Leigh hosts female touch festival
Leigh Sports Village hosted the inaugural North West Women’s Further Education & Higher Education Touch Rugby League festival on Wednesday November 17.
Over 120 female participants took to Leigh Centurions’ main stadium pitches to take part in a ten team Touch Rugby League extravaganza which was supported by England Women internationals Clare Robinson, Izzy Howard and England assistant coach Nige Johnson.
Clare Robinson said: “It was great to see so many women playing Rugby League especially with the weather.
“I was really impressed with the standard of all the teams.”
Pat Crawshaw, Chair of the RFL National Female Steering Group was on hand to give her advice and support to all participants on the day.
Pat Crawshaw said: “This was an excellent advert for Female Rugby League.
“Despite adverse weather conditions ten teams took part in the competition and congratulations should go to all the players for withstanding the cold wind and rain whilst still displaying good rugby skills.
“From beginners to those more experienced in the game it was obvious that everyone had enjoyed the afternoon and the spirit in and between the teams was self evident."
The event was to mark the start of the 2010 – 2011 Women’s educational competition framework in the North West and has so far involved the North West League for all team delivering Touch Rugby League taster sessions to over 20 colleges and universities with the aim of increasing adult participation and growing the female game.
Dan Parkinson, North West regional development officer and organiser of this event, highlighted the North West team’s female aim in 2011.
He said: “The aim of this event was to demonstrate to all female participants that Rugby League is very much an innovative and growing sport.
"Rugby League is played in many forms, contact, touch, tag, wheelchair and pan disability to name a few and we want to showcase the female game in all formats and grow our fan base in 2011.
“We are now in a position to start a Women’s educational contact league in January 2011 with colleges and universities now ready to transfer into contact rugby league.
“I would like to thank James Ditchfield, Simon Toon and Leigh Sports Village for allowing us to use the great facilities and all who attended were literally blown away by the occasion.”
Cronton sixth form took on Wigan & Leigh College under floodlights in the final of the competition and claimed an impressive victory with a 30 metre dash for the line by Tara Stanley to take the title 1 try to 0.
Deanery sixth form made it to the semi finals but were unstuck by Wigan & Leigh’s resilience and alongside Liverpool University who took Cronton sixth form into the 5th minute of golden point came so close.
Salford City College, Phillips High, University of Manchester all performed superbly in the group stages and will now get ready for March 2011 which will see the second Women’s touch rugby league festival take place.
The event was made a real success through the brilliant efforts of the touch rugby league officials, volunteers from the North West v programme, RFL staff, teachers and coaches and stadium staff that ensured the day went according to plan.
For more information on touch rugby league visit the RFL website http://www.therfl.co.uk/play/touch
For more information on Women’s Rugby League in the North West contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com