As the Super League A (SLA) approaches the business end of its season, the Women’s League is about to kick off.
Surviving off friendly matches and organised Tens tournaments, the False Bay Women’s group have been fastidiously training twice a week in anticipation of this season, the delay in the announcement of fixtures not enough to dampen their enthusiasm.
False Bay travel to Kuils River for their first league match this Saturday and then a home match the following week.
Attendances at practices are high, the energy levels even higher, and the spirit among the players highest.
Started a few months before Level 5 Lockdown in 2019, first practices were attended by a paltry group, some initially self-conscious of their ability, but determined nevertheless. Word got out that coach Zoe Naude knew her oats, her structured practices designed to build from scratch, the basics of the game paramount to maintain development, interest and safety.
Two years later, the Bay Women’s team were given their first opportunity to wear the shirt in a match, and since then they, senior and junior teams, have participated in tournaments across the peninsula and hosted a tour match against the Royal Navy’s Women’s team, themselves on a groundbreaking first-ever overseas tour.
Evidence of the strides this group has made over since inception is the selection of three players, Lauren Adams, Thandolwethu Hena and Charlize Cha-Cha in the senior WP team in the Women’s Premier League.
The WP Women’s team took home silver this year. Further recognition of the talent available is the call up of seven under-20 players to the Western Province trials, of which three (possibly four) have progressed to the second round which took place yesterday. WP under-20 will participate in the under-20 YTC Tournament to be held in Cape Town on Saturday August 6 and Sunday August 7.
Testimony of the popularity of the women’s game is the burgeoning junior section. Numbers are growing and the prospect of fielding under-16 and under-18 teams is very real.
“This shows that what we are doing on and off the field is working and the girls are encouraging their friends to come play”, says Naude.
“On July 9, our junior team played three Sevens matches against the Amazionians. The matches were a success and rugby was the real winner of the day.
“Our seniors are raring to play some competitive rugby so we are hoping to receive more information about the start of the league soon,“ said Naude.
In the meantime, the Super League A approaches the end of the round robin section and False Bay have four matches left, three of which are at home.
This Saturday they host SK Walmer at the Philip Herbstein Fields, and after two losses in recent matches, the Bay are on full alert to avoid other potholes in the road to the Top Six.
Their Second XV, hitherto unbeaten, too have four matches in front of them. With SK Walmer, Maties, Hamilton and UCT ahead of them, the slightest of errors is the difference and coach Ryan van Niekerk knows this all too well. Similarly, the under-20 A team are performing exceptionally well, with similar challenges and risks ahead. It’s everything to lose for both outfits.
The under-20s open the programme on Saturday at 1.30pm and the main game starts at 4pm. All are welcome.