Fakenham Foxes getting rugby wise

RUGBY: Fakenham Foxes women’s team are determined that their sport should become a permanent fixture of the town’s sporting calendar as they compete in their second season of competitive rugby as one of only three women’s teams in the county, writes Peter Bird.

They aim to improve last year’s win-loss ratio by taking on stronger teams which they hope will help them improve their skills. To get that quality of competition they are taking on away games that involve six-hour round journeys.

It is their second year in the RFU’s Eastern Three Division and long journeys are essential with so few competitive teams in the region, even though women’s rugby is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country.

Formed in 2006 to play the occasional friendly match, the Foxes dived into the competitive field last year only to discover that although there were some wins they also lost by some brutally large scores such as a 76-0 drubbing by Market Deeping.

On Sunday that score was reduced to 22-5, albeit still in their visitors’ favour. But that showed progress which was underlined by their win in their previous match, their first of the season, against Leyton Buzzard 33-19.

“We were very green last year,” admits captain Mandy Warren. But the experience was put to good use and the team, with five new players, all determined to improve, trained right throughout the summer under new coach, Rex Hargrave. “I hope we’ll cope much better this winter,” added Warren.

Her optimism is based on training which has brought a better standard of fitness and where game plans have been practised until they hopefully become automatic.

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“There’s been a vast improvement and I’m proud of the work put in by all of the team,” said Warren.

With the senior men’s team going through a lean period it could be up to the women to carry the banner of success in the near future.

That hope goes with them when they travel to their next competitive fixture away to Essex team Stanford Le Hope on Sunday, October 31.

n Team picture and match report on page 47.