Hampstead ladies are aiming high as they target spot in Women’s Premiership

The Hampstead ladies section is going from strength to strength

The Hampstead ladies section is going from strength to strength - Credit: Archant

Hampstead’s Ladies have set their sights on the Women’s Premiership, having achieved five promotions since 2004 and got within touching distance of the top domestic league.

Hampstead have made a blistering start to the new season in the Championship Division Two South East, winning four out of their opening five league games in the third tier of the national pyramid.

Two further promotions for the first team, who play their home games on Hampstead Heath, would take them to the promised land – and flanker Kella Kapnisi believes they can realistically dream about the English title.

“Our goal is definitely the Premiership, although it’s getting tougher and tougher the greater we get,” the 25-year-old she told Ham & High Sport.

“We’ll keep persevering until we reach this goal. We are only going forward and I believe this is very possible for us.”

Hampstead is one of England’s fastest-growing women’s rugby clubs, and one of the largest in the capital, with 60 players and a further 200 people receiving emails and newsletters.

Kapnisi is aware of the role that a sports club can play in the community, and she is determined to see an even greater influx of members in the coming years.

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“We’ve had 30 new players this campaign alone, which has enabled us to take full squads to matches, and we’d love to keep pushing for a third team,” she said.

“We have two teams that get filled every week, as well as a girls’ Under-16s team – their first season was last year and they are doing really well. Some of them have been taken on by regional sides.

“We love to see more people join our club. The second team did fantastically last season, getting promoted from National Challenge London Division Three, and this season they’re doing even better in South East Division Two.

“We welcome people of all ages and abilities - ranging from those who are just starting out to those who have played for over a decade.

“Rugby is the sort of sport where most girls don’t start playing until they are adults. Many of our top players didn’t start playing until their early twenties, having gone to university.

“Every year we get many girls that have never touched a ball before. It’s something that we’re used to.

“We have hugely experienced coaches who separate beginners from advanced players in training and tailor the sessions to the relevant ability. Having two teams means that everyone who wants to play will get the chance to do so.”

Hampstead’s ladies train at Parliament Hill running track on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 7pm to 8.30pm. They also hold charity fundraisers every year and pride themselves on a strong social core, in conjunction with the men’s teams.

The clubhouse is the White Horse pub in Hampstead, and the annual Christmas Carol Crawl around local bars is on the horizon, among other fundraisers throughout the year.

The ladies are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, so a big tour is being planned for next May.

Recent ventures have included trips to Southwold Rugby Festival and an excursion to Snowdon, so expectations are high for a 2014 event which will commemorate the milestone in the club’s history.

“We’re not sure exactly where we’re going to go just yet, but plans are underway for a big barbeque next summer, that’s for sure,” said Kapnisi.

If you’d like more information on how to join Hampstead Ladies Rugby Club, you can visit the club’s website www.hampsteadrugbyclub.co.uk/ladies or email hampsteadladies@gmail.com. For the latest news you can follow the club’s Twitter account – @hampsteadladies.