Gloucester-Hartpury Women head coach Susie Appleby has hailed a new shirt sponsorship deal for the club as “huge progress for the women’s game, not just for the club” as Storage King UK have agreed to sponsor the club’s kit for the 2018/19 season.
Severn Sport were invited along to Storage King in Gloucester for a media event to launch and fully announce the partnership between the two sides. Along with Appleby, the club were represented by Ceri Large, Kelly Smith & captain Zoe Aldcroft who posed in the new strips along with CEO of Storage King Robin Greenwood.
Appleby, who is no stranger to Severn Sport after being shortlisted for our West Sports Personality Of The Year Award for 2017 for her amazing work in bringing the club forward, went on to give her thoughts on the new sponsors.
“We have never had a main shirt sponsor and it’s great that Storage King have agreed to be that sponsor. I haven’t been here before but from speaking to Robin and everyone here we now have genuine rugby people involved with the club and the women’s game. That is so positive.”
“The Tyrrells Premier 15s has gone from strength to strength over the last 14 months and with this kind of support and networks getting involved the world is our oyster really.” Appleby told Severn Sport’s Ryan Butler.
The news comes following the announcement that six of the Gloucester-Hartpury Women’s players will be a part of the 36 women joining England for their upcoming training camp ahead of a three test series in November.
Joining captain Aldcroft & Smith are Sasha Acheson, Connie Powell, Millie Wood and Tatyana Heard for the four day training camp that starts tomorrow (Thursday 4th October) at Loughborough University.
Appleby’s side have started the season with a mixed bag of results, winning one of their opening four league games (winning 14-57 away at Darlington), but the coach is happy with the performance levels shown by her squad and says experience will help the players grow as the season wears on.
“We have a lot of young players who may not have played the game very much so they tend to just react and do than perhaps maybe understanding what is going on in front of them. So the challenge for us as coaches is to make sure they understand certain situations so when these scenarios repeat themselves on the field they can make the best decision possible.”
“Also, consistency is key. We want our players to get used to playing with the player that is next to them and getting the units working together and that is all about time. Time will be the teller of where we are at. I mean, last year we didn’t really hit our stride and our best performances came after Christmas and it could well that the cohesion develops in the next run of games and we can kick on over the winter period. But for now it’s all about taking one game at a time.”
During the meeting Appleby and Greenwood discussed each other’s roots in rugby at length as well as the benefits of the partnership between Gloucester-Hartpury & Storage King and we Greenwood took time away to talk to us about the partnership.
“Here at Storage King we believe in community and team ethos as well as supporting team activities and we see Gloucester-Hartpury as a side who are very team orientated, very localized and community orientated and it is the same ethos that we like to see within our business so it was a no brainer really.”
“We recognise the importance of sponsorship and support for women’s rugby at this level. The sport is growing massively by the day and in particular the last few years, women’s rugby is now at its peak of participation from youth level up and it is great to see so much professionalism in the game now and we believe that they need as much support and financial backing as they can. Storage King are proud to be a part of that.”
Even though Gloucester-Hartpury are looking ahead to one game at a time, we asked Appleby about the big local derby at home to Worcester on Saturday 20th October, as the game is a part of a big triple header for Hartpury College.
“We are playing the triple header with Hartpury RFC & the U18s for the first time this season so we are hoping for a big crowd. We will welcome Worcester and welcome all of our sponsors to come on down and what we would like to do on the day is put in a really good performance as there will be people there who haven’t watched a lot of women’s rugby, if any, and we want them to come back and repeat their visit and that is what we are all about.”
“Days like today are also important for us. Storage King are a growing company and that kind of national exposure can only lead to more support with hopefully more companies looking at this partnership and think ‘Do you know what? We would actually like to get involved in women’s rugby too.’ Everytime this happens for any club within the game it brings that exposure and more income which leads to more support, more coaches and more facilities. We are very grateful to have Storage King’s support.”
Severn Sport would like to thank Robin Greenwood, Rachel Hardman & the team at Storage King Gloucester for inviting us down and showing us as well as head coach Susie Appleby for taking time out to speak to us.