Tough girls shape up

They’re seen as a sporting oddity but there can be no question that women’s rugby players are just as committed to reaching excellence as in more traditional sports for the gentler sex.

Ebanks joined through Storie's invite

Ebanks joined through Storie’s invite. Photo: Ron Shillingford

They are gearing up for the Caribbean championships in Barbados in June and training just as hard as the guys at the rugby club in South Sound.

Head coach is Neil Ackerman and he is ably assisted by Jason Scarff and Phillip Fourie.

Ackerman said: ‘The girls have improved significantly. Three of us have been coaching them since October last year. We took them to the Sevens in the Bahamas, they did really well and then to Miami recently where they didn’t pick up any wins but the scores were very close.

‘We saw significant improvement from our players who were up against university players from Division One and Two teams. Considering as well we only had a squad of around 25 whereas the Americans have around 200 to pick from, we did really well.

‘We’re looking forward to the Caribbean championships.’

There are several new faces in the latest squad, mainly because quite a few have been injured recently and some are taking a break for various reasons.

‘Yes, we’ve had a bit of an injury crisis but we’re happy to see a lot of local girls are coming in and we hope they’ll learn quickly and be ready for the Caribbean championships.’

This squad is desperate for sponsorship. Ackerman added: ‘We don’t have a major sponsor at the moment so the girls are on the look out for sponsorship.

‘They’re doing their own fundraising like selling raffle tickets and going to pubs doing shows. So if it’s possible, if there are any sponsors out there, it will be highly appreciated.’

Caymanian Delicia Ebanks is one of the new girls in squad. Saturday was only her second training session yet she is loving it. ‘I’m only playing because my supervisor at Dms, Anne Storie, plays rugby and she invited me because I already play flag football and netball.

‘I love it, it’s a really good sport, I just need to get fit. Here, I get to tackle whereas in flag I don’t get to tackle, so there’s fun in that. I really enjoy it.’

What about the potential injuries? ‘In my first session on Wednesday I got my first rugby bruise, but I’m fine. I do hope to get in the team for Barbados, but I hope to learn all the rules so that I don’t get confused and end up on the wrong side of the team.’

Storie said: ‘I’ve been here almost two years. I used to play in Chicago too, although when I first started playing I’d never seen a game before. We didn’t grow up watching rugby.

‘I knew Delicia played flag and I suggested she came down and watch rugby. She did and now I think she’s a great addition to the team. We’ve got two other girls in the side, Krista Pell and Camille Solomon, so hopefully our boss, Don Seymour, will put something in.’

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