Chad reporter Catherine Allen joins the Ashfield Ladies rugby team

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ALTHOUGH I like sports, it’s fair to say that I have never really I have never really thought about taking up rugby, writes Ashfield Chad reporter Catherine Allen.

I don’t have the physique of a typical rugby player and I couldn’t imagine myself tackling my fellow players down to the ground or being part of the scrum.

So I was slightly apprehensive when I was asked to go along to the Ashfield Ladies’ training session on Monday night at the Polly Bowls sportsground in Sutton.

Jo Dawson, who helps to run the team, said that despite many women’s misconceptions, the sport is suitable for almost anyone who wants to try it.

She says: “There’s a position for everyone, whatever their shape or size,

“We’ve got bigger girls and tiny ones, but you all play together as a team.

“We’ve got close to 30 ladies. Most of them play games and some use it as fitness.

“We’ve played six games together and we are trying to get into the league for the start of next season.”

Her comments were echoed by her husband Dick, who also coaches the team along with Paul Wilson.

He said: “To play a successful game it is more about technique and speed rather than just brute force.”

Jo, who lives in Forest Town and is a firefighter at Edwinstowe fire station, had wanted to play for a rugby team but there was nothing available in the area so she decided to set up the team at the end of last year.

“Dick has been playing rugby for years and I really wanted to play - but there was no ladies’ team in north Nottinghamshire,” she said.

“We had about six ladies come along and it just grew from there. Half of those are wives and girlfriends (of male rugby players) and a lot of the others we’ve picked up as we’ve gone along.”

The ladies’ team receives support from Active Ashfield, Nottinghamshire County Council, Mansfield Building Society and Sportivate and, as well as helping to boost fitness, the players have also become good friends with each other.

“There’s the social side to it as well,” says Jo.

“There were a few girls who didn’t know people in the area but now they have a massive group of friends.”

Speaking at Monday’s training session, the ladies all agreed that they would recommend the sport to others.

Becky Brown, from Sutton, said: “I’ve been involved in Ashfield rugby for about seven years because my daughter has been playing since she was five. I like getting stuck in with the scrum!”

Izzie Pendleton, from Forest Town, said: “I wanted to do something different. I’ve done football and taekwondo and I really wanted to try rugby.”

Meanwhile, newcomer Trish Hart said: “It’s the first time I’ve played rugby. I’ve done football, but I’ve not played competitive sports for over 10 years. I’m enjoying it - it’s better than football.”

So, how did I get on playing my first game of rugby? I started off never having even picked up a ball and finished the session by putting some of the techniques I’d learned into practice in a game - although I suspect I was probably more of a hindrance than a help to the other players. I’m not sure that I have a natural talent for the sport, but it was certainly fun to try something as energetic as this.

l The Ashfield Ladies’ rugby team trains on Sundays at 12.30pm and on Mondays at 7.30pm at the Polly Bowls sportsground on Unwin Road. For more details call Jo on 07837427257 or email joannadawson@hotmail.co.uk.