Rugby women set to run again in 2019
A BIGGER, brighter and better season promises to be ahead when the 2019 Emily Cherry Cup kicks off on the Downs tomorrow.
Nine teams take to the field at Dalby and Warwick to launch the second official season of the Downs Rugby Women's Sevens' competition.
Dalby, Condamine, Toowoomba Bears, Gatton and Goondiwindi meet in a series of matches at Dalby's John Ritter Oval from 9.50am.
Warwick, Toowoomba Rangers, St George and USQ get their season underway when they all meet at Warwick's Risdon Oval from 1pm.
Toowoomba Bears are defending premiers after winning the inaugural cup - named in honour of Roma's star Australian rep Emilee Cherry - with a 41-0 win over USQ on Risdon Cup grand final day at Clive Berghofer Stadium.
All clubs play 23 games each in the regular 2019 season, with the exception of the St George which plays 22, and is granted a bye and two competition points in lieu of its missed 23rd match.
USQ will be coached this year by Garrett Malone with Elvis Jensen assisting and Dimity Jaeger captaining.
Club president Stephen Pickersgill said the anticipated depth and strength of this year's competition will challenge all teams.
"Our recruitment has been successful this year. We have secured players from 2018 in addition to new interest," Pickersgill said.
"Some of these new players to the club played their first game of rugby at the Armidale carnival we attended in March this year.
"We've had successful pre-season training with the A-grade men assisting with welcoming a number of new players to the club, most having their first exposure to rugby 7s.
"The majority of these girls come from differing sporting backgrounds and we look forward to utilising those skills and finding their place on the field.
"With a strong commitment and positive outlook to training sessions I am in no doubt that this year we will have a good, fun year no matter what the scoreboard presents.
"We are in no doubt the competition will be tough.
"We look forward to playing all teams in addition to the new team St George.
"Like any year, a new season of rugby brings challenges we aim to overcome as the competition progresses.
"The standard of competition in conjunction with fitness will be major challenges during the first rounds."
Below are comments from club representative on how your team is shaping for 2019.
"The Condy Codettes are back for more after a fun and challenging 2018 season. Welcoming a new coach, and many new players to the sport, they are keen to get back to one of the best comps Downs Rugby has to offer." - Jess Mickelborough.
"Alongside our strong returning team, we have some new faces debuting and they are keen to show everyone what they're made of. Overall Dalby Wheatchix are feeling well prepared and positive about the upcoming season." - Shea Connors.
"The Toowoomba Bears have won back-to-back Emilee Cherry premierships and will be endeavouring to make it three from three this year." - Jason Black.
St George Filly Frillies
"With the introduction of the Filly Frillies into the Emilee Cherry Cup the St George & District Rugby Union Club will play its first ladies 7s competition game in Warwick today. The team is made up of around 35 young ladies from around the Dirranbandi and St George area, all eager to make their mark and impression on our first season." - Ben Gardiner.
"The Toowoomba Rangers Bullettes are looking forward to their second season in the competition after a successful first outing in 2018. With a number of new faces and a great vibe amongst the group, the club is looking forward to the ladies taking the paddock in Warwick this weekend." - Steve Weier.
"Prospects this year would be to increase our confidence as a team, as we have a lot of new players this year. So it's good to see them having a crack. Every training session the girls are improving more and more and gelling as a team." - Molly Long.
Warwick Water Rats
"Our returning team continues to improve, they have been training hard. We look forward to hosting round one and towards a successful season." - Andrew Williams.
Gatton Black Sows
"The Gatton Black Sows are looking forward to the 2019 season with a strong side of new and old girls alike eager to have fun, keep fit and promote women's rugby 7s in the Downs region." - Lucy Smith.