Sarah McKenna2 HA 2015

Sarah McKenna [2007]

A former pupil of Roundwood Park School and Grove Junior School, both of which are in Harpenden, Sarah began playing rugby when she was six at the town club and she has not looked back since. She has represented Scorpions, Old Albanians, Wasps and her current team, Saracens who she joined in 2013. She has moved between the No 10 and No 12 shirts, having started in the backs before playing as a flanker in girls’ rugby.

Sarah has an interesting profile outside of rugby, too. She was a county netball player and she likes to mix it up with some DJing, music being one of her real interests as is playing squash. Add to that the fact that she is a Construction Management Foundation student at Bedfordshire University after she grabbed 11 GCSEs and three A levels, including one in psychology and you will see that we have someone who is a little different than most. She can probably psychoanalyse you on the squash court while spinning some discs.

Sarah’s rugby mentors have been Dave Sharp, her first coach at Harpenden, her father Neil who went as far as playing school rugby in his career, and England under-20s  coach Giselle Mather.

Welwyn-born, Sarah helped England under-20s win the Nations Cup and, at the end of the 2009 season, played her part in the Old Albanians’ squad that beat Camp Hill to win promotion to the Premiership. They won 13 of their 14 games, scoring 75 tries, 30 more than any other team in their league with Sarah bagging 122 points herself.

Thus far in her developing career, Sarah remembers the Dubai Sevens tournament of 2011 as her favourite moment on a rugby field to date. “It was my first international Sevens tournament,” she recalls, “And it was the first women’s IRB Tournament, too. Despite losing in the final to Canada, the young team came so far together and learnt so much in the short amount of time we had.”


Courtesy of the RFU web site. October 2014

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Dowie’s Liverpool retain Super league title

Liverpool ladies retained their Super League crown on Sunday 12th October in the most dramatic finish ever seen to an English women’s football season.

Three teams went into the final day of the campaign with a chance of taking the title, and the Reds were lying third – three points behind leaders Chelsea and a point below Birmingham City.

As well as needing results to go their way, the reigning champions also required a three-goal swing in goal difference. But they held their nerve to win 3-0, with all their goals arriving in the second half, while Chelsea lost 2-1 at Manchester City and Birmingham drew 2-2 with Notts County.

Liverpool scored through Natasha Dowie and Lucy Bronze to open up a two-goal lead early in the second half. A Fara Williams penalty then assured victory for the Reds.


Independent 13th October 2014


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Food for thought!

Ed Sloley [2006-08] joined us in the Sixth Form then following his A levels went to and has since graduated from City University in London. He was most recently seen at the St Albans Food & Drink festival on Sunday 5th October 2014 where his mother, who has written cookery books and does regular food presentations, was doing a cookery presentation for an admiring audience. Ed was acting as the kind waiter handing out delicious free samples  that his mother had shown viewers how to prepare a number of easy and tasty dishes.

Many will remember Ed as a the kind and genial individual whose ever constant formal smartness gave rise to the ‘Ed Sloley Award for sartorial elegance’; a trophy that was presented to the Sixth Form by his mother. The award is still given out each year.

Karen Orford West 1989

Karen West (nee Orford) [ 1989]

“I was at Roundwood Park from 1982 to 1989 and then studied BSc (Hons) Environmental Science at the University of Plymouth. After graduating, I joined MAFF/Defra and I am still there now – it was only supposed to be a summer job! During my Civil Service Career, I have held a number of excellent roles including: government scientist; international relations promoting agricultural exports to the Far East; business adviser helping farmers understand their customers better; Private Secretary to a Ministerial Adviser; and, most recently, developing Defra’s graduate talent and social mobility programmes i.e. offering apprenticeships and work experience to under-represented groups.

I moved back to Harpenden about 10 years ago with my husband and now have two primary aged children.

I am happy to talk to students about the variety of roles in the Civil Service”.