England Deaf star wants to inspire

ROLE MODEL: Steph Hanratty
ROLE MODEL: Steph Hanratty

Sudbury’s Steph Hanratty hopes the achievements so far in her fledgling rugby career will help to inspire deaf and hard of hearing children to get involved in sport, writes Alex Moss.

The former Thomas Gainsborough School pupil, who works as a special needs co-ordinator, only took up 15-a-side rugby last year but has already enjoyed plenty of success.

Hanratty represented the England Deaf Women’s side against Devon Ladies late last month as part of a Deaf Rugby Awareness Day, and on Sunday she was in the Bury St Edmunds Ladies team that beat Peterborough Ladies 22-5 in their final game of the season to secure the Women’s National Challenge East Two title.

“I didn’t ever think I could make the England team or the Eastern Counties team when I first started,” the 34-year-old said.

“It was a bit surreal to play for England. It was quite humbling to do it and I would like to help raise awareness of women’s rugby and rugby for the deaf and hard of hearing.

“I would like to keep my starting position in the England team and also help get more children who are deaf or hard of hearing active in sport.”