Henley Hawks Provide the Bedrock for England Women’s RWC Triumph

world-cup-women'sAs many of you will already know, the England Women triumphed 21-9 last night at Stade Jean Bouin in Paris, in front of around 20,000 people, a world record for a Women’s game. You may also know that 4 of the players have all played for Henley in the past, and they all played crucial parts in the final.

First and foremost is Rocky Clarke, who won her 95th cap yesterday, and finally got her hands on the trophy after 2 losing finals. If you watched the game, you cannot fail to have been impressed by her first half-performance in particular, and in addition, she was on hand at the base of a ruck to deliver a pass that any scrum half would be proud of to keep the move going that led to the first try!!

And that try was eventually made by a great run and dummy through the centre by lock forward Tamara Taylor, and then scored by Danielle (Noli) Waterman, both former Henley players. Outstanding all round, and hopefully an inspiration to our already successful ladies side.

Both Rocky and Tamara effectively started their rugby careers at Henley under the wise stewardship of Jerry Edwards and Peter Allen, who both did so much to get our ladies side into the Premiership for 3 years.

There is a full article on Rocky and Tamara on the BBC site at the following link http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/28817806 and an extract from Tamara’s comments is below.

“My dad was beaming after the semi-final. He was wearing my 2006 World Cup shirt and my mum was wearing the 2010 shirt.

“They’ve always supported me right from when my dad used to drive me on a Wednesday night to Henley rugby club for my training sessions when I was 16 years old.

“He’d wait in the car park for an hour and a half then he’d drive me home. I think that’s what parents do; they go above and beyond for their children. I couldn’t be happier having them out here in France now.”

Rachel Burford, the fourth ex Henley player, also played a strong role throughout the game, and provided the perfect foil for Emily Scarratt in the in the centre, who scored all of England’s points apart from Danielle’s try.

Former Hawks Captain and Prop Rob Heginbotham has told us that he had a very happy Face book message from Rocky at about 3am Paris time, and she had met up with several current and ex Henley players out there – if you were watching you may well have seen the Henley Hawks Women’s Banner proudly displayed at pitch side just by half way.

“It was very obvious that Rocky and Tamara had massive talent when they arrived at the Hawks, and as a Hawks prop (just) at the time, I took a lot of interest in Rocky in particular.”

Rob further added “All the Henley girls were tremendous – total 110% commitment and bags of talent and skills, but personally I don’t think I have seen a better half of top level rugby from a prop, male or female, than the one delivered by Rocky yesterday…..ball carries in double figures, loads of tackles, excellent scrummaging against (supposedly) the best front row in the competition – Rocky hammered her opponent, which was vital because we were under serious pressure on the other side of the scrum. I personally never got close to anything as good as this – a brilliant performance which set the tone for the whole game – certainly MOTM for the first half!!”

The club is now looking at arrangements to celebrate the WRWC success and honour the former Henley players, and will announce news of this as soon as possible.

In the meantime, come and watch some of the great talent on show with the current Henley Women’s XV, now under the astute guidance of Ali Mortimore and his team. They are now in the Championship, one step from the Premiership again, and who knows, you might just see some World Cup winners on the pitch – either for Henley or the opponents – since former Henley player Rachel Burford now plays for Thurrock, and they are due here on October 12th for a league match – which is also HOP-IT weekend.   Get the date in your diary!!