Harlequin Ladies Youth Academy

By Alex Leigh and Nick Dexter-Tissington - August 31 2009
Harlequin Ladies Youth Academy Harlequin Ladies Youth Academy was launched in September 2006 and welcomes all girls aged 12-18. Training is held on Wednesday eveinings 6pm-7:15pm at Old Isleworthians RFC, Twickenham.

History of the Youth Section at Harlequin Ladies

The youth team was originally set-up in 1998, with the late Sue Moloney taking on the role of Youth Team Secretary and other senior team members playing key roles in setting up and training the team.

As well as proving themselves invaluable members of the senior squad, many youth team “graduates” have gone on to achieve major representational success at County, Regional and England level.

After a three-season hiatus, we relaunched the youth section as Harlequin Ladies Youth Academy in September 2006. In its first year HLYA joined forces with local clubs Grasshoppers RFC and Northolt RFC to fulfil fixtures. The combined squad finished 2nd in the Thames Valley Cluster League, and a number of players were selected for representative honours at county and regional level.

For the forthcoming season, HLYA will continue to play 'cluster fixtures'. We are organising a determined recruitment campaign, which will include the provision of coaching in local schools, and hope in future seasons to enter the league with a single-club squad.

The team at HLYA strive to make every training session a fun and fulfilling experience for all squad members, ensuring that their development as a player and an individual is at the top of our agenda.

The Community

To promote and encourage participation in girls' rugby at all levels, Harlequin Ladies in previous seasons have held 'coaching clincs' open to all. These were held prior to Harlequins matches at the Twickenham Stoop so that participants could have an opportunity to enjoy both playing rugby and also watching a premiership game.

In June 2007 Harlequin Ladies provided coaching and managed the London Borough of Richmond's Girls Tag-team, who were victorious at the London Youth Games.

In the 2007/08 season Harlequin Ladies have organised the provision of coaching in for Year 7 girls in 4 local schools during the Autumn Term, to culminate with an inter-school competition to be held at the Twickenham Stoop.

In 2008 season the Youth Academy, after a lot of hard work and great commitment from the squad the academy, clustered with Northolt and Saracens RFC climbed to second place in the League to enable a great start to the 08/09 season.

Tours

The Youth Academy works hard to develop a strong social side to their game. We aim to hold regular socials and each season is rounded off with a tour. Last season the tourists travelled to Worthing, taking part in the annual girls 10s competition.

And in season 08, the Development Team took the Squad to Thames Young Mariners in Ham, where they worked on various team building exercises, such as raft building, rope climbing and kayak sliding. We all then enjoyed some games of touch rugby a lovely BBQ and a spot of camping in the evening. Needless to say we all had a fabulous time, including the Adults!!

Funding

At the heart of every amateur sport is the need for adequate funding. We try to ensure that playing rugby is affordable and accessible to all girls, so fundraising is an integral way of life to Harlequin Ladies. Harlequin Ladies Youth Academy would gladly welcome a sponsor. Please contact us to find out what opportunities we can offer your business.

Interested?

Harlequin Ladies Youth Academy caters for younger players (12-18). Training is held on Wednesday eveninigs 6.00-7.15pm at at Old Isleworthians Rugby Football Club (The Memorial Ground, Wood Lane, Isleworth, Middlesex). We welcome all new players regardless of experience - so whether you're an old hand, or fancy trying rugby for the first time - come along and give it a go! Training starts on 10th September 2008 so bring your rugby head.

We also welcome non-playing members. As an amateur club, Harlequin Ladies Youth Academy relies on the time and dedication of its volunteers. Please contact us if you would like to get involved, as all the help we receive is greatly appreciated.

For further information about Harlequin Ladies Youth Academy and how you can get involved please contact Lauren Cooper.

We hope to hear from you soon ‘Live the Dream