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Newbury Women's Rugby Team driving forward after new sponsorship from Abstract Bodyworks, Belvoir Newbury, Jones Robinson and Wessex Woodland Services



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Newbury Women’s Rugby Team will be driving forward this season, after putting out a plea for help in our sister newspaper, the Newbury Weekly News.

New sponsorship from four local businesses and an anonymous donor will now enable the team to travel to away fixtures, after the RFU - in a recent cost-cutting exercise - withdrew transport funding from the team, along with many other grassroots and community rugby clubs across the country.

The cuts came despite the rise of English women’s rugby on the international stage and two impressive victories for the Red Roses over New Zealand in recent weeks and the club said the decision would have had “a devastating impact on the ability of the team to play away matches”.

The squad, including Kirsty Batten (far left) and captain Lizzie Harris (third from left), with new sponsor Stephen McKinnon
The squad, including Kirsty Batten (far left) and captain Lizzie Harris (third from left), with new sponsor Stephen McKinnon

So vice-Captain and openside flanker Kirsty Batten used the letters pages of the Newbury Weekly News to reach out for sponsorship.

It proved to be very successful; four local businesses and an anonymous donor have come forward to help the women out. And earlier this month the results of this fundraising became real when a Morton's coach turned up for a hastily arranged away friendly.

One of the new sponsors, personal training gym Abstract Bodyworks, was there to give the squad a proper send-off.

Executive trainer at Abstract Bodyworks, Stephen McKinnon, said he was happy to contribute.

“Women’s sport in general doesn’t get the right level of financial support from national organisations so when I read Kirsty’s letter in the Weekly News I knew we had to help,” he said. “We want to see everyone have the opportunity to exercise and play sports at whatever level, and if our sponsorship can help NWRC make progress in the league then that is great”.

The team weren't the winners on the pitch on that occasion but were delighted that the coach journey gave them the time they needed to prepare for the match in comfort and enjoy a safe journey back home.

Ms Batten added: "The generosity of our sponsors, coupled with the commitment of our fantastic players, will no doubt help us to build throughout the season and into our next. And it's not too late to help. We're still raising funds for the rest of our away journeys and some new kit, so please get in touch with me at battenkirsty@gmail.com if you think you can help.”

The team’s current corporate sponsors are Abstract Bodyworks, Belvoir Newbury, Jones Robinson and Wessex Woodland Services.



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