Huge number of walkovers major concern for RFU

Last week England Rugby launched an action plan to grow the number of women and girls playing rugby more often over the next four years. Why was it then that so many matches ended as ‘walkovers’?

It was a weekend clearly set aside in the ‘RFU Women’s Structured Season’ for the Senior Cup, Intermediate Cup, Intermediate Plate and the Junior Cup. So there was plenty of time for players to be advised of the dates.

Or is it that players, and/or clubs, are not interested in participating or do not want to travel for Cup competitions? Why then do they enter? The home team had presumably made arrangements to host the tie and the visitors had made travel arrangements.

Fifty ties were scheduled for last Sunday across the country covering the four competitions, and 27 of them resulted in ‘walkovers’.
Perhaps the RFU should address some of the existing ‘failings’ rather than attempting to expand their horizons. Or it is that the RFU would like to see the National Cup competitions fall by the wayside?

Bristol II romped to a 102-0 home victory over struggling Championship North side West Bridgford as they ran in 16 tries, 11 of which were converted, with three touchdowns for lock Alice Rooke, but Bath Ladies lost 74-0 at Saracens II.

Gloucester-Hartpury II had a home walkover from their tie against Championship North side Eccles.

In the Intermediate Cup, NC South West One unbeaten leaders Ellingham & Ringwood had a 12-7 victory at Drybrook, while Plymouth Albion stormed to a 43-0 win at St Mary’s Old Boys.

There were three tries each from Lauren Dent and Molly Hann plus one for Ali Cooper, while Caitlin Short improved four.

Supermarine were awarded a ‘home walkover’ from their Intermediate Cup tie against Newbury, as were Cullompton for their Intermediate Plate game against Devizes.

Tries from Bernadette Chubb, Heidi Silcox, Joanna Norton and Alice Harding, who also kicked two conversions, gave Yeovil a 24-20 win at Hornettes in the first round of the Women’s Junior Cup.

Hornettes’ reply came through tries from Abbey Constable, Emma Small, Stacie Godfrey and Kerrianne Williams. Yeovil will be away to Dorchester/Weymouth & Portland in the next round, while Hornettes will host Hucclecote in the Junior Plate. Westbury were the 29-10 winners of their tie at Hucclecote, the first-ever meeting between the two sides, to earn themselves a home tie against Dursley next month. Westbury’s tries came from Jess Wells, Sarah Smith, Holly Noble, Anna Hemingway and Becs Lamb, with Wells converting two, while Hucclecote replied with tries from Jess Murphy and Emily Brailey.

Aretians had a ‘home walkover’ against Old Bristolians and will now travel to face Chew Valley Cats on December 17 in the second round.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.