12 NATIONS – 8 DAYS – 1 PASSION
They knew it would be an uphill struggle. They knew it would be a mountain to climb. Just how high that mountain would be and just how steep the climb, they could never have guessed. Braving prejudice, sexism, and obstinate officialdom, they could easily have turned back. Except these girls were fighters. They had to be – they played women’s rugby.
Crossing The Line is the story of the first Women’s Rugby World Cup held in Wales in 1991. It was the brainchild of four remarkable, and remarkably different women. We follow the comic, poignant and often wryly hilarious journey of two of them – SUE DORRINGTON and DEBORAH GRIFFIN.
SUE’S a straight talking girl from the American Mid-West, never afraid to express her opinion. She came to England because she fell in love – with rugby. Her dedication to the game is fearsome. Her position on the field is hooker – right in the face of the enemy. In the middle of the scrum and that’s where she likes to be. She has no time for mealy-mouthed Limey courtesies, and cannot understand why her fellow players aren’t making more effort to raise the profile of the woman’s game.
Her friend, Richmond Rugby Club teammate and co-conspirator, is DEBORAH GRIFFIN, a quietly spoken accountant, mild on the outside but steely on the inside.
Our story starts with a post match drink, when Debs poses the question – why is there no Woman’s Rugby World Cup? This casual remark lights a flame, and gets the girls thinking. A thought becomes a plan, and a plan becomes a project. And what a project it turns out to be. The girls have no support and no money. They’re both working women and the male rugby world is mired in the fine old traditions of patronage, smut and sexism. Leading players speak against the girls. The official bodies don’t want to know. As for sponsorship, it is nowhere to be found.
Undaunted, the girls press on aided by fellow player MARY FORSYTH and ex chairman’s wife, MARJORY. Their sheer enthusiasm, and the strength of their dream, propelling them towards their own personal goals. The price is heavy. Their personal lives suffer. Sue’s precarious marriage begins to break up. Debs, a new mother, must make difficult decisions about her conflicting responsibilities. But despite the agony, the girls press on to a triumphant conclusion in this entertaining story of grit, sheer bloody mindedness and the will to win. In the process they change women’s rugby forever.
Julian Lewis Jones
GFM Films – Mike Ryan