Just as tough as the boys: Private school girls are demanding to be allowed to play traditionally male games such as football, rugby and cricket

Daily Mail, 02.09.15, girls are increasingly taking up sports more associated with boys, according to private school leaders. Features HMC leading independent schools Bradfield College, Bloxham School, Brighton College, Epsom College, Giggleswick School, King’s College, Taunton, Malvern College, Millfield School, Pangbourne College and Wellington College.

They report a surge in the popularity of football, rugby and cricket with girls forming their own teams or joining those of boys.

Teachers said their female pupils had taken inspiration from role models in national teams.

England’s side beat Germany for the first time to finish third at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada this summer.

English teams won the Women’s Cricket World Cup in 2009 and the rugby equivalent last year.

Christopher Heayns, head of football at King’s College Taunton in Somerset, said: ‘Girls’ football has rocketed in the past three or four years.

‘It started here in the late 1990s, with one or two girls joining in with the boys.

‘Now, we have under-14, under-16 and under-18 sides, and more than 40 girls out of the 200 here play football.’

King’s College A-level student Leea Dodd, 18, who plays for England, said: ‘We think, if boys can do that, why shouldn’t we?’

According to the Independent Schools Football Association, 120 schools have registered as offering girls’ football. Just 12 did in 2010.

Twenty girls’ teams took part in the Rosslyn Park Schools Sevens rugby tournament this year, and about a third of them were from independent schools, including Bloxham, Epsom College and Pangbourne.

England’s side beat Germany for the first time to finish third at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada this summer

English teams won the Women’s Cricket World Cup in 2009 and the rugby equivalent last year (pictured)

Wellington College, Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Bradfield, Giggleswick and Malvern College are introducing opportunities for girls to play at least one, if not more, of football, rugby and cricket.

Roger Nicholson, director of sport at Brighton College, said the girls’ cricket team now plays boys’ teams – and has an annual match against Harrow.

Mr Nicholson said: ‘We have promoted girls’ cricket and now have a proper programme with A, B and C teams.

The success of women in sport internationally is said to be a contributing factor to demand at school level

‘The sport has grown nationally and we’re very proud to be a part of it.’

Three pupils from the school have gone on to play for England, including Clare Connor, who is now head of women’s cricket at the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Richard Ellison, master in charge of cricket at Millfield in Somerset, said a growing number of girls were playing cricket, adding: ‘It’s something we’re keen to develop.

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