A RUGBY coach’s vision has become a beautiful reality.

It was little more than two years ago that Kathleen Digby, who coaches at Alton, had a dream of transforming girls’ and ladies’ rugby in the area.

So every Tuesday evening, no matter the weather, Anstey Park now plays host to large and ever-increasing numbers of female players experiencing the delights of training for and playing rugby.

And last month saw the culmination of Kathleen’s efforts as Anstey Park hosted the town’s first youth rugby tournament for girls, with 120 players taking part.

Teams from Winchester, Havant, Petersfield, Farnham, Ellingham & Ringwood, Readingensians, Bracknell, Newbury and Camberley joined Alton’s under-13 and under-15 girls’ squads in what turned out to be a wonderful afternoon of rugby.

In all, under-10s, under-11s, under-13s, under-15s and under-18s age groups were represented across the 11 clubs.

And in another first for Alton Rugby Club, the club was able to field a complete 15-a-side team for the under-15 girls’ age group. They played a full match against a more experienced Havant team and won 24-12.

There were also a number of other firsts on the day, with the under-18s playing Xrugby sevens for the first time and the under-10s and under-11s having their first chance to try scrummaging, under the guidance of a team of experienced coaches.

Tournament organiser Kathleen said: “It was brilliant to see so many girls playing rugby and having such a great time.

“I’d like to thank all the coaches and parents, and the many Aton Rugby Club volunteers serving sustaining food and drinks, who made it possible.

“We hope that, with their help, this will be the first of many successful events promoting girls’ rugby.”

Any girls or ladies who want to try rugby should head to Anstey Park on a Tuesday evening.

Pictures: Nigel Youell