THE Gannock was the venue for the launch of a new rugby union competition involving Malton & Norton RUFC.

After forming a senior women's team in 2018, the Ryedale club has entered the team in the new England Rugby Inner Warrior Challenge Series, which is a development league aimed at new and developing women's teams.

Ian Hepworth, Malton's head of women and girls rugby, said: "Women's rugby union is the fastest growing sport in the country.

"There are 40 teams across the north of England taking part in the challenge series, split into eight small leagues.

"The emphasis is on providing competitive matches for the women while allowing the teams to develop and grow.

"The rules are very flexible, it's all about getting the games played.

"The leagues are very well planned geographically so the furthest we will travel is Ripon or Hornsea."

Teams from Hornsea, Scarborough, Ripon, Northallerton and Driffield came to take part in the launch.

They were joined by Ted Atkinson, one of the Yorkshire RFU representatives on the RFU council, and Russell Stead, the Malton & Norton RUFC president.

The women's team at the Gannock is always on the lookout for new players - and previous rugby experience is not required.

They practise on Tuesdays from 7pm to 8.30pm at the club in Old Malton Road.