A former Warlingham rugby club junior player is among the favourites to win the Team of the Year prize at tonight’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Women’s rugby World Cup-winner Kay Wilson was on hand at an awards lunch on Thursday with team mates Emily Scarratt and Maggie Alphonsi to collect the equivalent prize at the Sports Journalists’ Association British Sports Awards, the England team beating Europe’s Ryder Cup golfers in a ballot of the country’s top sports writers, broadcasters and photographers.
It seems likely to be a head-to-head between the golfers and the women rugby players for tonight’s BBC team award, too.
Winger Wilson was an integral part of the England team which won the World Cup in France earlier this year, beating Canada 21-9 in the Paris final.
This was England’s fourth World Cup final in succession, but the first they have won. Three times, in 2002, 2006 and 2010, the Englishwomen had been beaten by New Zealand. After Ireland had beaten the Black Ferns, England thumped the Irish 40-7 in the semi-final.
In an era of highly paid professional sport, Wilson and the rest of the England women’s squad went into the World Cup as part-time amateurs.
Following the World Cup, Wilson became one of English rugby’s first centrally contracted women players, playing in the IRB’s international 7s series in the prospect of playing for Britain at the 2016 Rio Olympics, when her sport makes a return to the Games after an absence of nearly a century.
It is 10 years ago since Wilson, now 22, played mini-rugby on Sunday mornings at Hamsey Green, following her two brothers into the game. The flying winger has been playing international rugby since 2011, while studying at Cardiff Met University.
Without any girls’ teams at Warlingham (once kids reach the age of 12, girls and boys are not allowed to play in the same teams), Wilson moved on, and had a couple of seasons at Richmond before signing for Bristol.
But Warlingham has one of Wilson’s England shirts framed and on the wall in the clubhouse off the Limpsfield Road, in pride of place alongside another England international shirt, donated by another former minis player: the England men’s captain, Chris Robshaw.
Coming to Croydon
- Croydon Philharmonic Christmas concert, St Matthew’s, Dec 16
- Spread Eagle’s Christmas Improv show, Dec 17
- David Lean Cinema, Northern Soul, Dec 18
- David Lean Cinema, Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief, Dec 29
- David Lean Cinema, The Beat Beneath My Feet, Dec 30
- David Lean Cinema, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Jan 3
- David Lean Cinema, Mr Turner, Jan 8
- David Lean Cinema, Leviathan, Jan 13
- Norwood Society talk: Penge, the making of a suburb, Jan 15
- David Lean Cinema, The 78 Project Movie, Jan 15
- David Lean Cinema, Hannah Arendt, Jan 20
- David Lean Cinema, The Imitation Game, Jan 22
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
- David Lean Cinema, Night Will Fall, Jan 27 (Holocaust Memorial Day)
- David Lean Cinema, Kon-Tiki, Jan 29
- Norwood Society talk: Crystal Palace and Dulwich, Feb 19
- Norwood Society talk: Charlies Dickens in Norwood, Mar 19
- Norwood Society: Balloons and airships at Crystal Palace, Apr 16
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