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Saints

  • Team updates
  • team News

01 Aug 2018

Julia Holmes

Saints Club Captain

2018/19 Season Preview

So near yet so far was probably the best way to sum up our third place in the table last season, for a second year running. After continuing to work on new methods of play, Saracens and England 7’s player Sarah McKenna also joined the coaching team to help develop this further. This was a welcome addition for Head Coach Darran Brown after assistant coach Henry Clear’s daughter arrived early, shortly before Henry underwent heart surgery.

Although it took a little while to build on, the results of our new style of play were evident around the park and produced some good rugby throughout the season. Some new additions to the squad also meant the players learning to adapt to each other’s strengths and abilities. Unfortunately, in availability and recurring injuries meant that it didn’t always quite go to plan.
A key focus last season was also to understand more about where we can improve our game. Now working with analysis software, we are able to review match footage before training to see where we can improve our patterns of play. This helps the players to understand more about positional play and the strategy we are working to. Towards the end of the season it began to pay dividends with some memorable scores.

Looking forward to the 2018-19 season and with Kate Barnes stepping down, Julia Holmes has been appointed the new Saints club captain and we wish her well. We have also appointed a match day captain with two vice captains for the season, details which will be announced closer to the start of the season. Social media is now centrally managed in line with the clubs new website and we are also working with some new partners and sponsors for this season.

Our off-season recruitment has gone well and we are seeing good numbers at preseason with a few of last season’s regular players yet to make training. The competition for spaces is hotting up, and we also look forward to welcoming some of the junior saints who now qualify to play for the 1st XV and gained experience with us last season. The heat has made preseason that bit harder and we make no bones about our ambitions to gain promotion to Women's championship south this season. The players are all putting a lot of work in and we look forward to a couple of preseason friendly fixtures.

This season we will continue to improve the bond with our junior saints and look to give 1st XV exposure to those that are eligible. The coaching staff are also looking forward to working more closely with Craig and his team and ensure that our methods are aligned. We will continue to merge our training sessions towards the end of our Wednesday training and give some ‘real-world’ scenarios for the players to overcome.

All in all, we are positive and confident ahead of the season. We have our eyes set on silverware and nothing less will do. We push each other as coaches and as players to meet the high standards we set ourselves. We don’t have an easy league to win and have some tricky opposition to overcome. We head to 2 new sides in Medway and Old Elthamians this season who are newly promoted, so they will be pushing to continue on their good work from last season also.

01 Jul 2017

Kate Barnes

Club Captain

2017-18 Season

A new approach in how we play and building depth in our squad has reaped rewards, finishing a strong 3rd position in Championship South East 2 League last season, winning 12 out of 16 games. A key result of this has been the strong links we have with the Junior Saints transitioning into Women’s rugby and contributing immensely in latter half of last season.

The league has changed yet again with Blackheath finally getting the promotion they deserve as they have been fighting to go up for many years. There was no playoff either due to the big changes with the RFU Women’s League structure. Southwold was relegated and Lewes Ladies have moved up, so we look forward to a coach trip to east Sussex which will involve a few beverages on the way back! We were offered promotion to Championship North 1 by the RFU as we met their criteria but after a player meeting we decided to stay down and keep building our squad which is best for where we are as club currently.

New RFU initiatives include Inner Warrior Camps hosted at hundreds of rugby clubs all over the country are a way of encouraging girls and ladies to try rugby and ‘release their inner warrior’! The Saints hosted their Camp in May and had at least nine new players with a range of abilities keen to join.

Development tournaments have opened up aimed to push the development of 2nd teams within ladies rugby and also ease the transition from junior to senior. Saints will be participating at Hackney RFC on the 1st October. A new regulation brought in this year is girls of 17 years old can now register to play Women’s rugby but not at front row level until they are 18. This is fantastic for us as we have some talented junior saints coached and managed by Craig Ihlenfeldt and team. The Saints Junior girls are now the biggest and most thriving in Hertfordshire.

Head Coach Darren Brown moves into his second season with a strong focus to win the league with a developing 2nd XV looking to enter the merit league. Preseason has started earlier this year as Vice Club Captain Julia Holmes has brought in Strength and Conditioning Coach Jono Cave to kick things off. S & C sessions are key to build core strength, mobility, recovery and Jono’s expertise will be factored in at key points within our season. The saints have a friendly on August 20th against Reading Abbey Nuns in preparation for the first league game which takes place away at Chesham on Sunday 10th September.

I personally would like to welcome Henry Clear to the Saints as our Backs’s/Development Coach. He will be supporting Darren and eventually look after our development 2nd XV. Henry is from Hertfordshire and played for OAs in the 3rd and 4th XV a few years ago before moving to the West Country. He was a pioneer for Saracens running their community kids events as well as being involved in U12s and U15s at OAs. He is now keen to get back into coaching and is excited to be part of the Saints for a new Challenge.

The season doesn’t end once the league and Cup matches are over, county rugby selection begins. I am proud to say a huge chunk of the saints achieved Herts County honours and their contribution lead to three out of four wins against Somerset, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Essex. It sounds like all work and no play but this is not the case! The Saints enjoy many planned social events in conjunction with the men’s section of the club, new Saint’s Initiation and after match fines and frolics! The Saints are well known for their UK and Overseas Rugby Tours and this year was a no different in a trip to Itlay where they participated in the Milan 7s. The Saints provide rugby at all levels of ability so it doesn’t matter if you’ve never picked up a rugby ball before or you’ve been playing for years. We welcome anyone to join our community and fantastic facility at Woollams Playing Fields in St Albans.

  • Fixtures
  • Results
07/10/18
|
Women's Championship South East 2

Saints

15:00

Hampstead

14/10/18
|
Women's Championship South East 2

Saints

15:00

Lewes

04/11/18
|
Women's Championship South East 2

Old Elthamians

15:00

Saints

18/11/18
|
Women's Championship South East 2

Saints

15:00

Beckenham

25/11/18
|
Women's Championship South East 2

Medway

15:00

Saints

09/12/18
|
Women's Championship South East 2

Saints

15:00

Hammersmith & Fulham

06/01/19
|
Women's Championship South East 2

Hampstead

15:00

Saints

13/01/19
|
Women's Championship South East 2

Lewes

15:00

Saints

03/02/19
|
Women's Championship South East 2

Saints

15:00

Old Elthamians

24/02/19
|
Women's Championship South East 2

Beckenham

15:00

Saints

03/03/19
|
Women's Championship South East 2

Saints

15:00

Medway

17/03/19
|
Women's Championship South East 2

Chesham

15:00

Saints

09/09/18
|
Women's Championship South East 2

Saints

29
17

Chesham

16/09/18
|
Women's Championship South East 2

Saints

17
26

Hammersmith & Fulham

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