Source: Wasps

From Hand Bags to Hand Offs

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Meet Emily Maisey, a 1XV player for Wasps FC Ladies. If not found in rugby attire tearing up the back row, you would find her suited and booted, perhaps even with a high heel, hard at work in her city based office. Outside the realms of Twyford avenue, well-dressed and highly intellectual Maisey does not prompt the thought “rugby player”, but in a werewolf like fashion, once she “laces those boots”, there’s no question that the pitch is where she belongs.

“In a fit of totally uncharacteristic economy” Maisey started her Rugby career at Hammersmith and Fulham and joined Wasps just two seasons ago.

“I joined Hammersmith and Fulham Ladies who were one of the few sides at the time who fielded a development side and they taught me how to play. At the end of my second season, one of my coaches suggested I try out for the county squad (Middlesex) which I duly did. It was a massive step up which not only highlighted my somewhat tenuous grasp of the rules, but also that there was a lot of opportunity for progression within the women’s game. At the beginning of my third season playing I moved to Wasps after a discussion with Ross Boshier”

Having amounted 21 caps for Wasps FC Ladies, Maisey is now firmly rooted in the black and gold family, sharing many experiences and memories over the past two years as the club has evolved.

“I think my best memories from Wasps tend not to be huge monumental events, although going to the Savoy for the 150th dinner was a wonderful experience. Rather, I feel that the everyday experiences and the familiarity of the place is something I think of with a great deal of affection. The experience of spending so much time with people who are so wonderfully talented is something I will never forget: the down time in between training sessions, travelling to and from the club often caked in mud and causing widespread consternation on the Piccadilly line and marauding around the clubhouse at various times during the day and night”

This season has seen a massive change in Women’s Rugby, not least with the introduction of Tyrrell’s Premier 15s. On a public level this has seen a hugely increased buzz for Women’s Rugby with record attendances and record viewings for Women’s premiership matches. But what has this meant at the player level?

“In general terms, expectation levels have risen, both in the standard at which we are now playing and the emotional buy-in from the players involved. As a player this year marked my debut in the premiership squad which while initially being rather daunting, has been incredibly enjoyable. The girls as a squad and Kate Alder particularly as captain, have really helped to make the transition from second team to first as fluid as possible for those of us who are susceptible to worry. The S&C support we have received as a club this year has been constantly hard, sweaty and effective. Adam Dowsett is a great teacher who has managed the difficult task of corralling a set of strong willed individuals into consistently working as hard as they can. I have managed to keep the amount of times I have cried to a minimum which has been particularly difficult during sprint sessions. The biggest change I think for me as a player has been the attachment I have felt to the club as a whole. We spend a great deal of time together, more so than with my colleagues and family members and this year we have become incredibly close.”

Like a good majority of our players, Maisey juggles work with her commitments as a player. From her full-time job in an architectural firm, she travels to West London on average 4 times a week in preparation to pull on the black and gold jersey. The level of Women’s Rugby in the UK demands a lot from a player and athlete support is key in assuring their performance and well-being. Maisey is one of a few players at Wasps to have individual sponsorship from Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners and Envisage Group. This support is invaluable to players.

“Sponsorship has not only aided me financially, but added to my experience as a player: having Andrew Morris from RSHP come down for lunch during the big swarm meant a great deal to me. It helps to reinforce the professionalism expected of you as a player as well as making you feel like you have an even wider support network. I am lucky enough to also be supported by Envisage Group limited; these companies who are recognising the growth that is happening in the women’s game and are getting behind us in the early stages are helping to promote the game to a wider audience.”

Last weekend, Maisey left her formal wear at home and laced her boots to form part of the pack to take on Harlequins in the first of two semi-finals. Wasps FC Ladies suffered a narrow defeat, and go into this week’s game with just a 6-point deficit.

“At the moment I am focused on the end of this season and looking forward to playing in Twickenham for the first time”

Maisey and the team are eager to take on Harlequins on their home turf, Twickenham Stoop, and excited at the opportunity of that place in the final, which as it stands is all for the taking!

Report courtesy of Holly Foskett/Wasps