Yatton RFC make history with first ever under-nine game

All smiles for Yatton Raiders as they pose for the camera.

All smiles for Yatton Raiders as they pose for the camera. - Credit: Yatton Raiders

A local rugby club has fielded what could be the youngest female team in the country. 

Yatton RFC has assembled an all-girl under-nines squad, which played its first competitive match against Wells RFC’s all-boy under-nines team on Sunday, November 28.

It was the first time in Yatton’s 54-year history that it has fielded an all-female minis team and is the result of years of hard work to encourage more girls into the club. 

Rob Daniel, coach of Yatton’s under-nine squad, said: “We know that the younger generation are the future of the club so we’ve invested a lot of time and energy into our youth squads. 

“Every Sunday we have up to 300 kids playing here – it’s a wonderful community asset. 

“We believe that girls can enjoy rugby just as much as boys, and our female minis squad is testament to that.” 

A big crowd assembled at Wells’ Charter Way ground to watch Eliza Goss, Poppy Homer, Isabella Mann, Eva Balaskas-Wakelam, Poppy Hepworth, all aged eight, and Harriet Helliwell, Rosie Hammond, both aged nine, take to the pitch last month.

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A strong start for Wells saw them take advantage of some early gaps in the defence whilst the Raiders found their rhythm and fought back.  

Poppy Hepworth made some inspirational tackles to deny Wells on several occasions. 

The Raiders then turned defence into attack when quick thinking at the breakdown from Harriet Helliwell allowed Eliza to score the first try for their team.  

This was quickly followed up when Isabella confidently punched through Wells’ defence time and time again to create space for Eva, who jinked into the corner to score again. 

A quick Wells score was matched by an awesome solo effort from Rosie. 

But Wells lived up their tough reputation, scoring a flurry of unstoppable tries early in the second half to ensure they kept their noses in front.  

Daniel said: “It was a tough first game for the girls but they showed great fighting spirit. 

“The important thing is that they all enjoyed it and proved that the future of rugby in Yatton is looking very bright.”