Supporting women's rugby in Norfolk with North Walsham Valkyries sponsorship 2nd May 2019Back
Situated just a few miles from our office in Norfolk, North Walsham Valkyries are part of North Walsham Rugby Club, which was founded in 1962. North Walsham RFC has close links with the Leicester Tigers (formed in 1880) who have produced numerous England internationals.
Participation in women’s rugby has grown exponentially in the last five years, with more than 26,000 women and girls now playing regularly. The Valkyries came together at the end of 2017, following a strong performance from England at the Women's Rugby World Cup.
Held in Ireland, twelve teams competed at the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup, travelling from Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Wales, England, Italy, Spain, United States, Australia, France, Ireland and Japan.
New Zealand went on to be crowned champions after beating England 41-32 in the final and will host the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup.
In September 2018, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) announced its plan to offer 28 full contracts and 7 elite player squad agreements for England Women from 1 January 2019. The squad will be based at the Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre in Berkshire, a prestigious training facility for the likes of the English Institute of Sport, England Hockey, Living Tennis and England Football.
With the RFU looking to drive growth in women’s rugby, it is an extremely exciting time for the Valkyries.
The girls were initially without sponsors and limited to using old shirts for games. However, Aedis stepped in to make sure they had the best possible kit and training equipment.
The investment has paid off, with the U15s storming to their first victory in December; a great achievement considering their lack of playing time together. Coaches Richard Polley and Sophie Bambridge are understandably very pleased with how things have gone.
Richard has coached rugby for 25 years and Sophie plays for Lakenham Hewett. She commended the girls for embracing the sport and reaping the rewards: "We've seen so many girls come along and absolutely love it. It's great to see them develop their rugby skills but more than anything I love to see how the team develops; they're building their own rugby family and gaining so much from it."
Although the U15 and U13 sides are inexperienced, they have held their own against established competitors such as Cambridge RUFC and are increasing in skill and confidence.
It hasn't taken long for their talents to catch the eye of other squads too, with four of the Valkyries being called up to the Eastern Counties training squad. Of the one U18s and three U13s now in the training squad, two U13s have been selected to play their first county fixture in a three way competition against the East Midlands girls and the Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire combined girls team. This is fantastic news for the team and coaches, especially considering they are yet to play a full season.
We'd like to wish the Valkyries all the best for the remainder of the 2018/19 season and the next. We look forward to hearing about their progress!