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Home > News > Festivals boost for North West RU Students
Your News Festivals boost for North West RU Students

WOMEN'S rugby continues to blossom across the country and for students in the North West, the female game is in the process of receiving a major boost.

A programme of festivals was launched at Blackburn RFC last month aimed at offering more 'game time' to female student rugby players in the region and involving a number of new women's club sides in a friendly festival programme, with the Cotton Cup, previously used for a now redundant student cup competition, being restored to support grassroots development in the Higher Education sector.

The 12-a-side league opened with uncontested scrums for the first four festivals, but will progress to the full version of the game to produce a final merit table. At key stages coaching clinics will be run dealing with the contact and technical elements of the scum and lineouts which will be delivered by the RFUW's Club and Coach Officer, Mark Harper.

The organisation of the programme will be in the hands of Amanda Jones, a Masters Student at the University of Central Lancashire, who will use this development league structure as the project for her Master's degree. As ever, the biggest challenge facing anyone who seeks to set up student competitions is the issue of travel costs and this remains a key element on which the success or failure of the venture will hinge.

That said, enthusiasm for the project is excellent. Blackburn, Fylde and Sedgley Park are on the list of venues who have volunteered their facilities, with teams from Fylde Vixens, Birkenhead Park, University of Manchester Freshers, UCLAN, Lancaster University, Combined Manchester Universities & Broughton Park FC, Combined Liverpool Hope & Sefton RFC and Chester University & Chester RUFC all registering their support for the scheme.

Fylde put down a marker in the inaugural tournament at Blackburn when they defeated the University of Manchester and UCLAN, but the games were sufficiently competitive to suggest when with more games under their belts, the rugby fledglings involved will go from strength to strength as the competition evolves.

Not that the fairer sex are monopolising the North West student rugby development scene. A similar competition will be established this month with a Cotton Cup for male students which is focused on players who do not make their University senior teams. This will be launched at Sedgley Park RUFC on January 27 with a 12-a-side festival for North West University Development sides.

At this stage, the Universities of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan, Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores and Edge Hill have indicated their wish to be involved in the programme, which will additionally give opportunities for student referees and student coaches to gain valuable experience. This will then be recorded and acknowledged in a record of achievement to go with their degree as they graduate from university.

The programme of festivals for the female students will be held on January 31, February 7, February 21, March 7, March 14 and March 28.

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