Hampstead Ladies hope to build on sevens success in return to league action
PUBLISHED: 08:00 11 September 2014 | UPDATED: 15:00 11 September 2014
Hampstead Ladies are hoping that their success in sevens tournaments during the summer can provide a platform for a strong season as they return to league action.
Hampstead finished third in Championship South East Division Two in March, while also contesting the national Intermediate Plate final for the first time, before starting a sevens team and entering five competitions.
They won the Flynn Rose Bowl and then participated in the Wasps 7s event, where they faced Premier League teams but reached the semi-finals before losing to Finland.
Hampstead went on to contest the Elite Cup at the Summer Social 7s tournament, which included the England, Scotland and Wales national teams - and they then reached the final of the Legends Rugby 10s competition, losing in the last minute.
That was finally followed by another strong showing at the FRN 7s as the north Londoners reached the semi-finals of the Elite Cup before being eliminated by Saracens.
Fly-half Fran Hall has been instrumental in the success of the sevens team, and she has now taken over the first-team captaincy for the upcoming 15-a-side campaign.
She said: “We are definitely looking to keep the sevens team going. It is becoming such a popular sport now that it is an Olympic sport, making its first appearance in Rio in 2016.
“It’s hard work to keep the team going during the sevens season but it ends up being a lot of fun due to the spirit of the game.
“After the fantastic [15-a-side] season last year, followed by the sevens during the summer, we are definitely looking forward to a great season this year.
“The girls have been working really hard during the pre-season, we have some new faces and everything seems to be coming together for the start this weekend [away at Ashford].”
Number eight Elin Hywel has returned home to Wales while flanker Fran Athames has departed to join the army, and winger Elaine Kolinas will soon be heading back to Canada.
However, over a dozen new ladies have taken part in training, and Micha Palmer has become a member of the backs after playing regularly for the sevens team during the summer.
Helen Chapman is another new arrival, joining the coaching team, while James Coubrough continues in his role of head coach.