Category Archives: Women’s Rugby

Women’s Rugby Academy win prestigious AoC National Women’s Cup

By Ella Sezen,

For the final fixture of the season, Worthing College Women’s Rugby Academy travelled up to Birmingham for the AoC National 7’s, having qualified regionally.  This was the last time many of the team wore the blue and white kit of Worthing.

First up, Worthing faced NC Pontefract, who they had never played before. The West Yorkshire team were physically strong and showed clear talent through their off-loading ability, but Worthing’s speed proved too much for them to compete against. Pontefract’s kick off was seen out by Martina Giampaglia for an early Worthing lineout. A line break from Captain Emily Hird allowed space out wide for Aimee Porter to score under the posts, allowing for Giampaglia to convert the try. Isobel Mayhew then scored two tries using a quick step and her speed to run around Prontefract’s defence- Martina converting both.  A knock-on from Worthing allowed Pontefract briefly get back into the game with a score under the posts. Simple hands down the line from a scrum allowed Tatum Gabriel to get on the scoreboard. Pontefract demonstrated their powerfulness with their second try. Final score Worthing 29 NC Pontefract 14.

Isobel Mayhew “quick step” try

Worthing faced Hartpury next. Nerves were mixed with excitement as Worthing have fallen short of beating them before, despite coming close and knew that this was a must win game if they wanted to become National Champions. Worthing were first to score, with a team try; undoubtedly the try of the season. Aimee Porter, yet again showed off her speed and power, getting past 3 defenders to score out wide. Mayhew scored her third try of the tournament, yet again demonstrating her ability to manipulate the defence, breaking through them and putting the ball down under the posts. Hartpury kept their intensity high however, with strong counter-rucking. This allowed them to regain possession and score twice out wide. But Worthing couldn’t be stopped. Megan Brown scored a superb solo try, stepping around the defence and out running past them straight from the kick-off.

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Megan Brown superb solo try

An effective penalty move, allowed Brown to score again. The game was made closer yet, with Hartpury over-loading the wing to score another try. Final score 22-17.

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Megan Brown 2nd Try

An elated Worthing College had one final game to play versus Exeter College. Worthing had faced Exeter numerous times over the past season and they knew that they had the ability to win. Exeter were first to score however, which made Worthing realise that they would still have to play their hardest if they wanted to win the tournament. Exeter put immense pressure on Worthing, with a series of scrums on the 5 meter line. Worthing’s defence proved too much for Exeter, with a series of strong tackles from Roberta Haywood, Teya Ashworth and Lucy Relf. An Exeter line out was won by Lucy Relf and allowed Haywood to run blind and run off the defence scoring under the posts.

Roberta Haywood from a Lucy Relf steal at the lineout

Exeter scored again, meaning going into the second half Worthing would have to leave everything on the pitch if they were to win. A Worthing scrum allowed for them to realign and Emily Hird was able to use her speed and agility to run through Exeter’s defence, scoring an incredibly important try for her team. A series of off-loads enabled Roberta Haywood to get her second try of the game and ensured that Worthing had won their final game. Final score Worthing 19 Exeter 12.

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Emily Hird running through Exeter’s Defence.
Group Shot of all teams which qualified

Worthing, after 2 years of hard work and many ups and downs, had reached the ‘tip of the spear’ and were now AoC National Champions.

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Nadia, Megan and Captain Emily
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Tatum, Izzy, Emily and Ella S

“The AoC National Women’s Cup is one of the “major” trophies on the Women’s Rugby FE circuit and to finish third in one and win another shows that this Worthing College team has some of the best players in the country. I am so proud of the journey each player in the programme has made, and for them to peak at the right time is a credit to their hard-work, determination and perseverance. Credit goes to all the players but especially Emily Hird, who has captained the side through good and bad times over the last couple of years, and has lead them on this epic journey. I wish all the girls who are leaving this year, all the best for the future, and I will be looking forward to seeing them continue their rugby journey representing Universities and Premiership teams and of course England!” said Mark Rugman, Women’s Rugby Manager.


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Happy Coach #poser



Worthing come up short in first quest for National Silverware.

Worthing College repeated last years achievements by getting to the semi-final of the Rosslyn Park National Schools 7s tournament, losing to eventual winners Loughborough College.

IsobelFirst up for Worthing College was against a strong Coleg Sir Gar side, with a rich pedigree of rugby. Worthing College started the game with a deep kick, and were the first to strike with a great turnover from Martina Giampaglia and some neat handling to put Aimee Porter in the corner. Worthing scored again straight from the resulting kick off, with a neat show and go from Izzy Mayhew to score the first of a hat-trick. Worthing’s dominance continued with another try from Roberta Haywood just before half time to make the score 15-0. Worthing dominated the start of the 2nd half, with Isobel scoring again to go under the posts, missing the resulting conversion to make it 20-0. Worthing rung the changes, which gave Coleg Sir Gar more dominance of the game, with them scoring down the wing. However, in the last play of the game Isobel side stepped the full back to make the final score 27-7.

womens rugbyWorthing faced a powerful team next, in Neve Port Talbot. Despite an early score from the Welsh team, Worthing picked their heads up and showed their dominance through a series of well worked team tries. A switch from Nadia Bral and Emily Hird, gave Tatum Gabriel the space to run around the outside and score Worthing’s first try. Another perfectly placed deep kick from Martina Giampaglia, put their defence under pressure, leading to a Worthing scrum on the 5 metre line. Emily Hird took this opportunity to run through the defence and score under the posts which helped Martina to convert the try. Momentum of the opposition was restricted due to Teya Ashworth’s superb rucking. Tries from Destiny Jordon-Field, and Aimee Porter, meant Worthing comfortably won the game 27-7.

Try EllaThe third and final group game, saw Worthing face historic rivals SGS Filton. Nerves were high amongst the team, as Worthing have fallen short of beating Filton previously. Roberta Haywood made a tremendous run, stepping past the Filton defence to score first, making the score 7-0, the additional points added by Martina’s kick. A blinding intercept from Ella Pinkney, on her come back, helped Worthing to assert dominance in the first half. Filton showed determination and that they were a threat, with a try from a pick and go. In the second half, Tatum Gabriel made another one of her classic breaks and was supported by Beatrice Mora, who showed a great work rate to increase Worthing’s score. Filton scored again, making the final minutes of the game very tense. Emotions were running high and Isobel Mayhew saw a yellow card in the final 10 seconds of the game. Worthing down to 6 managed to keep a strong Filton attack away from the try line and kick the ball out to see Worthing beat SGS Filton for the first time in two years. Final score, 19-14, meaning Worthing finished top of their pool.

TackleIn the semi-final Worthing faced Loughborough. The game was well fought by Worthing, with clear passion and desire to reach the final, and the opportunity to play at Twickenham. Worthing had recently faced Loughborough in a 15’s fixture, so Worthing knew they were in for a tough match. Loughborough were first on the score sheet but Worthing were quick to respond with a try from Roberta Haywood and a conversion yet again from Martina Giampaglia. Worthing continued to fight hard, showing a clear development in their 7’s skills which put Loughborough under pressure; strong tackles from Aimee Porter and Isobel Mayhew. In the pool stage, Loughborough played one less game than Worthing which showed in the final stages of the game as Worthing started to tire. The opposition worked a series of impressive tries. In the final minutes of the game, Roberta showed her pace yet again scoring down the wing to set the final score as 27-12.

“The girls showed great spirit at Rosslyn Park, and it shows how far the girls have come when they are all absolutely devastated that they couldn’t beat eventual winners Loughborough College” said Mark Rugman Women’s Rugby Sporting Excellence Academy Manager. “The 2nd years really stepped up throughout the day, and it was so encouraging to see the journey they have been on whilst at the College”.

This was the 1st of 3 major competitions for the girls this year next up is the AoC National Championships on 20th-22nd April and AoC Women’s Cup on the 9th May.