Lucy Eastwood - St Josephs Girls and England U16s Squad
Donna Simons – Secretary – Meltham All Blacks
Gail Doughty – Girls Manager – St Josephs Sharks
Carly Yeaman – Huddersfield Ladies Captain / Manager
Beth Neilson – Local Player and Referee
Tracy Sharp – Huddersfield Giants Community Club Ambassador & Mums in League - Meltham All Blacks
Rachael Hardaker – Huddersfield Giants Community Club Ambassador – Moldgreen
Verity Bright – Touch Rugby Player
Zoe Prince - Huddersfield Giants Cheerleading Co-ordinator
I have been watching the game of rugby league since I could walk and I always went to go watch local community club St Josephs open age with my sister and my dad. This inspired me and I decided I wanted to play too. I first started when I was 11 years old in a girls team which meant I never had experience of playing in a team with boys. My biggest inspiration has been my Dad. He has always watched and played the game himself so I went to support him when he played and when he "hung up his boots" we still came and watched. He always tried to look for a girls team but was never really successful until we found Huddersfield Sharks at Deighton with 5 girls playing in an Under 11 team so, we made a team from that.
I currently still play at Fartown for the Huddersfield St Josephs girls team. We have teams at age groups U12s, U14s and U16s and we have built from an initial 5 girls to over 35 girls. I love being involved in Rugby League it gives me an adrenaline rush before I go out to play a match. Rugby League is such a sociable sport, I like how I have met a lot new people from different girls rugby league clubs from across West Yorkshire like Castleford, Farnely and Brighouse.
At the moment I am playing club level but in the recent past I have represented West Yorkshire and Yorkshire. I recently went to an Under 16 International Assessment Day where over 60 girls from across the country attended. From here I was selected as one of 25 for an U16 England Development Programme. This involved a 6 week programme to improve our skills and character which was a fantastic experience.
I hope to progress well into the Women’s game once I turn 16 years old and go on to hopefully the England Women’s squad and play abroad one day. It would be fantastic if a lot more girls gave rugby league a try.
I first became involved in Rugby League in 2003 when my 9 year old son started playing for Meltham All Blacks – Juniors. Since 2003 I have held a variety of roles within the club, ranging from producing newsletters/posters, taxi-ing to forming a new role as Club Administrator. I helped the club reach Club Mark Status (the national Sport England award that recognises and values the commitment made by sports clubs to develop high quality, welcoming environments for young participants). Since 2007 I took on the role of Club Secretary and juggled a part time job, being a single parent and my rugby commitments.
At present I am also on the West Riding League committee – as Huddersfield Registration Secretary and I started attending RFL Youth and Junior Forums (now the Youth and Junior Management Group) on behalf of the WR League.
We are a very proactive club and have had some noticeable achievements including the launch of a girls section, being the first club in Kirklees to achieve Clubmark Gold Status and numerous playing accolades with many of our juniors being selected to join professional club scholarship programmes.
Why? Because Rugby League – in all it’s forms (Full Contact, Touch, Modified for Young Children, Girls, Masters, Tag, Wheelchair) is a fantastic all-inclusive sport, more social than many others. I got involved for my children to have somewhere to go and play, and I continue to be involved even now my children are either grown or no longer playing, to ensure that there is the facility for anyone who wants to play. I love it because of the enjoyment the children who play it get! Who knows my soon to arrive grand-daughter could be playing in another few years.
My proudest moment was when my son decided to give something back and started volunteering and coaching at the club.
I initially had a brief interest in rugby league many years ago, however it wasn’t until I was watching rugby league on Sky Sports one evening that this took on a whole new meaning! Listening to Eddie and Stevo commentating on a live game they called upon the local public to really get behind our local side, Huddersfield Giants. From that point on my family and I have avidly followed the Giants!
My son went on to play for our local community team, Huddersfield St Josephs Sharks and inevitably my daughter developed an interest and we began a girl’s team so she could play, initially with only 5 players. We are now 2 ½ years on and have over 26 girls registered with teams at U12s, U14s and U16s.
As the Manager of the girls section at St Josephs Sharks I arrange fixtures, I am a regular point of contact for the girls and their parents and generally organise our activities from playing friendlies, league matches, festivals and our fund raising activities.
We have had some fantastic achievements in our 2 ½ year existence. Most noticeably we have the Yorkshire Regional U12s Player of Year, Eleanor Broadley and also Yorkshire Regional U14s Player of Year, Jenny Doughty (my daughter!) in our squads. Last season we also achieved the Yorkshire U14s Team of the Year 2011 Honour in recognition for our development on and off the field. Our head coach, Steve Eastwood also received the honour of Kirklees Coach of the Year for 2011.
As a sport Rugby League is a great leveller. It is an inclusive team sport that no matter of anyone’s background everyone is valued exactly the same. I have witnessed my daughter develop her confidence and leadership qualities throughout her teenage years which is simply down to her involvement in rugby league. I love to travel to other clubs and meet other people. We have a fantastic social side to the club at Huddersfield St Josephs Sharks and I enjoy laughing with the parents, the players and with Steve, our head coach. As long as I continue to feel valued, useful and needed I will continue to help progress the girls section and provide more and more girls with an opportunity and place to play this fantastic sport.
I currently play Rugby League for Huddersfield Ladies and also manage the team. I first played rugby when I was 17 for local club Lindley Swifts, I had never played before and got asked if I would like to try it. I really enjoyed it and went on to play at various other clubs.
A couple of friends and I decided we would set up our own team. We are now into our 4th year as Huddersfield Ladies and all the team are really close and spend time together off the pitch as well as on it! This year we have had made some outstanding developments over the last four years including a fantastic tour to Russia to play rugby league. We played against the Kazakhstan National Womens Rugby League team and various other teams from Russia!
This season we beat our local rivals Batley Ladies in the Semi Final of the Womens Rugby League Association Challenge Cup Plate and we will be playing in the Final on Easter Sunday against York Ladies at Belle Vue. This is the first time we have reached a final and in only 4 years of existence is a fantastic achievement. Unfortunately I will be unable to play due to being pregnant but I am hoping to be back in action as soon as possible. Rugby League is such a big part of my life my husband and two children also play. I absolutely love playing and would encourage any women/girls out there to give it a go – especially with us at Huddersfield Ladies!
I got involved in rugby league as a youngster when my dad took me to my first training session with Newsome Panther u9’s and loved it! I continued playing up until u11’s as after that seasoned finished could no longer continue in a boys’ team.
I got into refereeing again through my dad after I could no longer play for Newsome and passed my 13 aside course in 2005 aged 12. Since then I have been refereeing junior level rugby, women’s rugby and touch-judging a range of levels from National Conference League up to Academy level. My biggest achievement is getting to officiate in the Champion School’s finals in 2006 and 2007 at Uxbridge and then touch-judging the year 7 boy’s final in 2007 on the Wembley Pitch.
I started playing rugby again in 2008 aged 16 for Huddersfield Ladies and I have seen women’s rugby progress in the last 3 years but still think more women out there should give it a try especially now as it is running throughout Winter and Summer. I think it would be great for the game if we could get more exposure as many people don’t know about women’s rugby or the teams involved in it.
I first became involved with rugby league through my son playing and a scheme the Huddersfield Giants ran called Pride in the 7s. This was a great initiative and launched our interest in rugby league.
I was appointed the Huddersfield Giants Community Club Ambassador for Moldgreen because I wanted to help the club in anyway possible. With my work commitments the role of Ambassador was ideal for me. I really enjoy the role and I believe it really benefits all our local clubs. My son no longer plays rugby league however I am still very keen to be involved because I think rugby league is a great thing for children to be involved in. It is fantastic to meet all the other Community Club Ambassadors at the meetings and share ideas to help develop and grow our clubs.
I got involved with rugby when I was 20 years old through University of Huddersfield, and I went to a couple of Rugby Union training sessions.
During my placement year 2001-2002 I joined the Northampton Saints Ladies team and loved every minute of that season. It helped me make some friends as I didn't know too many people in the South and had a great social side to it. I played as a utility player in many positions but think this helped me progress. At the end of my first season I played for Nothampton County at 7s after I trialled which was great, but tough! On returning to Huddersfield I continued to play for the university team and made so many friends playing the sport and this was the most addictive thing about it!
As I began to miss the social side of rugby I looked into the touch rugby programme at The Zone, Huddersfield. The Wednesday evening social touch sessions at The Zone was just what I was looking for. I love the fact that at the zone there is a wide variety of ages and abilities which make it even more fun and don't think any other sports can appeal to so many. I also play for a team called Manchester Chargers which allows me to play touch at a higher more competitive level. We play tournaments on weekends throughout the spring and summer which are in various locations throughout the country.
I have recently been selected for the North West Warriors which is the womens regional team which if you wish to do so, gives you an opportunity to trial and possibly represent England at touch playing against 6 other teams in a tournament. Although there isn't much money in Touch Rugby, it is growing in popularity and great to say that you represent your region and hopefully even country (If I'm lucky) at any sport is a great achievement. A good thing for your CV! The Euros are to be held in Italy in September this year!
Without rugby of some description in my life I think I would be lost! Touch Rugby suits me great and also keeps off the pounds!!
I started Cheerleading aged 11, and with the natural link to American football I have always cheered for the local team (Chester Romans). On moving to Huddersfield the obvious starting point for me was to develop the opportunity for young women to support their local rugby league team (Huddersfield Giants). We started with one team and now have 5 teams with participants aged 3 – 33!
I am a 3 time European Cheerleading Champion, and will be competing in the Worlds Championships this year in Orlando, Florida. I have grown the Huddersfield Giants Cheerleading teams from 0 to over 100 members!
Cheerleading is the sport of smiles, and coaching it makes me smile day in day out. There is nothing more enjoyable than bringing the sport to life. I am very lucky to be where I am, and to give the opportunity to so many other young women to participate in a positive sporting activity. Rugby League is a fantastic & inclusive sport and to be able to support our local team through cheerleading is honour. We are always looking for new members of the cheer team. You can find out more details on the Huddersfield Giants Dance Zone section on www.giantsrl.com
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