Cleve girls continue to shine

January 02 2014

EIGHTEEN players from Cleve Girls Rugby are now playing at county level as the club continues to develop a reputation for producing rugby talent.

Cleve girls rugby

EIGHTEEN players from Cleve Girls Rugby are now playing at county level as the club continues to develop a reputation for producing rugby talent.

Cleve Girls Rugby was formed in September 2009 by then junior chairman Paul Malorie, plus original head coach Sara Harding. Initially all the players were from non playing backgrounds but they soon developed the basic skills necessary to compete in games in and around the Gloucestershire area.

Through the success of the squad and new girls coming in from other clubs, they soon developed a group of players Cleve RFC could be proud of. By the 2010/11 season  Cleve Girls Rugby  players were representing Gloucestershire at county level, with one of these players going on to represent the South West. During this time there was a change of management and coaching staff with Nick Humphreys taking the position of manager plus Charlie Taylor, Andy Leonard and Mark Escott heading up the coaching.

The 2011/12 season saw a lot of girls come through from boys rugby which consequently led to more success on the playing field. More players were representing Gloucestershire with a couple more going on to represent the South West.

By 2012/13 there was another change in the coaching setup after RFU community rugby coach Simon Clarke came to Cleve for a meeting and then subsequently agreed to come on board as U15s head coach. This season also saw  Cleve Girls Rugby enter the RFU Thames Valley U15s Girls league. The squad were now playing some really good rugby, only losing twice to Worcester Girls in the league and winning all their friendly fixtures.

There was huge success on the county rugby front with twelve girls representing either Gloucestershire or Somerset and four girls going on the represent the South West.

Due to popular demand, the 2012/13 season saw the introduction of an U18s squad. Now running both an U15s and an U18s squad, Cleve decided to revert back to playing friendly fixtures rather than entering the leagues. This season also saw ten of our U15s and eight U18s represent at county level.

On Sunday November 24,  Cleve Girls Rugby players represented both Gloucestershire and Somerset at county level, with Gloucestershire travelling to Witney to play Oxfordshire and Somerset making the long trip down to St Austell to play Cornwall.

The Gloucestershire U15s won their game 27 – 0 with Cleve’s Rhianne Oakley, Holly Cunningham and Mya Humphreys (captain) playing huge roles in the result whilst the Gloucestershire U18s managed to beat their opposition 27 – 22 in a really tough game with Cleve’s Milly Wallis bagging two of the tries.

The Somerset U15s managed a win of 39 points to nil with Cleve players Eloise Linton, Florence Long, Georgia Young, Iona Antwis, Chants Thompson and Milly O’Donnell (captain). Somerset U18s weren’t as fortunate, losing to a powerful Cornwall side 22 points to 12 with Cleve’s Clare Gordon, Ellie Mulhearn, Kirsty Horner, Isabel Wildgoose, Maddy Escott (player of the match), Mollie Rideout and Tara Prudhoe all putting in the work to keep Somerset in the game.

Women’s and girls’ rugby isn’t like the men’s and boys’ game. The game is far less physical and there seems to be more attention to skill and finesse rather than brute force. Rugby is an inclusive sport that teaches its followers skills and core values - Team Work, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportmanship which all players can go on to use later in life.

Cleve Girls Rugby caters for U13/15/18 girls from school Years 5 to 13.

Training is held every Tuesday evening at 6.30pm at Cleve RFC, Cossham Street, Mangotsfield.

For more information on getting involved email