A rugby player from Rye scored a try on a memorable England debut.
Sharn-Louise Watson was on the scoresheet in England Deaf Rugby Union’s (EDRU) first ever women’s game last weekend.
EDRU won 22-12 against Penallta Minerbirds at Cardiff Arms Park with Sharn claiming the second try of the match following a great hand-off.
She said: “I was demanding myself to get that try and I’m still really happy about that. I was running down near the sideline and I had three girls that were trying to tackle me, but I handed off one and then ran to the tryline. A girl sat on my head as I scored the try, but it wasn’t that bad - I’m used to that.
“It was a bit scary at first (playing at such a prestigious venue), but when you just step on the pitch, you kind of forget it all. I thought it was very good.”
While the EDRU was founded in 2003, the EDRUW is a new venture with the female squad being very much in its infancy, and actively seeking eligible players and opposition.
“To start off with at training there were only five ladies, now we’ve got 20 ladies there,” continued Sharn. “I think someone heard about me and rang my mum. I got called-up and I’ve had to travel to Hitchin a couple of times to train. I also had to sign on to a team before I could play nationally.”
Sharn, who plays on the wing, has turned out for New Ash Green this season in something of a comeback to the sport having previously stopped playing due to work commitments.
“I don’t like to play on the wing, I like to play in the forwards,” she went on. “Apparently I’m fast, but I can’t see it. I used to be fast, but I stopped last year because I was lifeguarding and I had to work weekends.”
Sharn is now enjoying working as a carer in St Leonards and says she just needs to get her fitness up following her spell away from the game.
“I love rugby and always have done,” Sharn added. “I love just putting my kit on getting ready for a match. I am really proud to be part of the women’s EDRU team and to wear the England rose.”
Sharn is a former pupil at Rye College and started playing rugby aged 13 at Rye RFC when the RFU came into the school looking for girls interested in taking up the sport.
The Hastings-born 20-year-old has since gone on to represent Sussex, Kent and then the South East region, as well as her country.
Her mum Toni-Jayne said: “Sharn is hard of hearing and was bullied when younger, but her disability has not held her back. She has triumphed over adversity. Rugby is great for fitness and being part of a team.”