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Women's Football News
Tavistock can look forward to top flight football in the Westward Developments Devon League next season after clinching the Division One title.
They still sport an unbeaten record in the league this season and player manager Tania Coker told Women's Soccer Scene that the seeds had been sown long before the campaign had started.
"Last season we began with no manager and only just enough players for a team," said Tania. "This season has carried on building from last year's good season.
"We were each taking it in turns to do training sessions with sometimes only 4-6 players turning up. It seemed pointless at times, however we kept it going, old players returned and new players joined and slowly the team was built up.
"I took on the role as player manager and Adrian Rockey, who used to help manage our team previously, helped me out and Rebecca McMullin who joined at the beginning of last season, took on the coaching.
"It was a pretty tough start to last season, a few games we would be let down by people bailing out in the morning or the night before, which made it so frustrating. Yet the whole team battled through, more players joined and we managed to finish third overall last season. We were all so happy as we worked hard to get that far and keep the team going."
After all the hard work had paid off, Tania then set her sights on doing even better this time around. "We knew that this season we could win the league if we worked hard enough for it," she admitted. "Pre-season, we played teams in a couple leagues above and trained twice a week to ensure we were at our best for the beginning of the season.
"We continued with myself as player manager, Rebecca McMullin as coach and Adrian Rockey as secretary.
"This season we have gone from strength to strength, winning the league before Christmas. We have only lost one game, a League Cup game against Newton St Cyres, and drawing 0-0 against Brixham Villa, the only game this season where we haven't scored. Our best game of the season by far was against Newton St Cyres to win the league, everyone knew what they had to do and played so well, making it a great match to not only play but watch. After previously beating them 3-2, losing 3-1 and winning in the DCFA Supplementary Cup 5-4 on penalties, we knew it would be a tough game but we won 4-1.
"Our highest result has been 16-1 this season and we have scored 65 goals so far and only conceded 11. Our top goalscorer for the second year in a row is Sarah Martin and our centre back Chelsea Starbuck has been a superb captain."
However Tania warns that their season is not finished yet. "We still have one league game left and we are semi finalists in the DCFA Supplementary Cup against Activate, who are in the league above us," she explained. "This will no doubt be one of our toughest games of the season, but I believe with our determination and enthusiasm, we can carry on our momentum and win. We also have recently beat a team 2-0 which was two leagues above us in a friendly, so if we continue how we have been, we should hopefully be into the final.
"We were also very lucky this season to have new training jackets sponsored by Specsavers and hopefully we can gain some more sponsorship towards new kit.
"We have a great attendance to training most weeks with around 15/16 ladies turning up every Tuesday evening. Many of us also keep fit and take part in other sports on top of football so we are a fit team."
Tania is also looking to the future with plans for next season already underway: "With another pre-season with a few friendlies, hopefully against teams a couple divisions above, and training twice a week, as well as tournaments such as the Son Rise Cup in Tavistock - which I am helping get more ladies teams involved in - next season will hopefully be as successful as the current one seems to be!
"Also I am intending on putting on some sessions for 16-18 year olds to get them involved with us, which the majority of the ladies will help out with in order to develop our team and increase our squad as well as making it less daunting and scary for young players."
So what does Tania feel is the key to the team success? "I believe the main reason why we have done so well is that everyone enjoys it and is involved in something in the team, therefore making it worthwhile to each player when we do well. To some people, it's their only day off so I want it to be enjoyable for all.
"Everyone in the squad has played an really important role in winning the league and our team is growing. We have a really encouraging and fun team which is made up of a range of ages and abilities. Even if someone makes a mistake in a game there is no bitching or arguments, we just encourage everyone to get the best out of each other.
"I like to have as much input from the girls as possible and they help me as much as they can. We do the majority of things as a team and take it in turns from kit washing to match reports to filling the team drinks bottles as well as fundraising events such as cycling in fancy dress on two occasions to raise money for the team. We are looking forward to planning another fundraising event.
"A few of the girls also have roles within the team, such as coach, sports therapist, website and social network sites, event organisers, it seems to work well for us. We have a list of fines to help raise money towards our team. At the end of the season we have our presentation where we have awards for team members achievements etc and also we use some of the fine list so there are some silly awards too!
"We are also lucky to have supportive family and friends that come along to watch our matches and cheer us on."
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