Fairfield might not be quite big enough to offer a full complement of sports clubs and teams, but you don’t have to go very far to find them – or to find Fairfield residents among their members. This month, Fairfield Park resident Becky Martin introduces us to her rugby team, the Letchworth Lionesses.

“I started my rugby journey in the summer of 2020. I saw an advert for rugby fitness for women at Letchworth Garden City RUFC and decided to give it a go, despite never having played rugby in my life. My fitness was awful at the beginning, and I spent most of the first sessions struggling with burning muscles and lungs. Slowly but surely, I started to see some improvement. Deeply ingrained netball skills had to be smothered as prancing through the air and landing on one leg are not good ideas on the rugby pitch, at least not for those who play in forward positions. Week by week our little group grew and eventually the coaches asked us formally if we wanted to form a team. We said yes and the Letchworth Lionesses were born. We now play in a development league.

“The team is an amazing bunch of women who are so supportive and fun. There’s nothing quite like the camaraderie of a rugby team. We have to have each other’s backs on the pitch, and that transfers to off the pitch too. Our social events have been so much fun, and we are planning a tour for the summer which I am really looking forward to. The club has such a great family atmosphere, with lots of events for the kid’s teams as well. My daughter plays for the under 7s and loves it. All the girls in our household play rugby and none of the boys! It’s so great to see the women’s game getting more attention and the Red Roses England team doing so well this autumn. Some of the Lionesses went down to see a match together which was a fantastic day out.

“Rugby is not an easy game to learn, there are so many rules and I’m only just getting to grips with them all, but the coaches and referees are very understanding. There is a role on the team for everybody, fat or thin, tall or short, fast or slow, and there is no better way to get fit quickly in my opinion. The feeling you have when you finish a match and know you’ve given it everything you had is indescribable. We may not have actually won a match yet, but we’ve won a few drinking competitions at the end of the game. I would really encourage everyone to come along and give it a go. There is no commitment, financial or otherwise, until you’ve been a few weeks and decided if it’s for you. We run a fitness session on Tuesdays at 7–8pm that is open to all, our main training is on Wednesdays at 7.30–9pm and matches/optional additional training are on Sundays at various times. I hope to see you there!”

Becky Martin is a scientist who has lived on Fairfield Park for nearly five years. For more information about the Letchworth Lionesses, search for @LetchworthLionessesRugby on Facebook or @letchworth_rufc_ lionesses on Instagram, or email letchworthlionesses@gmail.com.