Barnes RFC is on the verge of being able to boast of our first international cap for a player who has risen up through the ranks from Barnes Minis, progressing through the juniors and now playing U19s over in the USA.
Last week USA Rugby announced their selection of 178 young men and women who will trial at 4 All-American winter camps in California, ranging from U18 and U19, with Barnes RFC’s own minis graduate Lauren Ferridge amongst the 60 girls set to compete within the U18 age group.
Lauren is currently representing Maryland Exiles at state level (which would be something along the lines of our county grades) whilst finishing her final year of high-school and has already been approached by Ivy League Dartmouth College to play whilst she studies. However, Lauren’s journey began a while ago at Barnes RFC when our minis and juniors section was just in its fledgling years.
Back in 2007, Lauren’s father Hugh was one of the founding coaches of the Minis and juniors section and Lauren routinely tagged along on weekends with mum Tracy to help sell coffee and donuts to raise funds for the club while her dad coached the boys. Being fed up of sitting on the side lines watching the boys have all the fun, she decided to get stuck in and proved to be an absolute natural, giving the lads a real run for their money. She was the first girl to ever play for Barnes in the minis or juniors section and was a regular, committed member of the squad all the way through to U11s, at which point she moved with her parents to the USA.
Since arriving in the USA, Lauren has been unstoppable on the Rugby scene. Although Hugh says it was tough to find a decent club when they arrived, Lauren was soon playing for Maryland Exiles, and at just 14 was voted in as team captain, helping the Exiles win the Regional Cup Tournaments State Championships for 3 years running. This is a pathway championship for players working towards collegiate rugby in the states and ultimately national representation, which makes it an incredibly intense and competitive arena. During the most recent championship earlier this year, Lauren played every position within the forwards, including a stint at inside centre – a truly versatile player.
As mentioned, Lauren will be heading to college in the Autumn of 2019, and has already been approached by Dartmouth College, one of 8 Ivy League universities in the North Eastern States, to represent the college in rugby - as well as complete her studies as a straight A student of course. Dartmouth Women are the current US collegiate champions so with a rugby CV like Lauren’s it seems she’ll be right at home.
And in the meantime, as mentioned, we expect that Lauren will continue to make waves at the USA Rugby’s training camps over the winter, and hopefully in the not too distant future will hit that pinnacle of representing a national team in our wonderful sport.
At this time of year, it’s incredibly important to celebrate rugby, not only with the memorial of Ebenezer Cobb-Morley, a founder of Barnes RFC who basically helped to make rugby what it is today, but also the successes our little club has made over the last few years.
From the perspective of women’s rugby at the club, we find regularly that new players who join our club are impressed by the levels of integration that we have at the club for our ladies team and how embedded we are within the heart and the spirit of the club – and although we still have some way to go, unfortunately this is not the case for other clubs and many of them still have a lot of catching up to do.
Similarly, not only could we see our first international player in Lauren, who was part of the core minis and juniors squad that started up 10 years ago, but we’ve expanded our minis and juniors to over 500 players in the last few years, complete with our own newly form junior girls section to ensure that our girls have the same opportunities to play rugby and to build future continuity for the women’s section at the club.
We’d like to wish Lauren Ferridge all of the best for her trials with USA Rugby, and thank Hugh and Tracy for encouraging her to follow her dreams and be an inspiration for the next generation of Barnes girls, and particularly for providing the foundation that so many other minis and juniors are enjoying today thanks to the hard work that Hugh, Jason and Chris put in all those years ago.
For more info on the All American Winter Camps, check out this link: All American USA Rugby winter camps
Updated 13:19 - 4 Mar 2019 by Scribbler