Jessica Mallindine was one of the first players to respond to the recruiting efforts for Stars 7s. The other day she shared this piece Wilma wrote about the rugby 7s team she founded this summer in Wilmington, North Carolina. As part of her recruiting efforts and with an eye to grow the game, Jessica set up a pre-season scrimmage and had 4-5 different teams bring sides to develop new players. She has since moved to New Orleans, Louisiana and is continuing her rugby adventures. She wants to add, "Why the article writer said Aussie sport I'll never know!". Her full player profile is coming soon.
Cape Fear Women's Rugby Club seeks reboot
Mallindine first developed her love for the contact sport after a one-year stay in Australia nearly a decade ago. Now she’s spreading the word to other ladies in the Port City about her newest effort to play back home – the Cape Fear Women’s Rugby Club.
“There’s always a place for you somewhere. That’s what makes it a beautiful sport for anyone, especially women,” she says.
A women’s rugby team existed years ago in Wilmington, Mallindine says, but fell apart. Before starting the new group, Mallindine practiced with the men’s Cape Fear Rugby Club and competed with a women’s team based in Charlotte.
“One of the things I’m working on is getting enough women interested or just even knowing it’s an option to really try and start to establish a Cape Fear women’s side,” Mallindine says.
The Cape Fear Women’s Rugby Club is practicing and competing this summer with a team of women of all ages and professions. University of North Carolina Wilmington has a rugby club for female students, and many of the players and recent graduates joined in for the summer fun.
On July 6-7, they competed in the local Cape Fear Sevens Rugby Tournament. Mallindine hopes the summer’s momentum can carry the team into the fall.
“It’ll take some effort to be able to have a team once the summer team ends. We really need about twenty girls to be a solid team,” she says.
Mallindine explains the disadvantage of having a competitive team is that all matches are travel-style and the club is self-funded. “It’s a little expensive; a lot of that determines what tournaments to go to,” she says. “We would love sponsors. Bars and restaurants tend to be good sport sponsors. “Besides, rugby is kind of a drinking sport anyway,” Mallindine says with a laugh.
The women currently practice at the men’s field, Flytrap Downs off of Chestnut Street, and help pay for the upkeep of the area. Even if Mallindine’s team won’t continue into the fall, she hopes to have enough people just to come out for exercise and see what all this rugby business is about.
“I think it’s important for women to know about the sport, both to get something started and to know what is missing in this town, but also to have the option to do something new,” Mallindine says.
“It’s not always about being the toughest or the fittest, but about a good group of people just showing support.”