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Heysham Atoms Ladies prepare for friendlies and debut season

Heysham Atoms Ladies

Heysham Atoms Rugby League Club’s ladies team is looking ahead to an exciting few months.

Their second ever game as a club, a friendly against Leigh Miners Rangers Ladies, is on Sunday (February 19). It will be their first at Powder House Lane.

That is before they start playing in a development league – the North West Counties Women’s Rugby Development League – next month.

Their captain Jadine McVernon spoke to Beyond Radio about her time at the club and the upcoming games.

“I joined the club around June last year and that was when we created the club," said Jadine.

"We started training in the summer, did some pre-pre season training over Christmas and started back again in January. We just kept going with training because all the girls are really keen to carry on.”

The team has a good number of ladies turning up to training.

“Training is really good, we get really good numbers.

"We train on a Monday and Wednesday and usually have 14 or 15 girls training. We go through ball-handling skills, contact and, with it being pre-season at the moment, we’re doing a bit of fitness work.

“We have a few girls who train with us who have played for the Vale of Lune. Because they come from rugby union, they are learning the basics like playing the ball, three player tackles and things like that.”

Andy Helme and Dave McVernon are the coaches and have really helped the team.

“Andy is really keen to get the girls going at their best at the start of their rugby careers," said Jadine.

"My dad Dave is assistant coach helping out and Dan Helme was also helping to coach but he’s part of the men’s team so he’s focusing on his season.”

The team’s first game was a friendly at Whitley Bay Barbarians, which they lost 38-4.

“It wasn’t the result we wanted but I think, because it was our first game, we were thrown at the beginning of it, but in the second half we picked it up and got that try.

“I think with the Whitley Bay game, we were really nervous but since then we’ve picked up on those silly mistakes that we did just out of nerves.”

The players are really looking forward to the next friendly against Leigh Miners Rangers Ladies.

“A lot of us are really excited, there’s a lot of new people since the first game. We’ve got a new kit now and it just feels like a proper team now, going out for our friendly of the year.

“It’s a great group of girls to be honest, they’re all great and just really keen to play and do well.

“We’re now going into a development league before we go into a proper league with fixtures but teams we can play against when we get dates are Wigan St Jude’s, Ashton Bears, Rochdale Mayfield - they’re more of our local teams.

“But there are also teams from far away such as Brentwood and Leamington Spa so they are some away days that are exciting for the girls.

“We’re always welcoming more players. Whether you’ve played rugby before and you want to find a team, or you’ve never played rugby before, you can come down and train!”

The ladies team have already received lots of support in terms of sponsorship from Alex Willis, Sprayed Concrete Solutions, PudPud Catering and Lingwood Security Management, with Tezoro Sports supplying the kits.

Heysham Atoms Ladies’ team train on Mondays at Morecambe Bay Academy from 7pm-8pm and on Wednesdays at Salt Ayre at the same time.

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