Warlingham’s Wilson among award favourites for BBC SPOTY

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.

Kay Wilson with the SJA's Team of the Year trophy, alongside Emily Scarratt (left) and Maggie Alphonsi, with current Warlingham first XV team manager, Tony Doe at Thursday's SJA British Sports Awards

Kay Wilson with the SJA’s Team of the Year trophy, alongside Emily Scarratt (left) and Maggie Alphonsi, with current Warlingham first XV team manager, Tony Doe at Thursday’s SJA British Sports Awards

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.

Kay Wilson scoring one of her tries for England that helped win the World Cup this year

Winger Kay Wilson scoring one of her tries for England, in the semi-final against Ireland, that helped win the World Cup this year

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.

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