Thu, 04 Apr 2019
A FORMER Park House pupil has been crowned the most improved player by coaching staff at one of the country’s top women’s rugby clubs.
Carys Cox, who plays for Worcester Valkyries in the Tyrrells Premier 15s, was presented with the accolade last weekend at a special awards night.
Cox, who grew up in Hungerford where she began her rugby journey, said she was gobsmacked to have received the award, admitting that she had “no idea” the club’s coaching staff would have picked her.
But the full-back admitted that her ongoing success with England under-20s – for whom she turned out at Newbury RFC last month in a game watched by more than 700 people – has helped her to mature as a player.
“My coaches said that I’ve just made massive progress,” said Carys. “I was injured for a while, but when I was playing, I did perform.
Carys’ marked development is mirrored by the evolving success of a young Valkyries outfit, which earned their first two league victories in their last two games of the season last month.
And the Cardiff Met student believes her side’s first wins show that the Valkyries are capable of holding their own in the RFU’s elite domestic competition.
Carys said: “Our recent victories show that we can compete at this level.
“We have been riddled with injuries throughout the season, but for us to finish so strongly was brilliant.”
The former Newbury Ladies RFC player is now enjoying a short break before heading into the summer sevens season, which will see her tour with both invitational sevens outfit Nomads and with her university team.
Next season will be the first in which one Tyrrells side will be relegated, as the 'locked league' structure of the fledgling competition comes to an end.
And with their first victories under their belt, Carys believes the Valkyries can capitalise on their winning momentum throughout the upcoming campaign – when it will matter the most.
She said: “We’re feeling really positive about the start of next season.
“We’ve put our front foot forward and hopefully we can carry this form on."
The former West Berkshire player received further praise from Worcester Valkyries head coach Roy Davies – who himself enjoyed a season with Newbury Blues in 2005.
Davies said: “Carys has been excellent for us this season and has really started to mature as a player and fulfil her potential.
“Having known her for a long time, it’s been great to see her capped at England U20 level, which she really worked hard for, and produce consistent performances at Tyrrells level.
“If she continues to develop at the same rate over the next few seasons, then hopefully future honours will come.”