There can’t be many rugby coaches who have had to lose one of their players midway through a major tournament because they had to take a ballet exam.
However, that was exactly the problem that Peterborough Rugby Club’s Simon Potter faced on Sunday, at Royston.
But this was no ordinary team.
This was an all-girls team playing in a tournament for boys teams, possibly the first time that has ever happened anywhere in the world.
And the girls taught the boys how to play!
In the Under 11s section of the Cambridgeshire Cup, they won their first four games, two of them against other club’s ‘A’ teams and the other two against ‘B’ sides, to reach the “B” Section final.
That was just one step too much, though, as they lost by three tries to one against Cambridge’s ‘B’ team.
“I am so proud of this team,” said Paddy Murray, one of the coaches. “We were the talk of the tournament. It would have been nice to win that final, but just getting there was a massive triumph not only for us but for girls rugby as a whole.”
The girls beat the Newmarket, St Ives and Saffron Walden B teams and also their colleagues, the Peterborough ‘B’ team, scoring 24 tries and conceding just four.
Fellow coach Simon Potter added: “I said before the tournament that putting the girls team into it would either end up as an abject failure or a magnificent triumph. I have to admit I shed a tear of pride at the end of it at what these wonderful players achieved.
“This was history in the making. I don’t think any other girls team has ever done what we’ve done today. This is such a very special group of players. The sky’s the limit for them in years to come. We’re going places!”