RUGBY mad schoolgirl Anna King has made history at Bury RUFC after becoming the first female in the club's 142-year history to get her name on an honours board.

The 15-year-old Woodhey High School pupil won the Arthur Kenyon award for outstanding sportsmanship following a successful season that has seen her break through into the county set-up.

King started playing rugby for Bury in their boys teams as a seven-year-old, but her rise through the ranks has coincided with the development of a dedicated women's section at the club.

As well as playing for the Radcliffe Road outfit's under-15s side, the teenager is also an integral part of the new open-age women's team.

"It's really nice to be able to represent the club and be the first female on an honours board," she said.

"I am really proud and excited.

"There were no girls' teams at the club back when I started, and the rule meant I had to stop playing mixed rugby when I turned 12.

"But I have been lucky as I have been able to play for the girls' teams for the past two years and now the women's side, which is properly up and running now.

"Last October I was picked to play for Lancashire and in September I will represent the county in an international sevens tournament in Paris.

"I would part of that opportunity down to the club, which has been really good backing the women's set-up.

"It has managed to get more local women playing the game at a time when a similar thing has been happening across the North West.

"So there are loads more teams up and running now who are all playing at the same standard, which means we can get some good competitive rugby.

"Our coach, Phil Kay, has given us brilliant support. I am learning new things at every single training session, and I feel all the girls in my teams are really engaging well with what he trying to do and coming on leaps and bounds."

King has even started to turn her hand to coaching, helping to put on tag rugby sessions for pupils in Years 7 and 8, and is ambitious to take every opportunity the sport offers her.

"I love the game and would like to take it as far as I can, maybe getting to play for England one day," she said.

Kay hopes more local women and girls will follow King's lead in taking up the sport.

He said: "We have always been a community club but now have the infrastructure to cater for all the family.

"We are now developing girls teams from u13s up to u18s, as well as a women’s side.

"The club also has three men's teams and an occasional Friday-night team, plus minis and junior rugby from u6s up to u17s.

"And we are also holding touch rugby sessions on Sunday mornings, from 11.45am, over the summer."