belongs to them
  • Will be helpful to the officials

Monday, April 10, 2006

Competition rules

Playing conditions

Games shall be played according the standard laws of rugby union, incorporating IRB amendments relating to Sevens rugby and age group rules adopted by the RFUW.

In particular teams should note that:

  • Conversions shall be taken by means of a drop kick
  • After a score, the team scoring shall restart
  • All matches shall be seven minutes each way - and may be reduced in length on safety grounds at the discretion of the referee (ie. if teams are significantly mis-matched, or if the risk to injury is increased due to player fatigue).

IMPORTANT NOTE: All referee decisions shall be final and cannot subsequently be changed. If an error is made by any match official over any rule, law or actuality, or the interpretation of any rule or law, then the game shall continue as if the error had not been made and any score, or subsequent score, shall stand. No attempt should be made to deliberately “correct” an error by any person either later in the game or afterwards, and no appeals will be entered into on such matters after a game.

Other tournament rules

  • While squads may be of any size, they will be assumed to contain ten players. There will only be sufficient programmes, etc. - and winners’ medals! - for that number.
  • In pool games, four points shall be awarded to a winning team, and two points each if the game is drawn. A try scoring bonus point will be awarded to any team scoring four or more tries in a game, and a losing bonus point to any team losing by seven points or less.
  • The organisers may, at their discretion, award a bonus point to reward examples of good sportsmanship, such as the lending of players to other teams to cover injury (provided they are not from the same club).
  • The organisers also reserve the right to deduct competition or match points for breaches of the Code of Conduct or other poor sportsmanship by players or club officials if reported by referees or other tournament officials.
  • Pool ranking shall be decided on the basis of (in order) a) competition points; b) results between the team/s tied on points; c) most tries scored; d) fewest tries conceded; e) points difference. If teams are still level then places shall be decided by a kicking competition (see below).
  • Knock-out games tied at the end of normal time shall continue with one period of two minutes sudden-death (first to score wins) overtime with teams defending the end they were defending at the end of normal time. If teams are still level then the game shall be decided by a kicking competition (see below).
  • Kicking competition. Each player finishing the game (or seven nominated players in the case of pool placings) shall take a drop kick at goal from any point on the field. Players from each team will kick alternately. All players other than the kicker shall stand behind the 22. The competition will continue until (after the same number of kicks have been
    taken by each) one team has scored more goals than the other.
  • The organisers’ decisions on the interpretation of these rules, or on any other relevant matters not covered by these rules, shall be final.


If an on-field injury delays play for more than five minutes the game shall be abandoned and the score at the time of the abandonment shall stand.

If the injury delays the start of any subsequent matches then – if practical – in the U17 competition a half sized pitch shall be marked out and play shall continue on that pitch until the injury is treated. If that is not possible – or if the injury happens in a U14 game – subsequent matches shall transfer to the other pitch. Games will then run for five minutes each way
until the injury is treated and cleared.


Teams may make up to two tactical substitutions in each game, but may make more than two if any subsequent replacement is required owing to injury.

Replacements should – in the first instance - come from the team’s own squad. However, if this is not possible - and the replacement is required owing to injury - then teams may “borrow” players from any other squad regardless of whether the “borrowed” player has played before in the competition, or intends to play again.

Teams are encouraged to lend players if requested - but when lending a player coaches should ensue that they do not breach the IRB rule limiting players to 90 on-field minutes in any one-day tournament.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Referees' schedule published

To make things easier for match officials, a referees' schedule has now been published, listing the games each official will be asked to cover. It can be found here or through the link on the right.

As the tournament will be covered by the Rugby Matters photographic agency we want to make the best visual impression as possible and will be providing shirts for referees to use when officiating. If possible it is requested that referees also wear bring black or dark shorts and socks.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Tournament timetable now finalised

Thank you for your comments and corrections to the draft issued at the beginning of the week. These have been incorporated and a final version is now available (see the links bar on the right).

There were no major changes to any match times - mainly just some referee appointment clashes and a change to the U17 semi-final draw to ensure that teams from the same club did not meet before any final.

As well as the complete plan, separate tournament diagrams for each event have been drawn up in Word format which you may find easier to print out and edit for you own needs.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Draft match timetable now published


The programme publisher is requesting something approaching a final text by Friday (because Easter gets in the way). As they - the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation - are doing the whole thing for us nothing (design and print) I am not inclined to quibble too much, so please could I have any responses by tomorrow or Thursday. Sorry if that is very short notice.

It has to be said, incidentally, that putting this together makes the average Sudoku puzzle look total child's play - indeed it reminded me of trying to solve a Rubic's Cube. Minor changes have major knock-on consequences, so if you want to make changes you'd better have a damn good reasons ready!

Principles behind the timetable
  1. Teams travelling the significant distances start their programme later - and visa versa. (Generally I think this has been achieved within the limitations of the actual draw).
  2. No team plays back-to-back matches

Referee timetable

This is where things get fiendishly complex. Basically to try to be as fair as possible I have work on the principles that no referee will referee....

  1. Teams from their own club (this has been achieved)
  2. A game at the same time as their club is playing (this has been achieved, expect for Letchworth, Basildon, and Thomas Becket who are either providing two referees - each of which I have "linked" with either their U14 or U17 teams - or have two U17 teams, so there aren't enough spaces)
  3. A game immediately before their club is due to play (so that they can be involved in coaching and preparation) (there are some exceptions, but this has worked out in about 90% of cases)
  4. A game immediately after their club is due to play (so that they can provide feedback, etc.) (much more difficult this, but in most cases this has worked)

I've also tried to share out games as evenly as possible - generally each referee has been given 4-5 pool games.

There are also indicative appointments for the later stages - roughly based on seedings - but I expect these will be subject to significant change dependent on results.

I'll produce more individualised timetables later.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Under 17 competition: draw

The following is the draw for the Under 17 competition at Hertfordshire Sevens 2006, as conducted by girls from Bishop's Stortford RFC at Bishop's Stortford on Sunday 2nd April 2006.

Becket Barbarians
Uttlesford Hunters
Welwyn Warriors

Milton Keynes
Romford & Gildea Park
Stevenage Swifts

Holt & West Norfolk
Rochford Hundred

Becket Belles
Letchworth Legends

The winners of each group will proceed to the Cup semi-finals, runners up will go on to Plate semi-finals, third placed sides will play in the Bowl semi-finals, and fourth places sides take part in the Shield semi-finals. There will then follow the four finals. It is not planned to have play-off games for defeated semi-finalists in the Under 17 competition.

The full match schedule will be published nearer the event.

*NOTE* Due to the number of entries the competition will now start an hour earlier than planned. If that is a problem for any teams travelling a significant distance, please let me know so that your schedule can be adjusted accordingly.

Under 14 competition: draw

The following is the draw for the Under 14 competition at Hertfordshire Sevens 2006, as conducted by girls from Bishop's Stortford RFC at Bishop's Stortford on Sunday 2nd April 2006.

Hellesdon High School, Norwich
Rochford Hundred
Welwyn Warriors

Holt & West Norfolk

Milton Keynes
Uttlesford Daggers

Becket Blues

The winners of each group will proceed to the Cup semi-finals, runners up will go on to Plate semi-finals, and third placed sides will play in the Bowl semi-finals. There will then follow the three finals and three play-off games for defeated semi-finalists, thus giving four games for each team.

The full match schedule will be published nearer the event. .

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Entries closed. Definitely and finally!

Entries for Herts Sevens 2006 are now finally closed.

Thanks to everyone who has entered - it looks a fascinating line-up.

The U17 competition will feature 16 teams, divided into four groups of four, while the U14 event will have 12 teams in four groups of three. Just about every club in East Region be represented in one way or another, in addition to teams from three other regions as well - see the list on the right for details

The draw will take place at Bishop's Stortford RFC on tomorrow. We (Letchworth) happen to be there and - as Stortford are not able to enter a team this year due to other commitments - they will be ideal independent witnesses.

The policies outlined last week will be followed, and all teams will play at least four games.

The schedule of matches and general timetable of events will follow later, though it is expected that competition will start earlier than originally planned due to the size of the entry. If that causes any problems for any teams please let me know and we will try to arrange for you matches to begin at more suitable times.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Entries reopened... until Friday

As is the way of things, the moment entries close we find several clubs have missed out, due (it has to be said) to no fault of theirs. So entries will remain open until this Friday (31st March).

This benefits the U14 competition in particular as Milton Keynes; Thomas Becket (Northampton); Kibworth (Leics.); and Newbold would bring things up to the planned 12. The former two may also enter the U17s.

In terms of teams entered this would make Herts 7s possibly the biggest girls rugby tournament East Region has ever had, an honour it will hold for all of two weeks (32 teams being expected at this year's nationals, to be held in Harpenden).

Still, not bad considering two years ago the girls' county festival was a tag rugby event featuring only about 8 or 10 teams!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Rules for Herts Girls Sevens 2006

Herts 7s will be played to the same rules as used in the RFUW National Sevens - ie. IRB Sevens rules and regulations (taking particular note of those that apply to junior age groups), with appropriate RFUW amendments.

In designing the competition the following principles have applied:

  • No player to play more than 90 minutes (IRB rule)
  • No "dead rubbers" - every match to have some importance
  • Clubs to be given as much opportunity as possible to play teams that they would not normally meet (so, in the opening pools of both competitions, the aim is to ensure that no two teams from the same county, or failing that the same locality within a county, will be drawn together).
  • The best teams in the competition will contest the final (so there will be some seeding, based on previous festivals this season, to ensure that the strongest sides are kept apart in the opening phase).

Guesting for other sides

If, due to illness or injury, a team is short of players they will be allowed - with the agreement of the organisers - to borrow players from other sides, even if those players have already played for other teams, and continue to do so - provided that no girl may play in more than six matches in total.

Under no circumstances will such "guesting" be allowed for tactical reasons. Teams attempting to undertake such action will risk forfeiting any matches affected.

The draw

It is intended that draw will be announced early next week (once the final make-up of teams is known).

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Holt & West Norfolk complete U17 entry

Holt and West Norfolk are entering combined sides in both the U14 and U17 competitions.

The clubs - who often combine for fixtures - will be making their debuts at Herts 7s, and bring the number of entries in the U17 competition up to the planned 12.

In the U14 competition - with just over a day to go - there are now nine entries.

With 21 teams taking part Herts 2006 will be nearly twice of the previous edition - amply demonstrating the dramartic growth in girls rugby in the East region. Anyone care to forecast how many will enter Herts 2007?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Deadline brings rush of entries

Well, that and seeing everyone at the international and regional games over the weeknd.

Three more clubs - Westcliff (U14s & U17s), Daventry (U14s & U17s) , and Stevenage (U17s) - have said that they will be entering Herts 7s. In addition Saracens will also be provding some U17s who can help build a "Nomads" team (we'll try to think of a better name later).

On the other hand Bishop's Stortford may not be able to make it (or at least with a full team), but all in all means this means that at least 10-12 teams are now expected in the U17s, and 8-10 in the U14s.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Two more big names announce entries for Herts 7s

Two more of the biggest names in the girls' rugby in the East Region have announced their entries for Herts 2006.

Hertford - traditionally one of the biggest names in Hertfordshire rugby - have announced their intention to enter the U17 competition. Hertford Girls is one of the oldest girls teams in the county and is packed with experience.

Meanwhile - from over the border - Basildon become the third Essex side to enter the fray. Perhaps the major name in Essex - and East Region - girls' rugby in recent years, Basildon are entering at both age groups. The club's U17s were runners up at Rochford 10s at the start of the season - can they go one better at the end?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Two more entries for Herts Sevens

The hosts of the region's premier girls 10s tournament have confirmed that they will be at Herts 2006.

Rochford Hundreds' popular 10s takes place every October, and its an event that certainly the girls at Letchworth enjoy as they recently voted it the "best day's rugby of the season". We can only hope that Herts Sevens can match that success!

It's also great to see Bishop's Stortford in the tournament. Recently revived by a new coach they played their first fixture of the season - at Letchworth - only yesterday, where they performed well against a much stronger and more experienced Letchworth & Sudbury combination. With a few more weeks to prepare, and a fast back line, Stortford will difficult opponents in the Sevens..

Friday, March 10, 2006

Sarries grab first "referees go free" spot

Within minutes of the announcements of the "bring a referee and play for free" scheme we have had our first taker - Saracens.

So that's only seven more "free" places - don't delay!

Saracens' coach Simon Shutler will now referee at the festival - and as a result his U14 girls will be taking part - free, gratis, and for nothing.

It was Simon who coached the victorious U14 Barbarians side at last year's Sevens - a team largely based on Saracens' and Welwyn's U14 team. With both of these teams now entered the U14 competition becomes even more interesting - which one of last year's partners will win the title. Or will it go to someone else?

Limited offer: Bring a ref, play for free!

The usual problem of getting officials for girls rugby events continues, so to spark a bit of interest here is a great opportunity...

Provide a referee for Herts Sevens, and enter your clubs teams free!

That's right - no entry fees for those that bring referees.

Obviously you will not be able to ref your own team, and ideally not games in your own team's group, but we will try to arrange your refereeing duties around your teams games so that when your team are playing on one pitch you are not ref-ing on another (nothing guaranteed, mind!).

We need up to eight refs (thus allowing you every other game off) - so its a limited offer. Strictly first come, first served!

PS: We also have provision to pay referees, if that would be preferred!