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Oughtibridge capped a superb season for their club by winning the Sheffield & Hallamshire County Women's League Division One title on Sunday with a 3-2 victory over nearest rivals Handsworth.
The success on the pitch is just reward for a club which has had to work remarkably hard off it and overcome some huge obstacles thrown in their way as Andy Cain, who is the club's Secretary as well as Assistant Manager, explains.
"The Oughtibridge War Memorial Sports Ground and pavilion was washed away in the 2007 floods and it took until 2012 for the club to get back on its feet," he said. "The formation of a ladies team was part of that rebuilding programme.
"This is our second season in the S & H League, we won the 2nd division and Krukowski League Cup last season and reached the semi finals of the County Cup where we went out to Sheffield FC from the FAWPL.
"This season we signed a few new players to strengthen the squad and this proved invaluable as we lost a couple of players to injury and influential centre back Fern Scrivens who is expecting."
Oughtibridge quickly took the step up in level into their stride. "We started the season strongly with six straight wins including main rivals Handsworth 4-1 and Sheffield Wednesday Reserves 12-3," continued Andy. "However, in the return we lost 3-1 at Handsworth which opened the league up.
"The turning point in the season came in December when a much stronger Sheffield Wednesday Reserves pushed us all the way in a thrilling game which we edged 4-3, Lauren Turner scoring a second half hat-trick including a last minute winner.
"In our third meeting with SWFC Reserves, the game ended 2-2 but then we went on a winning run of five games to leave us needing a point in our final game, but this was against a Handsworth side who knew that a victory for them and in their four games in hand would see them pip us. However, a terrific first half performance and goals from Codi Melia, Lauren Turner and Annie Longmore saw us race into a 3-0 lead and although Handsworth bravely pulled two back in the second half, we clinched the title."
Oughtibridge's success has been a real all round squad effort. "Codi Melia, with 24 goals for the season, is probably the best known player, having previously been at Doncaster Belles, but her strike partner Lauren Turner has also been impressive with a tally of 21. That is even more remarkable in that she hadn't been playing regularly before coming for a trial in pre-season with other newcomer Anna Goulding, who has also chipped in with five goals.
"Former academy youngster Alice Maleham (7 goals) and returning anterior cruciate ligament victim Laura Cain give manager Andy Towns plenty of options up front. Veteran full back Kelly Biney was a former WPL player of the month back in the late 90s and continues to show that form whilst Adele Mcrory has proved to be an outstanding addition at left back. Classy sweeper Emma Softley reads the game well and smashed home a late winning penalty at Edlington in February.
"Keeper duties have been shared by the popular duo of Liz Dickens and team coach Eva Egginton. Young defender Lizzie Peake and left centre back Kirsty Walker have both contributed to a fine season for the defence. The workhorses in the middle of the park are skipper Abigail Towns, Becky Shaw and Jenny Selman and their presence gives the team a foothold in every game and they have been supported well by Bridie Pitsch, Katie Waymouth and Mollie Peters. Finally, wing backs Holly Towns (4 goals) and Annie Longmore (3 goals) have provided tremendous energy on each flank."
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