Ross Sutherland women are Highland history makers
Rugby for women and girls is one of the fastest-growing team sports in the world; whether you’re tall or short, powerful or fast, no matter what age – rugby is a game for everyone.
The women’s game continues to expand across the country, and this month a brand-new team from Ross Sutherland made history playing in the club’s first ever women’s match!
Talking to Scottishrugby.org during Scottish Women & Girls in Sport Week, captain Natalie Reid discusses the team’s journey from touch rugby to their first full-contact game.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with Ross Sutherland over the years,” said Natalie.
“My husband has been a member of the club since he was 6-years-old, and we have known each other since we were at high school. So, I’ve always been around the club; on the side-lines cheering or socialising in the clubhouse.”
But in the Summer this year, Natalie made the switch from supporter to player, taking part in the club’s touch rugby league with the aim of building up her fitness.
“I now have a 3-year-old daughter, and since having her I have been trying to get my fitness levels back up. I was doing a lot of running on my own, and I fancied switching things up and decided to go along to touch rugby in the summer.
“The fitness side of things was great, but what I enjoyed most was the fact I made so many new friends and I was getting so much out of it beyond the physical aspects.”
As the touch rugby league wrapped up, the women taking part decided they wanted to keep going.
“We all just had so much fun playing touch rugby! We had built a really strong bond, and we started saying to each other ‘maybe we should start a women’s team’ and then before we knew it, we had a date in the diary for our first official women’s training session at the end of July.
“I wasn’t entirely sure that contact rugby was going to be for me. I remember leaving for the first session and saying to my husband ‘I’ll give it a go, but chances are this is a one off’, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’ve been every single week since and haven’t missed a single training session!”
And just three months on from their first training session, the team have played their first ever game. Combining with players at Inverness Craig Dunain, the club hosted Garioch women’s development team on Saturday 16 October.
“Originally we were going to have more of a training day where we would do some touch rugby, some contact drills and build up to some short contact games but on the day we decided, ‘you know what, let’s just go for it and play a full game’.
"We were so glad that we went for it, it was such a great first game and we came away with so much confidence and excitement to build on that performance."
“I can hardly believe that after just three months we have gone from touch rugby to our first actual game. I am so proud of the commitment from the ladies, they have put in so much effort to learn and develop their skills.”
Adding to what was already a milestone event in the club’s history, Emily Sutherland scored the first try for Ross Sutherland Ladies team, met with huge applause and cheering from the side-lines.
“Any time there was a good tackle made or when we got a try you could hear everyone cheering, and it was just a total buzz! It meant a lot to us to have such a crowd along to support us.” Natalie Reid
And support hasn’t just been pitch-side, Natalie adds that everyone at the club has been helping to drive the women and girls’ game forward at Ross Sutherland, saying:
“Everyone at the club has been really supportive of the development of the team. Our committee seem really focused and committed to helping grow the game and help build a strong pathway for girls who are playing at the club to progress onto.
“It means a lot to know we have that support and backing within the club.
“We have new women and girls joining the club all the time, it’s a really exciting time. Hopefully with the way things are going, in a couple of years’ we will be able to play in a competitive league. We know that will take a bit of time to get there but I’m confident we will get there.”
Scottish Rugby's Rugby Development department are hosting a number of Game Play Opportunities for women and girls across the country throughout the 2021/22 season.
For more information, click HERE.