Mums igniting the growth of women's rugby in Barnoldswick

A battered and bruised Mel Charldwood sporting a black eye

Victory Park , Barlick - Feature on West Craven Warriors Ladies Rugby League team . Picture shows sisters Daniel Todd and Nic Fenwick in action . (6507849)

Victory Park , Barlick - Feature on West Craven Warriors Ladies Rugby League team . Picture shows coach Richard Milner on the tackling bag with Steph Young (6507865)

Victory Park , Barlick - Feature on West Craven Warriors Ladies Rugby League team . Picture shows the first team squad . (6507871)

Victory Park , Barlick - Feature on West Craven Warriors Ladies Rugby League team . Picture shows Club crest . (6507877)

Victory Park , Barlick - Feature on West Craven Warriors Ladies Rugby League team . Picture shows Club Moto pinned on a wall. (6507881)

Victory Park , Barlick - Feature on West Craven Warriors Ladies Rugby League team . Picture shows the players in a training session . (6507903)

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A ladies' side from Barnoldswick is proving why rugby league is one of the fastest growing sports for women in the country.

West Craven Warriors, a rugby league club based at Victory Park, has had a women's team for three years and in a short space of time the squad has doubled in size and become of competitive force.

Richard Milner, chairman of the West Craven Warriors and an assistant coach for the women's team, said: "In three years, we've gone from strength to strength. We started off with just 12 players and now we have 25 and really gelling as a team."

And Richard said that 'mums' are one of the main reasons the club is growing so quickly.

"As parents of our boy and girl junior players, some of their mums decided they wanted to have a go at playing rugby."

He also said Barnoldswick is one of the only places for miles around that has a women's team.

Ever since a team at Keighley disbanded the nearest one to Barlick is Chorley.

"Most of our players come from a 25-miles radius," said Richard. "About half our players are from Barnoldswick, with the furthest one coming from St Anne's near Blackpool. However, we don't have any from the Skipton area."

The women in the club's 25-player squad range in age from 16 to 45, with the average age being in the mid-20s.

West Craven's women's team is captained by scrum-half Danielle Todd, who has been with the team since it started.

And Richard said the side has come on leaps and bounds since its first season.

"Our first year we took a hiding, but we're very competitive this year," he said.

Richard said West Craven's record in the RFL Women's League Division One is three wins and three losses.

And he said that the club were delighted to host the Army's ladies' team, who played West Craven in the Women's Challenge Cup.

Unfortunately the Barnoldswick side lost 76 points to 4, but he said the Army side were very "professional" in their approach to a game which proved to be a good learning experience for his players.

He said "women's rugby league is one of fastest growing sports in the women's game" and the turnout at their games is a testament to its popularity in Barlick.

"We get a very good following of around 60 people for our matches, and they're a good set of supporters," he said.

The team is always on the lookout for new players, and anyone interested is coming along to the club's training sessions, which are held from 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Wednesdays, should ring Richard on 07731 112334.

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