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Garioch Ladies RFC continue to grow women’s rugby in the north with success on and off the pitch

Garioch Ladies RFC team photo. Photo by Gareth Falls.
Garioch Ladies RFC team photo. Photo by Gareth Falls.

Garioch Ladies RFC are a club on the rise thanks to their current league form and the establishment of a second ladies team.

Garioch have started the season in perfect fashion, winning their first seven games and sitting at the top of the National Division 1 table with a points scored difference of 164.

Club captain Jess Silcocks believes that the first team’s fine form is a testament to the club’s development and commitment to the women’s game.

The captain said: “The girls have been so fantastic and so committed. We’ve got a great coaching set up led by Stuart Corsar who has been pushing us as training and working on new things.

“We have lot of youth coming through as well as our experienced players and we just seem to be gelling.

“It’s a great atmosphere amongst the team and I’ve been here for ten years and it feels like everything we’ve worked on is coming together.

“The quality of teams in the league this year is really high. I think that’s down to clubs like Garioch becoming established rather then being just a development side.

“We’ve just constantly been improving and we want to keep making the progress and hopefully we can keep on pushing and see where the league takes us.”

Garioch Gladiators

The club’s commitment to improving the women’s game is not only reflected by results on the pitch, as Garioch have recently established a second ladies team.

The Garioch Gladiators will become a development squad for players returning from injury, to integrate youth players and for those who might prefer to play rugby more socially.

Silcocks believes that Gladiators is proof of the club’s progression and commitment to women’s rugby, as the opportunities available now is a world away from what existed when she first joined the club.

She said: “When I started you really had to work your way into the club because rugby is traditionally a male sport.

“There was a club dinner and when I joined it was a males only dinner so we couldn’t even go to the awards ceremony. Over the years Garioch has been a club in transition and now we’re involved equally with the men.

“Our aim now is to continue to increase our ladies numbers and provide rugby to people at all levels and ability.”

Garioch Gladiators after their first game against Ross-Sutherland Rugby Club

Garioch Ladies currently has 47 players between the two sides with both ladies sides training together as one club.

Silcocks added: “To improve as a club, we need have two squads to create a better player pathway.

“At training we don’t think in first or second team, we all train together as one inclusive club.

“As captain, I have to be present to motivate the girls and lead by example. I just want to make sure everyone at Garioch is happy and enjoying their rugby whether that is playing socially or more competitively.”

National support

The club has also appointed a development officer in Nikki Simpson, a player at Garioch, with the support of Scottish Rugby Union.

The role, which is a full-time position, aims to inspire the future generation of Scotland’s rugby stars by bringing rugby into local schools.

Silcocks believes that the fact that such a job exists and is fulfilled by a woman shows that rugby is on the right track.

She said: “SRU have invested so much into women’s rugby and it’s really starting to show with us at club level.

“It’s amazing that Nikki has been given this opportunity because years ago a woman would not have been appointed in that role.

“It’s so important because girls need role models and women should be involved at every level of the sport.

“If you had said to me five years ago that this role would exist for a woman, I wouldn’t have believed you.

“But now Nikki will help to make the women’s game sustainable from youth level to senior leagues, but also have her own career in rugby which is so exciting.”

 

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