It’s tremendous news for the squad who were crowned London and SE One champions after finishing a memorable first ever regular season of competitive rugby unbeaten. But they missed out on promotion after losing a thrilling Play-off final against Medway Ladies by a point.
However, following the league restructure, they have been moved up to the third tier of Women's league rugby. Delighted OEs vice captain Emily John (pictured) said: “The season was immense. To have come together from about six different clubs and spend our first ever league season unbeaten was incredible and leaves me so proud of all of us.
“Having played rugby for 12 years, the friendly environment and level of inclusivity at OEs is like no other. The excitement to move up into the league above has already started building and I can’t wait to get started!”
Preparations are already under way for the increased challenges Championship SE 2 will provide next season. Pre-season training starts on Monday 2nd July. 7.30pm at College Meadow and the existing coaching team of Greg Spencer and Mex Melville-Brown will be supported by a fully qualified strength and conditioning trainer over the summer. Catherine Paynter (nee Spencer) continues in her role as Director of Women’s Rugby. With manager David Clent, medical support Justine Robinson and some guest coaches lined up, the club are well organised for a successful pre-season.
Former England Women’s captain Catherine Paynter (nee Spencer) said: “Moving up to the next league will present another challenge for our still relatively new squad, but everyone involved is excited. All of our matches are likely to be much more competitive next season. Medway we know from the play-off and we will be really looking forward to our fixture against them, but we are also excited to be playing teams we have not come up against before.”
She added: “Next season continues to be another building year for us; we are hoping to attract a few new players over the summer as well as continuing to develop our current squad. We have plans in place to ensure that we can have a big focus on fitness this summer - the matches will be played at a higher level of intensity and pace in the league above and we want to make sure we are ready.”
The club are happy to hear from new players. Come along on a Monday or Wednesday evening once pre-season has started, or contact Catherine directly on Catherine@InspiringWomen.co.uk for more information.
Updated 15:40 - 15 Jun 2018 by Jon Edwards