A FEW years ago Tina Thomas was leading a new and rather inexperienced ladies rugby team out of the dressing rooms at Tumble and down a rather wet and muddy path to a very wet and muddy field to play one of their first home games.
As a reporter extremely interested in the development of the ladies game I went along and filmed and photographed that game. The referee had his work cut out that day but he was optimistic as I remember saying something like, ‘within a short space of time these ladies will be great’. He wasn’t wrong.
At the end of that season I remember going along on a bus with Burry Port Ladies rugby team up to the Bowl Championship just outside Caerphilly. That game was a wonderful spectacle to watch. The jubilation felt by all was electric on the coach on the way home. The ladies received a great welcome back at the rugby club where as Bill McLaren would say ‘they’ll be dancing in the streets of Burry Port tonight’.
Y Piod Pinc are now just one of a growing number of ladies rugby teams across Wales and the development, thanks to the Welsh Rugby Union and numerous sponsors in small communities across Wales. The ladies game has well and truly arrived in Wales.
Today’s game against Taffs Well, themselves Bowl Winners was set to be a tough match for the ladies in pink. Both sides were struggling to field a full team. Taffs Well in particular had been struck with injuries. A large crowd had gathered to cheer on both sides and to be entertained.
The first half was reasonably evenly matched with a try a piece through some great open play from both teams. The second half was an entirely different matter as Y Piod Pinc stormed away running in some great tries and demonstrating to the Bowl winners that they were more than up for a battle.
Speaking to Wales News Online before the game Tina said it had been a very long season. “The First year was a nightmare. We were getting smashed every week. To get where we are today with the same bunch of girls is tremendous. It is getting there but it is a slow process. We get help but a lot of it is done by asking local sponsors. We would be lost without them.”
Lily Gallagher captain of Taffs Well said: “We are in our fourth season, and a couple of weeks ago we won the Women’s Bowl and last year we were runners up. We have done pretty well. We have had a lot of new players into the game. We have a variety of women playing. Our youngest is 18 and our oldest is late forties. We have a very diverse age range and different backgrounds in the team. I coach minis and juniors.”
The game was played in the great spirit of sport and even though Y Piod Pinc put more than 45 points passed Taffs Well they applauded each other off the field in the great tradition of Welsh rugby.
The game ended Tumble Ladies 44 – 7 Taffs Well Ladies
Tries – Phoebe West, Darcy Hardy, Whitney Hardy, Alaw Hughes, Nicole Davies, Megan Samuel
Conversions- Whitney Hardy, Hannah Stephens