WHAT’s in a name? to paraphrase some chap called William Shakespeare.
In terms of Barrow Raiders Rugby League Club it turns out it’s quite a lot.
Granted, on the face of things, changing the name of Barrow Raiders Ladies’ reserves to Barrow and District Raiders doesn’t seem that big a step.
But the dream behind the name change could be a huge leap for women’s rugby league in Barrow and the whole of South Cumbria.
The change in name is part of an exciting new way of creating a legacy for the whole region to buy into.
Barrow Raiders Ladies will create history this season as they embark on their first season in the Women’s Super League – the highest tier of the sport for women.
For some that outstanding achievement would be more than enough.
But that’s not how Raiders think, that’s not how champions think.
Raiders chairman Steve Neale spoke to The Mail about the hopes and dreams for the women’s game.
“The women’s game is years behind the men’s game and we are looking to play our part by growing the women’s game,” he said.
“We have only had our own women’s team for a couple of years now, so even on the women’s front we are years behind the likes of Wigan, Sale and Leeds.
“But we are determined to do what we can to grow the game and we believe that changing to Barrow and District Raiders can help us do that.”
As reported in yesterday’s Mail the change to a district side will see Raiders link up with Roose Pioneers, Barrow Island, Walney Central, Dalton, Ulverston, Hindpool Tigers, Millom, and Askam.
Neale added: “The ultimate goal for us would be for the community teams to be able eventually to form their own women’s and girls’ teams if there is enough interest.
“At the moment there probably isn’t enough women playing the game in the area to do that. But having said that a lot of these clubs – I think five out of the eight – have actually formed touch ladies teams on the back of the touch leagues that we were doing last summer, which is really positive.
“So we are just trying to provide that pathway from these touch teams that are being set up at these community clubs to a contact game.
“If we become a representative team for all of these clubs by calling ourselves Barrow and District Raiders then that provides that pathway and all of the clubs can feed into that.
“Each club might only have three or four players who want to play the contact game, which is obviously nowhere near enough for a team.
“But if they feed into this representative team then these players have a chance to play the contact game.
“Raiders are fully funding this so there will be no change that way, but what we are hoping is to go around each of the grounds at the community clubs and play the odd game there and run a few open training sessions and maybe pick up some players from there.
“Next year we have to form an under-19 team at Super League level as that is a mandatory requirement for us to have a ladies Super League team.
“They have given us a year’s grace because of the fact that we are a new Super League team, but we want to work with the community clubs to hopefully feed in players from 16 to 19 years old.
“But ultimately we want to create opportunities for players to join teams all the way from age five to the under-19s and then hopefully on to the Super League team.
“And even the players decide they don’t want to go all the way, if we can get more girls and ladies enjoying the game then that’s great as well.
“Eventually we hope to have a pathway right down to mini rugby teams that would be great for the game across the whole of South Cumbria.”