Ace Watson helps England become world champions

Sharn-Louise Watson clutches the shield and the England team mascot.
Sharn-Louise Watson clutches the shield and the England team mascot.

A rugby talent from Sedlescombe helped England become the official world deaf women’s champions.

Sharn-Louise Watson was part of the England Deaf Rugby Union (EDRU) women’s team which triumphed at the first World Deaf Sevens competition in Sydney, Australia.

The women’s squad played its first ever international fixture against another rugby deaf nation. England played a five-game series over two days against the Australia women’s deaf team and although all the matches were very close, England won the series 5-0.

Sharn, who was quick to praise coach Ben Norris, featured in all five games and although not among the tryscorers, she played a key part in England’s success.

England women received great support from the men’s team, which came second in its competition after losing by five points to Wales Deaf in the final.

The men played fixtures against Australia, Fiji, Japan, Wales, Australia Barbarians and World Barbarians (teams from South Africa, Italy, Hong Kong and New Zealand).

The competition gave huge awareness to deaf rugby on a global scale and a second World Deaf Sevens competition is undoubtedly on the horizon.

Sharn wished to say a big thank you to her mum Toni-Jane Watson, without whom the whole memorable experience wouldn’t have happened.

There wasn’t enough money in the EDRU charity to pay for flight tickets and accommodation, so Sharn had to raise the money herself.

Sharn’s mum completed six hours of continuous dancing and the sponsorship she received off the back of it covered the £1,500 needed to make the trip down under.

Sharn, who originates from Hastings, is a former pupil at Rye College and started playing rugby aged 13 at Rye RFC when the RFU came into the school looking for girls keen on taking up the sport.

The 23-year-old has since gone on to represent the likes of Rye, Aylesford, New Ash Green, Sussex, Kent and then the South East region, as well as her country.

She scored a try in England Deaf Rugby Union’s (EDRU) first ever women’s game in early 2015, a 22-12 victory against Penallta Minerbirds at Cardiff Arms Park.

Sharn, who works as a support worker in Hastings, has had problems with her hearing since she was little and has worn hearing aids from the age of 11.

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