2017 has been an absolute cracker of a year for Streatham-Croydon Ladies and as it comes to a close we thought we’d wrap it up with some of our highlights!
Going into 2017 the ladies were top of their league and the acquisition of coach Nic Verdino only served to build on the team structure and game management. The year started with a bang in January with a 72-0 win over Kingston followed by a win over up-and-coming Millwall Ladies. However, a few injuries and lack of availability saw Streatham putting out under-strength sides and narrow losses to Beccehamians and Blackheath Ladies IIs in February were a blip in the year which would come back to bite them in their target of top of the league. Not to be deterred, the team pulled together and trained hard and came back fighting with a 60-0 win against Brockleians in March.
The last game of the season saw the team missing their captain, but they still managed to comfortably put 60+ points on Beckenham Ladies IIs to finish the season. Having lost to the same team 19-7 in the first game of the season in similar circumstances it was a clear marker for the rate at which the team had improved in less than a year. The disappointment of finishing second in the table with 48 points to St Francis’ 49 soon turned to elation when news of the restructure amongst the ladies leagues from the Premier15s down filtered through. The knock on effect meant that Streatham-Croydon had also been promoted to National Challenge 1 for 2017-18.
April saw the first ever SCRFC Ladies tour, with over 20 players travelling to Dublin to face Garda-Westmanstown RFC. They won the well fought fixture 36-27 and immersed themselves in true Irish culture. 2018 sees the ladies head over to Toulouse for another adventure to a true rugby town.
In May social secretary Daisy Leach worked alongside the men’s club social sec Joe to organise an exceptional end of season party and awards ceremony at Hideaway Streatham. Dani Davies was awarded player of the season, having scored innumerable points both with her attacking flair from full back and from the kicking tee. Utility forward Katherine Cowling was awarded most improved player amongst a host of nominations.
May also saw representative honours for Streatham-Croydon ladies with Vice-Captain Mel Laidlaw-Anderson and Captain Millie Ross selected for the Surrey Ladies Development Team against Dorset & Wiltshire. Mel in particular impressed was awarded player of the match by the opposition.
June saw the return of O2 Touch down at the club and we began our summer recruitment drive. In July we entered a team into Fat Blokes 7s, something that is fast becoming a regular fixture in the ladies calendar. Entering into the open competition this year we faced some stiffer challenges than our first silverware the previous summer, however there were also some great performances across the board even from the less natural 7s players. This was repeated in August at our second annual Carnival 7s at Frant Road where the ladies entered two teams and won the title.
September arrived and all of a sudden it was the start of the season again! A nervous start against old rivals St Francis saw us come away with a losing bonus point and a lot of building points to take into training. October saw mixed fortunes with a comprehensive loss against Medway, who look to be contenders for promotion this season. We also played a Development side, against Battersea Ironsides, almost exactly 3 years to the day after the ladies team was founded.
Having faced Canterbury in the cup and been outplayed earlier in the month, the SCRFC ladies went into the league fixture against them with an open mind and dogged determination, and managed to swing a 36-24 win. This was the start of a 4 game winning streak that saw wins against Ashford, Beccehamians and Worthing in November, as well as a challenging run out for our Development team against old adversaries Beckenham at the end of the month. Unfortunately, the adverse weather conditions saw the final fixture of the year against St Francis postponed and the team go into the Christmas break 3rd in the league with 4 wins from 6.
December put Streatham-Croydon on the national stage. Rhiannon Kennedy beat both male and female challengers across the country to win the Rhino Rugby #PropStar competition. She was presented with the prize by Martin Johnson on Twickenham turf in the halftime of the Varsity Match. We are grateful for everything Rhi does for us at the club and as a team, and for everyone for sharing and voting.
We are now averaging just short of 20 players each week at training and are able to put out a strong side with a decent bench most weeks, as well as building a growing development side. As you can see, we have had a successful and busy year, and we haven’t even been able to include everything in this brief summary. We would like to thank our supporters inside the club and out, those who show up to our games, those who help out with coaching, those who donate their time and money to keeping us going, and the committee members on the team who put in all the work behind the scenes to make this all happen. We are growing rapidly and can’t wait to smash 2018 too, starting with our cup fixture against St Francis on 7th January - as always, all support welcome! Happy Christmas from the Salamanders!
Updated 15:59 - 18 Dec 2017 by Millie Ross