The new Bedford Blues Women’s side may have endured a particularly tough start to life, but last night (Wednesday), they were given a welcome surprise as two England Women’s players joined a live chat with the members.
The ladies, who formed the side in January, were only in training for two months before the first lockdown hit; with most of their training consigned to Zoom for the majority of the Summer.
However, they made the most of it, with online training sessions, quiz nights and Thursday evenings learning the laws of the game, making sure they are in top condition to get going when competitive rugby resumes.
For a lot of the ladies, the new side has saved them from the pressures of lockdown.
“I can honestly say training and being part of this amazing rugby family has saved me during this weird time”, says Lauren Mason, who attended two training sessions in February before the lockdown hit.
“I started 2020 not having a clue about rugby and now I don’t know how to cope without it.”
Over 30 individuals from across the junior and women’s section of the Blues tuned in for the Q&A with England stars Natasha Mo Hunt and Lark Davies.
Hosted by Will Roberts, the questions covered everything from confidence to training techniques, from the social element to comparisons with the men’s game, as the Red Roses imparted some of their wisdom on to the younger players just starting out.
“It’s a ridiculous sport [and a] quality sport but the best thing about it all is that you make friends for life along the way”, began Natasha Mo Hunt with questions on all sorts of topics coming in.
“One of the best things about the sport is the social element…You learn a lot about your teammates off the pitch and that’s so important when it comes to games on it.”
Another topic covered was the comparison to the men’s game, with both Natasha and Lark agreeing that more needs to be done to boost the exposure of the Women’s game.
“It was a huge moment for Women’s rugby with the international games broadcast on prime time TV”, said Davies as her teammate nodded in agreement.
“It’s a good start, but we need more media exposure and more sponsorship to give the game the boost it deserves, and only then will the sport grow to the level it should.”
Closer to home however, the Blues are eager to kick start their journey with competitive rugby and are well prepared to do so, with over 30 members signed up.
Lucy Middleton is a young mother and was one of the first to sign up at the team’s inception back in January, and wants to be a positive role model for youngsters.
“My two children love coming along with me to training and my daughter, who is three-years-old, loves running around with a ball in her hand.”
“If I can be a role model for her, and others, and show that women can do anything they set their minds to, I’m a happy mum!”
With the tentative reopening of society, and promising news of a vaccine on the way, the women are quietly confident they can kick off 2021 in better shape than twelve months earlier.