STRATFORD Ladies have enjoyed their most successful summer training period since the touch rugby section began in 2012.
They have, in the past, taken the summer off and only offered training to those who want to/can but this year they have trained consistently on Tuesdays throughout August, as well as offering fitness training on Thursday evenings.
Numbers at training have been reflected in the ability to play full six-a-side matches in most of the training sessions and four new recruits have joined the squad.
September 9 not only involved the return from the summer break for the Midlands Ladies Touch League with a Super Sunday at Redditch, but also the first training session at Stratford for the newly-formed girls’ section.
Seventeen girls aged between nine and 14 joined coach Wendy Robinson for the inaugural non-contact training session, with more to join in the coming weeks.
At Redditch, despite having had eight weeks off, the ten-strong squad played their best first round match all season.
They may have lost 3-1 to Pershore, but played with consistency and structured play rather than panicking. The try for Stratford came for Rachel Browne after some fantastic team handling skills.
Conversely, they let the panic return in the second match against Wellesbourne, which was lost 3-0. Some of the structure was lost and the team let some controversial refereeing decisions affect their focus.
The play-off section of the day saw Stratford face Ledbury and Ross. Ledbury had beaten Stratford in the last two encounters and Stratford fought hard and held them to a 0-0 draw.
Ross was a similar match and this game also finished without any scores as Stratford held on to possession consistently for the full six phases but struggled to convert attack into points.
These results put the team in eighth place on the day. As Super Sundays have no bearing on league positions and are standalone events, a good measure of success is not in the standings on the day but the performances against previous opponents and against their own targets.
Stratford’s player of the tournament was Becki Coombe who showed fantastic improvement in her workrate and decision-making. As a contact rugby player as well, the approach and tactics of the game differ and she is proving to be a great asset to the touch version.
This Sunday brings the last league tournament at Wellesbourne and the final competition of the year is a Super Sunday at Kidderminster on October 7.
Ladies training continues on Tuesdays from 7pm and fitness training on Thursdays at 7pm. Girls’ (U9-U14) training is on Sundays from 11am. All training is at Stratford RFC.