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New challenge excites Joe

The Newbury Ladies head coach will be in charge of Henley Hawks next season

Liam Headd

Liam Headd


01635 886629

New challenge excites Joe

JOE Harwood has felt a ‘huge mixture’ of emotions after taking the decision to step down as head coach of Newbury Ladies RFC.

Harwood has signed with Henley Hawks Women, who ply their trade in Championship South 1 – one division higher than his former team.

And although he is upset that his time has come to an end at  Monks Lane, Harwood is excited for the new challenge.

He said: “I'll be leaving my comfort zone behind me.

“Henley is a club with great facilities, it has a great tradition within the women’s game and I have been really impressed with the ambition they’ve shown when talking about the future.

“I’m looking forward to starting in July. I’m already busy planning  for the season and hopefully I can add to their great tradition within the women’s game.”

Harwood has spent 19 years at Newbury,  in both the coaching and playing sides.

He will still coach the Colts team with his brother, Joe.

He said: “The girls have exceeded my expectations on so many occasions.

“I guess building the relationships, rapport and friendships that I have with my coaches and my players has been a particular highlight.

“The experience I have gained will be invaluable going forward and the club gave me free rein to try things  on and off the field.”

Harwood is still confident the women’s squad can challenge for the title in Championship 2 South West again.

“Newbury RFC Ladies is in a great place,” he said. 

“With the existing squad and coaches I would expect them to be challenging again and I look forward to watching their results and their continued success.”

Harwood has collected a number of coaching badges and he said: “My goal is to coach an elite women’s team either at Tyrell’s  Premiership level or internationally.

He said: “I felt that after five seasons and passing my Level 3  the time was right for a new challenge, a new environment.”

During Harwood’s three years as head coach, Newbury won 53 of their 69 games as well as securing promotion from National Challenge South East-West 1 to Championship 2 South West.

He said: “I’ve put all my energy, enthusiasm and passion in to Newbury Ladies over the past five seasons.

“I could not have asked for a more committed, dedicated and hard-working group of players.

“The coaches have been fantastic and without just one of them, we would not have been anywhere near successful as we have been.

“Richard Aldred, Nicki and Alastair Gray have also been invaluable, and I will miss them.”

The women’s team are searching for a new head coach.

For more information on how to apply or an informal chat contact Louise Goodall on or 07787 225789.

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