NORTHWICH took a major step towards girls' - and women's - rugby on Saturday.
The Moss Farm club held a development day for girls as a forerunner towards the launch of an Under 16s team, possibly before the end of the season.
Coach Phil Clarke said: 'The idea was to locate more girls who wanted to take up the game that we did not already know about.
'We found some girls and had already held a tag tournament two weeks earlier, so we have more than enough to start the team.
'At that age the girls play 12-a-side and we are hoping for a couple of games before this season ends.'
Clarke is also rugby development officer for Sport Cheshire. He added: 'There is a big interest in rugby among girls and it will become an established part of our club, just as junior boys is. Northwich have become increasingly involved in the community - and the next thing, hopefully, is
'There is some interest and we must show our girls there is a route forward for them to take.
'At the moment we have five girls playing for our Under 11s team, but after next season, the RFU dictates mixed rugby comes to an end and they are normally lost to the game.'
As the girls' game grows, it is possible it will be reshaped to form Under 14s and 17s teams.
Clarke believes Northwich could operate teams at each level, eventually feeding into a women's team.
The Under 16s side are the fore-runners. Northwich are pacesetters for the county, but by next season, teams at Crewe & Nantwich and Sandbach may be running. Up to eight will be in operation in Merseyside and Manchester.
'It will be friend-lies next season and probably a North West league the season after,' added Clarke. a women's team.