Category: Women & Girls

Enter now: Women’s County Championships

Women’s County Championships

Entries are now being taken for the Women’s County Championship and you only have nine days to get them in!

It is hoped to follow in previous year’s footsteps and provide a great day of entertaining rugby!

For more information and how to enter, check out the poster!



Billingham Rugby Club welcome England’s most capped player, Jason Leonard to officially open their newly laid Artificial Grass Pitch.

This  Saturday, Bilingham Rugby Club are holding the grand opening of their RFU Rugby 365 Artificial Grass Pitch (AGP) with the help of OBE and former England Player, Jason Leonard.

Although the pitch has already had its christening of rugby boots since being laid, the club are welcoming; families, friends, players and spectators to enjoy the official opening.

Billingham were selected as the first Area Six club to trial the RFU Rugby 365 AGP in the 100 clubs across England. The pitches are part of the Rugby World Cup 2015 legacy seeing over £50m investment across four years around the country.

The aim of the pitches is to allow rugby to be played 365 days a year without weather permitting the game we love. This will mean we can play more rugby, more often especially as the weather in the North East can be very fluctuant.

As part of the agreement for holding an AGP pitch at the club, Billingham RFC will also be accessible to; surrounding rugby clubs, organisations, schools and more through an online booking system with fees as low as £24 per hour for some participants.

Jason Leonard, aka ‘The Fun Bus’ will open the pitch from 12pm followed by an open Q&A session.

On the day, there will be lots to enjoy including; a bouncy castle, outdoor bar, all day rugby and more.

Running of events:

11am – 1pm: Under 17s Tournament involving local clubs

12pm – 12:15pm: AGP Official opening by Jason Leonard OBE

1pm – 2pm: Durham County Women V Yorkshire County Women 3pm – 4.30pm: Billingham RUFC V Otley RUFC friendly



By Clarissa Murphy

Hartlepool Rovers hail first female coaching camp a success

Hartlepool Rovers hail first female coaching camp a success


Hartlepool Rovers Women and Girls first coaching camp has been hailed a huge success with a high volume of females in attendance.

Pictured: Hartlepool Rovers Women and Girls at coaching camp


Hartlepool Rovers ran a two day coaching camp for players with the help of guest coaches, Phil Wallis and Jon Benson, RFU Community Rugby Coaches.

Although the camp was an open invitation event it seemed to attract only Rovers Women and Girls – but that was not a problem as 20 girls and around 25 Women turned out.

Darren Smith, Women and Girls Coach said; “This was a great opportunity for us to really focus on areas we would not normally have the time to do.

“We were able to split the ladies and girls up across the two days and focus on principles of play and problem solving in game focused scenarios.

“Importantly, we were also able to micro coach some areas such as: scrummaging, technique and set back plays.”


Pictured: Micro coaching with DMP Player and Rovers Coach, Emily Hunter

Aside from the practical based coaching, players were given theory sessions looking at referee signals and laws of the game to improve their understanding of the game.

Smith added: “The camp was a huge success with all the participants coming away from it having learnt a lot about rugby but also having had a really good time as a squad.

“Players were able to get to know each other as well as the game of rugby which is equally important for a new team such as ours.

“It was an intense couple of days but it has put us in a better position for the upcoming season in a league.”

Pictured: Rovers Girls receiving coaching from Darren Smith


It was not all hard work and concentration for the Rovers Women and Girls as they washed the day down with a water fight.

Although Coach Darren Smith has recently returned from his own coaching camp alongside Eddie Jones, England Rugby Coach he welcomed the help from RFU guest coaches adding that their skill and experience gives the ladies a new voice and ideas.

It was not only a weekend of learning for players as the Rovers coaches were able to spend quality time together sharing ideas and working closely to help continue to build the foundations of the teams.

Pictured: Rovers Ladies game scenarios with Coach Phil Wallis


After such success in their first year, Smith claimed that the camp will most certainly return next year.

The camp adds another bullet point on the list of things the Rovers Ladies have completed to raise the profile of their team.

Smith added: “We normally train on weekday evenings when the club house is closed so hosting the camp at the weekend was a chance to show our success to regulars who were able to see the number of women and girls at the club.”

Hartlepool Rovers play their first pre-season friendly on Sunday, 13 at home against Sunderland Flames and open their doors once again for their Inner Warrior camp on August, 23.


By Clarissa Murphy

Game changer roadshow coming to a rugby club near you

Game changer roadshow coming to a rugby club near you


Durham RFU Professional Staff are hitting the road to bring a free coaching CPD to a club near you in September.

The three game changer workshops are set to take place in the North (Ryton RFC), Mid (Horden and Peterlee RFC) and the South (Darlington Mowden Park).

Coached across Durham County are welcomed to take up this FREE opportunity to learn some new skills, adaptive games and more to take back to their clubs.

See more detail on the poster below. To register: Contact

Houghton Rugby Club welcome women for final summer touch festival

Houghton Rugby Club welcome women for final summer touch festival


Ladies from teams across Durham County came together for one last summer touch festival last night at Houghton Rugby Club.

Pictured: Houghton Hornets, DMP, Hartlepool Rovers and Sunderland Flames


Teams came from; Darlington Mowden Park – a newly formed touch team that has been running for eight weeks, Hartlepool Rovers, Houghton Hornets and Sunderland Flames.

All teams played one another once and enjoyed the best weather of the day before heading into the clubhouse for some after game food courtesy of Houghton Rugby Club.

Girls from across teams in Durham County will draw a close on all of the summer touch festival as Acklam host on Sunday from 2pm.


A huge thank you to all clubs that have hosted, helped, attended and all volunteers that have made it a beaming success.

For photos by Sally Evans of Bishop Auckland RFC see HERE

Inner Warrior camps return to Durham County ahead of the Women’s Rugby World Cup

Inner Warrior camps return to Durham County ahead of the Women’s Rugby World Cup


As we prepare for the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup to hit our screens, the RFU have launched another round of Inner Warrior Campaigns.

England travel to Ireland to defend their World Cup title in just 13 days against teams such as Italy, Spain, the USA and more.

The latest Inner Warrior campaign took place in May across England as part of the initiative to get more Women and Girls playing rugby.

Throughout the last Inner Warrior camps, England Rugby reported that they exceeded targets with over 2500 Women and Girls taking part across 150 camps and over 1000 new players attending.

As the next window of camps approaches, Friday August, 18 to Sunday September,3, clubs across Durham County and Area Six are preparing to welcome more females to rugby.

In Durham County, seven different clubs have signed up to run Inner Warrior camps including: Acklam Rugby Club, Darlington Rugby Club,Darlington Mowden Park, Houghton Rugby Club, Horden and Peterlee, Hartlepool Rovers Ladies and Ryton Rugby Club.

Across Area Six which includes: Durham, Northumberland, Yorkshire and Cumbria there will be 35 Inner Warrior camps taking place.

A little about each event…

Acklam Rugby Club

Inner Warrior event for Girls – Aged 18 & below

“Come and join us for a training session designed to introduce new players to the sport.”

Find out more here >

Darlington Rugby Club

Women and Girls welcome

“Whether you are completely new to rugby or just need to dig out your boots, come along and join us.”

Find out more here

Darlington Mowden Park

Women and Girls welcome

“Home to successful contact teams and now home to a new women’s touch team we have lots to offer women and girls whatever you are looking for. Join us for our Inner Warrior camp and meet lots of friendly faces on August, 21!”

Houghton Rugby Club

Women and Girls Welcome

“After such a successful first Pitch up and Play in May with lots of new faces coming down to give rugby a try we would love the opportunity to welcome even more people. It will be a fun day for mums, sisters, aunties, friends and all the family to enjoy with a carousel of events! Our women and girls section is blossoming as we have recently started contact rugby aside from our touch rugby sessions.  We have a great set of coaches on had to help new and experienced players but most importantly make sure you have fun! Come join us and give it a TRY!”

Find out more here

Horden and Peterlee Rugby Club

Women and Girls welcome

“Meet your #Innerwarrior this August at Horden & Peterlee Rugby Club, 103 Eden Ln, Peterlee SR8 5DJ.  Come and join us on the 26th of August as Horden & Peterlee Rugby Club host an Inner Warrior Camp to snap up your first taste of girls’ rugby and get your hands on a RFU goodie bag!

The session will be non-contact and enjoyable for all abilities and will be followed by a BBQ and the option to stay and be inspired watching the Womens’ Rugby World Cup Final (KO 19:45) ”

Hartlepool Rovers RFC

Women and Girls welcome

“Our third Inner Warrior taster session. After the success of our last two we are making this one even bigger. Rugby taster session for girls in year 7 to 13 and ladies over 18. Lots of fun, games, food, drinks, and freebies. Ideal for new players who want to see our amzing female set up. We have teams for under 13s, 15s, 18s, and a Ladies team in the leagues.”

Ryton Rugby Club

Women and Girls welcome

“Are you looking to try something new in Ryton/Crawcrook/Greenside and the surrounding Gateshead area? Perhaps you want to put your boots back on? Come along to a FREE training session. We are looking for Women/Girls to join our team for the upcoming season. In addition to having fun, learning a new sport and getting fit, we have dedicated coaches committed to helping you achieve your goals.”

Find out more here


To find out more about events near you check out the Inner Warrior ‘find a club’ tool HERE

Women Only: Coaching, Refereeing and First Aid courses just for females in 2018

Women Only: Coaching, Refereeing and First Aid courses just for females in 2018


For the first time ever in Durham County, we have rugby courses for female attendants only!!

If you’re looking develop your skills and knowledge or take a new channel in your rugby footpath or even kick start your way into the game then this could be what you are looking for.

The RFU are hosting courses for Refereeing, Coaching and First Aid across Durham County for you to attend and the best part… its a ladies only day!

This is the first time this has been done and based on courses feedback and lack of female attendants at courses we hope this will help aid more females into different channels of the game.

For more information on where and when the courses are, check out the details below!

Womens Coaching Refereeing First Aid Courses 1718 links

Book now to avoid missing out > RFU online booking system

Durham County Schools Union Cup returns in September

Durham County Schools Union Cup returns in September


Durham County Schools Union are teaming up with the RFU Professional staff to bring you the County Schools Cup in September.

The Cup will provide an opportunity for schools to enter teams at each age group for both girls and boys.

We have located the cup events at rugby clubs across the North/Mid and the South East/South West to create less events with more value.

In the final events, to give schools alternative opponents, the top half of the table will play the top half from the opposite events and the bottom half will play the bottom half from the other event.

For more info check out the poster below and get in touch at:

Durham County Schools Cup poster

Women Touch Festival: Pictures here

Womens Touch Festival

As the Summer continues to try and blossom in the North East, Durham Womens club across the County continue to gather to play friendly games against one another.

Pictured by Sally Evans: Hartlepool Rovers at Bishop Touch festival


So far the weather has been quite fortunate with touch games falling on summery evenings making an enjoyable setting for women’s teams to come out and play.

Tuesday evening saw Bishop Auckland host the third festival so far welcoming clubs; Darlington, Hartlepool Rovers, Houghton RFC and Whitby RFC.

Games were played in a round robin format with teams each playing at least three games.

To see more picture from the event click here

The next Womens touch festival will take place at Billingham Rugby Club on Wednesday, July 19 2017.

Hartlepool Rovers Inner Warriors have more to celebrate than their second birthday

Hartlepool Rovers Inner Warriors have more to celebrate than their second birthday


Hartlepool Rovers celebrate their second birthday and prepare to enter the 2017/18 season with four contact female rugby sides.

Pictured: Hartlepool Rovers Women and Girls Section


Rovers Women and Girls section has continued to blossom since their first launch of an U13 Touch rugby team in 2013.

Back in their early days, Rovers U13s were made up from a number of girls that travelled around Durham County to play in Touch Rugby festivals. But, as the interest continued and coaches could see the team growing worth, they leaped to playing full contact by the end of the 2015/16 season.

Each season, Rovers have taken that extra step to continue growing their female section with the great support of coaches, volunteers and RFU Professional staff.

Phil Wallis, RFU Community Rugby Coach for South Durham, said: “Rovers are a very keen and well supported club.

“The Coaches are very enthusiastic about the women and girls section and have developed a great team ethos and culture that players, parents and volunteers are thriving to be a part of.

“They have all taken to it, like ducks to water and become a true rugby family”

Pictured; Rovers rugby family


Behind the Durham Northumberland Division One Senior Men’s Club are coaches Darren Smith, who also coaches the County U15 Girls representative side and Emily Hunter, Darlington Mowden Park Sharks Super League player.

Coach Darren Smith said: “Hartlepool Rovers are part of the RFU All Schools programme and we have coaches that attend sessions at schools which has helped us to gain momentum in gathering a girls section at the club.

“We also host girls schools festivals at the club to help with the transition from school rugby to club rugby.”

With all the support and backing of the women and girls section at the club, they were able to hit several milestones in their development, such as their girls section growing to 30 players playing contact rugby allowing them to field both an U13 and U15 team during the 2016/17 season.

But, of course that was not enough for the newly formed side as the U15s started their own tally sheet of success stories throughout the season. Achievements for the side included; seven players playing representative rugby for Durham County of which one player- Mia Simpson went on to play for North of England, making it to the Area 6 National Cup Semi-final after combining with Horden and Peterlee and coming runners up in Durham County sevens tournament.

Pictured: Rovers girls v Billingham Girls

Wallis commented on their success saying: “They have shown phenomenal progress since beginning their journey as a club.

“All the teams have grown significantly and they now have players joining them left, right and centre.”

Hartlepool Rovers girls are set for the 2017/18 season with players in each age category as girls move up into U18s.

So what else would be left to achieve for the South Durham side?

Darren Smith, Lead of Women and Girls at Rovers explained that the success of the junior teams sparked the idea to develop a ladies side.

He added: “We had a small group of girls turn up at the club on a training night and ask to get involved, so we held some touch rugby sessions with them.

“From there it continued to escalate and we soon became an RFU focus club for Women and Girls.

“We have been really impressed with the effort and commitment of our females and we want to mirror that commitment back to them and give them an environment they can develop into confident and competent rugby players.”

In January 2017 Rovers lit the flame to guide Women into the club in which was shortly followed by the launch of the RFU #InnerWarrior campaign to get more females into playing rugby.

By tagging on the back of the launch they were able to grow their start up figures of eight women to an impressive 40 women and girls at their first ever pitch up and play event.


InnerWarrior: Hartlepool Rovers second Inner warrior event


Smith explained that the Inner Warrior events were such a success as they advertised them across social media platforms, on the local radio, in the press and even went into the town centre to hand out leaflets.

He added: “All but two or three of our ladies are brand new to the game and they are all as keen as one another.”


The short five months between January and the end of the season in May have been busy ones for Rovers Ladies. They have successfully signed up 30 Women to their contact team, played their first ever two contact fixtures as a team against Windemere Women and Morpeth Ladies, had six players in the Durham County Ladies Development squad and been accepted into the Women’s Northern Conference North East Two League for the 2017/18 season.

As they look ahead to their prosperous 2017/18 season, Smith commented: “It has been successful but not without a lot of hard work and determination.

“Our next aim is to have a full under 18s team next season which will give us a full girls section.

“We will look to progress into the National Cup and continue to push our girls towards County and North of England representation.

“For our ladies this is very much a season of consolidation. Having just been accepted into the leagues we will look to fulfil all of our fixtures and keep developing as we are.

“As well, we aim to have two ladies team with a competitive first team and a development team.

“The development team will be an offer for those wanting more of a social game but also a place for new players to gain valuable game time without the pressures of league rugby.”

Throughout next season, Rovers will make a few close journeys as they take on Bishop Auckland, Novocastrians, Acklam and Morpeth.

Their first home fixture is on Sunday, October 8 2017 against Morpeth.

To find out more about the Women and Girls section, check out their website here

BY Clarissa Murphy

Upcoming Events

  • August 26, 2017
    • County Cup Weekend R1
      2:00 pm

      The first rounds of the Durham County Cups in the Junior, Intermediate and Senior Cup will take place this weekend between clubs across the County.

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