Historically, participation in, and news coverage of, international, national and even local sports have been dominated by the male of the species - but, finally, times are changing.
At the Tokyo Olympics, 53.5% of Team GB were women. Both our Women’s Rugby and Women’s Cricket teams are ranked 2nd in the World (compared to the men’s teams in 6th and 3rd places respectively) and the Women’s Football team is ranked 4th (with the men in 5th). UK TV broadcasters have noted a huge increase in the number of people watching women’s domestic sports, including a greater proportion of women viewers. The heightened media coverage is not only promoting women’s sports, but is also making it more accessible, with participation at grassroots level increasing across the board.
Dorking RFC is proud to support Women’s and Girls’ Rugby and has done so for many years. Formed in 1988, the first Ladies team played regularly through the 1990s, culminating in them winning the North South Junior Cup in 1999. The first U15 and U18 Girls’ teams were formed during the 2000s with Kay Wilson, former England winger and our guest of honour today, being a Dorking Girl. Girls’ Rugby was revived at the club in 2012, starting with about 10 girls aged 10 to 15. Having grown and developed over the years, the girls now account for around a fifth of the Minis & Youth section, across 5 age groups
n 2018 we decided to restart the Women’s section, holding our fi rst RFU sponsored Inner Warrior camp and initially playing Touch Rugby. With former players returning from University and new Youth players coming up through the ranks, we recognised the need to develop and grow the squad in to a full contact team. We formed a link with Old Caterhamians Women during the latter stages of the Covid-19 pandemic and formalised that relationship to play as a joint team in the Inner Warrior Development League this season and last.
Our playing numbers at Dorking have increased steadily in the last 12 months and we now have almost 30 players regularly attending training and available for matches. Many of our players were completely new to rugby when they fi rst joined. We intend to enter the RFU’s NC3 League next season.
As a progressive and inclusive club, Dorking RFC is committed to putting Senior Women’s rugby on an equal footing with the Senior Men’s both on and off the pitch, with Strength & Conditioning sessions and a dedicated physio clinic. We train on Wednesday nights - 6.30 to 7.30pm in the gym, 7.30 to 9.00pm on the pitch, and 9.00pm to last orders in the bar! For more information please contact either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. You can also fi nd us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. We are a fully inclusive club welcoming players of all ages and abilities. No prior experience is necessary.
By Pip Merrett, DRFC Women's Chair