Women are flocking to be a part of the scrum at Blackheath Rugby Club.
Demand saw the creation of a second string particularly tailored to newcomers that will follow up its first season with a fresh set of fixtures in September.
Blackheath Women’s First Team captain Becky Watling has been a familiar face at the club for the past 11 years, taking on roles in both the squad’s back row or scrum half.
Her side will attempt to secure promotion next season after finishing second in the SE1 League earlier this year.
The 33-year-old physiotherapist told The Wharf rugby was “something I’ve always known” as her dad wore the team colours during the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Adopting the captain’s armband three seasons ago, she believes the impact of England’s victorious 2014 World Cup side has prompted the wave of new recruits.
“When I first started playing, rugby was seen as a bit rough and unladylike,” said Becky.
“If you’re not used to being physically active, it is a bit out there.
“But it has become more common because of the World Cup and our player base has grown massively.
“Usually, it would have been women that would have played informally at university or school, where as now there are a lot who have never played before.
“People are seeing it more, so they are more willing to give it a go.”
Training sessions take place twice weekly at Well Hall and pre-season officially starts at the end of July.
Action on the pitch will start in September but, in the meantime, touch rugby tournaments and rugby 10s provide opportunities to sweat it out in the summer.
And aside from fitness and sporting success, Becky said being a part of Blackheath Women was a good way to make new pals.
“There are normally around 25 of us on match day.
“I’ve been playing with some of the girls for the past decade – we train twice a week then there’s the match on Sunday – so you do get close friendships.
“The new people that arrive just get enclosed in that.”
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