When I first met Mavis (Gas Girls Chairperson) he was pretty confident about the new club taking the Glos County Women’s League by storm and four games in that prophesy seems to be unfolding.
At time of writing BRWFC Firsts sit atop Division One having won four out of four of their games, scoring 20 goals with 4 in reply. Things are similarly rosy in Division Two with the reserves also on four in four, 13 goals to the good with just 2 (two) against. Mavis’ confidence came from the fact that we were starting low, had a name that persuaded established players to drop down the leagues to play for us and had access to the excellent facilities at Lockleaze. It’s still early days though and the Firsts’ nearest competitors Cheltenham Women U21s are a mere three points behind with a game in hand, not to mention the girls will have to test their mettle against much stronger teams should they progress in the Glos Cup.
Since I last wrote a blog I have been joined on the photo front by Rich Buchanan who I’ve been alternating first and reserve team duties with. As such, my first competitive game at Estádio da Leaze was Rovers Dev vs. Cheltenham Civil Service. This was a somewhat fraught affair in baking heat which sadly involved the premature ending of striker Zoe Fielden-Stewart’s season. To Zoe’s credit, I’ve never seen anyone react so stoically to a broken leg. I winced just hearing the collision. Must be hard as nails. After a 20 minute plus stoppage where no one was sure if the game would be resumed, the ressies were able to hold on to their one goal lead and honour their fallen comrade with a victory. All credit to the team because it can be easy to lose focus in situations like these and you could tell that Cheltenham had sensed that this was a possibility with the way they shot out of the blocks for the final third. I myself lost focus spectacularly during the break with a visit to the bar (sorry Zoe).
Next up the first team had an “away” game at Bristol Ladies Union Development who play at Coombe Dingle Sports Complex, a mere four miles from Lockleaze. Union are a well-established name in Bristol women’s footy and their first team play in the league above; the South West Women’s Football League Northern Division (you’re having a laugh). Coombe Dingle Sports Complex will be familiar to alumni of Henbury School as the site of many a frostbitten cross-country run and of Bristol University as the site of many a trouser-desecrating final exam. The place is notable for its attractive cricket pavilion and undulating grass football pitch. The girls faced their greatest challenge yet against Union and had to come back from a goal down initially but scored four of their own in reply, a brace from Rossana Rocha and one each from Jamie-Leigh Worlock and Hannah Thompson. Just when it looked like we had the game sewn up Union came back with two goals of their own and appeared to be hitting their stride just as we were starting to tire. The home team were caught offside one two many times and ran out of minutes to snatch a draw which they arguably deserved. Jamie-Leigh won player of the match and I’d have to agree with that assessment, badgering the opposition like a miniature Stuart Sinclair. I even overheard the referee remark “Blimey! You’re everywhere.” to her during a break in play.
Next up for me was the ressies vs. Bradley Stoke Ladies who play at Bradley Stoke Community School. Now, I consider myself well-versed in low-level football but the well-hidden sports field was an unglamorous place to watch a match even by my standards. Less lumpy than Coombe Dingle though. Not much to say about this one, it was a commanding 4-0 romp with goals from Lottie Weeks, Zoe Jones, Rosie Hall and Kelsey Manning with the latter picking up player of the match.
I wanted to dive into some wider topics around women’s football in this article but mindful that it’s already pretty long and that I’ve got to drive to Bishops Cleeve for a reserves game in a minute, I’ll save that for October when there’s only the one fixture. Bye for now!