*TIME FOR HIBERNATION – PART 3*
So after a fabulous season we say goodbye to 3 Bears who have now announced their retirement. As long term players we wanted to write them all a piece as an ode to them and all they’ve done for the club.
As an extra little thing we asked some of the players closest to them to write the article for us ☺️
So here’s Part 3 – #11 Rachel Broadhurst written by Laura Hughes 💙🐻
This past year has clearly evidenced, more than any previous, the progress this team has made, with an undefeated season and promotion. But, as we hang up our pads for a few months (we hope) and start planning the future, it’s also time to reflect on what we’ve achieved and who has played a part in that.
The end of this season, marked the retirement from football of our enigmatic all-rounder, Number 11, Rachel Broadhurst, as she enters football hibernation and prepares for a new phase of her life and I was honoured to be asked to write a bit about her football career.
Rach came from a Rugby background, having played for 16 years. In 2016 a member of the then Romans Ladies, came to a Rugby session and invited her along and she starting training shortly after. Falling in love with the game and not being at all afraid of a bit of contact, it was clear from the start that she was going to play a major role in the team.
To say she’s an all-rounder is an understatement, I don’t think there’s many positions she’s not had a go at, from either side of the ball and to watch her play is to know two things:
1. She doesn’t do anything half-hearted and 2. Don’t close your eyes, you don’t know what you might miss!
From running directly into Linebackers just for the hell of it and stepping over the bodies who bounce off her, to flying tackles and crunching blocks, to strolling in to the end zone, ball out stretched in one hand, Rach has never been short of determination, showmanship and massive spoonfuls of attitude and finesse.
Her ability, versatility and willingness was never more evident than in the 18/19 season. Gearing up for a successful season as Receiver, with the first real opportunity to focus on one position, the opportunity disappeared for her in the first game, as I got KO’d in a freak tackle. Most would flinch when the QB1 is ruled out for the season and you’re it. Rach didn’t even blink at the fact she was now solely responsible for the offense and a playbook she’d barely had chance to learn from the QB position. She took the reins, strutted out like only she can, leading the girls to a 6 -2 season. She had 43 carries for 320 yards, 27 completed passes for 423 yards, scored 9 touchdowns and she even made 5 tackles at DB when she stepped in both ways to cover, after 2 DB’s got injured! All in all she earned herself the well-earned Coach’s Player of the Year, which I know meant a lot to her.
For me as a Quarterback, Rach is the exact type of player you want in the huddle, no fuss, no mess, no worries. Call a route, she’ll run it, tell her who to go for, she’ll take them, tell her the ball is hers, she’s ready. You know she’ll do something to help the play, something worthwhile or sometimes something completely unexpected. Of course, she’ll also come back later and tell you your play calling sucks and to get a grip 😂!
In her final year on the field as a player, there were interruptions due to scheduling and work, but she still managed to average around 22.5 yards per carry, had 35 receiving yards, as well as 3 touchdowns, including a well fought TD catch in what turned out to be the final game. She also had, in my opinion, the best “almost touchdown” of the year, catching a corner route over her shoulder and landing 1 yard from the end zone. It was a peach!
She’s not just won battles on the field, her achievements have been recognised by the coaching staff and her teammates off the field, she served on the Committee as Club Events Manager and bagging numerous MVP awards, a Silver Medal and the aforementioned Coaches Player trophy.
She’s organising our annual awards ceremony and anyone will tell you, her fun and unpredictability on the field is only matched off it. She’s the life and soul of a party… I still hold the images of her in an evening gown, sailing past us sitting on the back of a Police van waving dear to my heart, not to mention her Coach Karaoke, getting us all in the Festive Spirit and giving Mariah a real run for her money.
But all good things must come to an end and we’re excited for her to be moving on to new things in her life.
I know I personally will miss her running excitedly like a puppy to play catch, her sarcastic quips whenever she’s told to do anything she doesn’t want to, her welcoming hugs and most especially her wide eye smile and nod when I throw her a perfect spiral and she catches it on the money.
On another personal note, I am lucky to know her as a truly excellent friend. She kept me coming to football at times when I was low. She has been the voice of reason, the calming tone, the motivational speaker and consoling shoulder. I’m forever grateful that this game brought me a friend for life.
But it’s not just me, Rachel’s effervescent personality is something that will be greatly missed by everyone on the training ground and on the playing field, everything is that little bit funnier when she’s around and she’ll always get you motivated if you’re feeling off your game.
As a teammate and a friend we’ve been honoured to have you in our football family and we hope you won’t be a stranger, because once a Bear, always a Bear!
#bearsonthree #B3ARS #ohana
Photos courtesy of photos by furfie, inspired.Paint and Keziah takes photos