Coleraine Cobras got their season off and running last Wednesday night when they met rivals Ballymoney.
The scoreline didn’t go Coleraine’s way, with the Ballymoney girls winning 20-7, but team Cobras captain Amy Chestnutt says there’s plenty to be positive about at Sandel Lodge.
“This is our second season as a team,” explained the 24-year-old.
“We knew the game against Ballymoney would be tough. They are a very strong side and have a good front row.
“But on the other hand, we had some really good performances on the night.
“It’s good to start with some points on the board.”
The Ladies, coached by Brian Kneelands, James Carson and Bokke Carson have been in pre season trainign since the start of August, and Amy said that they are always on the look out for new players.
“We have a good mix of players in the squad, and we have managed to attract a few new players this year.
“Hope Ohlrich, who is new to rugby, played her first game on Wednesday night and was excellent.
“She showed a lot of promise in training, so played in a forward position and didn’t look out of place.
“She had shown great progress since she started with us.
“Centre Rachael Wallace ia another new addition.
“She has been working really hard in pre season and I was so pleased to see her grab a try in the game against Ballymoney.”
Amy also praised teenager Bethany Harper, who has been training with the Cobras, but was unable to play until she turned 18.
“Most of the girls in the team have some kind of sporting background, “explained Amy.
“Some have come in after playing ladies rugby at university, others have played hockey, and there are some who are totally new, so it’s a good mix.
“We have a bit of fun and that’s what it’s all about.
“I was pleased with the attitude of the girls against Ballymoney.
“Considering we had so many new players, it will take a bit of time for us all to gel.
“In our opening match last season we lost 50-0, so starting off this season being so competitive and getting points on the board can only be seen as a positive.”
Ladies Rugby is a big sport in England and Scotland, but Amy reckons that it is really taking off in Northern Ireland.
“Ladies rugby is one of the fastest growing sports around.
“You only have to look at Ireland Ladies who won the Six Nations this year.
“I think that their win has really raised awarness of the sport, and rubbed out any notion that ladies can’t play rugby.
“Lots of the senior clubs in the Province have ladies teams.
“You only have to look at our league, there is Ballymoney, Malone 2, Donegal, Harlequins, Ballynahinch, Ards,” told Amy.
“We have had a really positive reaction to the team here at Coleraine.
“Some of the Firsts have offered to come along to matches and give us pointers.
“Last season we had players that came along to help us on match days.
Amy added: “We would love to see more girls getting involved.
“You do not have to have had any previous rugby experience, we welcome anyone, just as long as you are over 18.”
Amy went on to thank their sponsors Greg Neely Construction, JKC Coleraine, Get Gorgeous and ARK. The Ladies train every Wednesday night at the Rugby Club from 6pm, visit their Facebook page.