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Last week, the first of the eight Regional League titles was decided when Solihull Ladies were crowned as Champions of the West Midlands League.
It was fitting that Solihull were the first team to achieve this after having dominated the division from start to finish during the season and once led the table by an enormous eighteen point margin.
However all of this success came after preparations for the season which could hardly be described as ideal. Solihull Ladies had a turbulent off-season period with the resignation of their long serving manager Sarah Carney and the loss of coach Stuart Ryder to Premier League side Coventry City Ladies FC. Furthermore, the promotion of local rivals Birmingham & West Midland Police into the West Midlands League Premier Division left Solihull groundless due to cancellation of their tenancy by the West Midlands Police Sports & Social Club.
Unable to find an appropriate managerial replacement, Club Chairwoman Rosie Slade was tasked with seeking a new ground for the club and the management of the first team squad on commencement of the 2012-13 season. Both Jim Tipper (Fitness Coach) and Joanna Pointon (Team Captain) formed the remainder of the backroom staff.
Solihull started the season well with a 2-0 win at TNS Ladies and continued to be unbeaten for the next eight games, scoring a further 27 goals and conceding only 6. Their unbeaten streak came to an end aat Hereford Pegasus as an out-of-sorts Solihull side failed to score for the first time in nine games and lost 2-0.
Despite this setback, Solihull remained top of table, a position they had held since late September. Three further back-to-back wins against Lichfield Diamonds, TNS and Hereford Pegasus saw Solihull sitting in pole position at the start of the new year. However injuries to key midfielders Hollie Williams and Rachael Martin would see them sit out the remainder of the season and place pressure on the league leaders. However despite this, Solihull took their second unbeaten run to eight games with Sian Davies and Becki Knight topping the league's leading goalscorers chart with 14 and 12 goals respectively.
As Solihull entered their penultimate match of the season at home to Cannock, only the two newly promoted teams - FC Reedswood and Birmingham & West Midlands Police - were in a position to challenge them for the league title. However a goalless draw with Kingshurst Sporting ruled the Police out of the race and left FC Reedswood needing to win all ten of their remaining matches (including beating Solihull on their own patch on May 12th) to have any hope of a second successive promotion. However Reedswood's title challenge ended on a blustery night on the Welsh border as a 3-0 victory by TNS secured Solihull's promotion.
Solihull now enter their final league game of the season assured of the title and preparing for life in the Midland Combination next season.
As part of their preparations for the 2013-14 season, Solihull Ladies FC will be appointing a new Manager and Coach and are also seeking to add to their playing squad. All interested players, managers and coaches can contact the club via the website at www.solihullladiesfc.co.uk.
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