The Mackie Vixens women’s rugby team were set up two years ago and those currently involved are keen to encourage other females from Stonehaven and the local area to give rugby a go.
Part of Mackie RFC, the women’s section trains on Monday evenings, currently at the Redcloak pitches.
After playing in a number of “Aspiring League” days last season for clubs just starting out, in 2023-24 they are part of Caledonia North Three.
They recorded their first league win back in September against Aberdeen University and have played a number of other matches – but, right now, it is not about winning and losing for the Vixens.
It is about getting other women involved and growing the section, and those who are part of the team are keen to stress you do not need to have any rugby knowledge to take part.
“The training sessions we have are just great for your physical and mental health,” Vixens member Abigail Suzara said.
“When people think about rugby training, they can be quite daunted at first – I certainly was. But as soon as I met up with the Mackie squad for the first time, I felt right at home.
“Everyone was so welcoming and you do not have to have any prior knowledge of the sport to get involved. The coaches and senior players will lead you through everything, while there are people of all ages and from all different backgrounds now part of the Vixens.
“Things have been growing well, but as our league rugby moves forward we could always do with a few new faces to bolster our squad numbers, and I would just say to people thinking about it to give it a go, because it is one of the best things that I’ve ever done.”
‘Once I was brave enough to head along to training, I have loved it and have not looked back’
Abigail’s story is a great example for anyone thinking of giving rugby a go.
She has sons who play in the junior section at Mackie and was on the touchline watching them one morning back in August when members of the Vixens were passing out leaflets about the women’s team.
“I had never been to a rugby training session before and was a bit nervous because of the levels of my general fitness, but once I was brave enough to head along to training, I have loved it and have not looked back at all,” she explained.
“The group are so supportive of each other and we have a lot of fun, while those that coach us explain things well along the way as we continue to learn about what is quite a complex game.
“At first my boys were quite confused when mum was coming home from rugby training all muddy, but now they know I play the same sport as them at the same club and that is really cool.”
Mark Beadie, who has had links with Mackie for a number of years and previously coached youth teams, heads up the coaching for the Vixens.
He added: “When the section started two years ago we weren’t sure how things would grow, but everyone who has been involved in that time has been really committed and it is nice seeing people learning new skills and finding out more about the game as they go along.
“It is also always nice when a player brings along a friend to get involved because word of mouth is a great way to grow things, but now we are in a league, we want to grow things even more and really open things up to all females from the local area.”
From March, the Vixens will be starting no-contact, come-and-try training sessions on Wednesday nights, too.