Not only do Wasps kick off their season on Saturday against London rivals Saracens, they also begin a momentous season celebrating their 30th year.
Wasps Ladies are proud to be one of the first Women’s rugby clubs set up in the 80’s and have a series of events planned to celebrate.
This Saturday, 13th September, all former players, families and friends are invited down to Twyford Avenue for lunch and to support the 1s and 2s in their first matches of the season. The season’s events will culminate with a dinner in central London, with the aim to bring together players and coaches from throughout the clubs existence to celebrate.
As part of the 30th season a few ‘retired’ players hope to dust off their boots for a game or two, including Helen Harding, who if she plays this season will have played every season since Wasps Ladies began…no pressure H!
Starting at a young age, Helen is still making appearances in black and gold: “I’ve been a Wasp all my life, my father played for Wasps and I was brought up in the rugby club family from the year dot! So when ladies rugby arrived way back in 1984/5 I just knew I had to play even though I was only 13 at the time. My body tells me I can’t play every week anymore, but I still love running out for Wasps Legends once or twice a year!”
She, like any Wasps players, talks passionately about the club: “I have been part of something very special. Wasps has been and always will be a major part of my life, it has given me lifelong friends and awesome memories. I am so proud to be a part of this amazing club, and its history. The past the present and the future is black and gold! Once a Wasp, always a Wasp.”
Set up in 1984 by Sue Martineau, Wasps Ladies have been playing at the top level of Women’s Rugby for 30 years. Previously based at Sudbury alongside London Wasps before they went professional, the club moved to their current home, Twyford Avenue, in 2001. In a hugely successful history to date Wasps were the first club to win the league and cup double in 1990, and went on to win the RFU Premiership in 2003, 2004 and 2005 as well as the cup in 2005.
Many internationals have played their careers at Wasp, including English greats Sue Day, Shelley Rae, Nicky Ponsford, Giselle Mather and IRB Women’s player of the year 2012, Michaela Staniford. The club attracts players from all over the world, having welcomed players from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Wales, Scotland, Crotia, Finland, Sweden, USA, Ireland and Canada amongst others.
As part of the amateur Wasps FC set-up, the Wasps Ladies 1s and 2s play in the RFU Women’s Premiership and South West 2 respectively. Current players include Rugby World Cup 2014 winners Claire Purdy, Jo McGilchrist, LaToya Mason and Marlie Packer. President of the club Sue Day has captained both Wasps and England during her playing career, having been involved at the club for more than 16 years this is her second year as president.