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SSE Women's Cup Final - Road to the Final
Polly Wardle scored a hat-trick and Sarah Gregory the other goal as Bristol Ladies Union went through with a 4-2 victory over Middlezoy Rovers. The draw paired them with Herne Bay, who beat Eastbourne Ladies 2-0 with goals from Debbie Blackmore and Carly Farrow.
This incarnation of a Ladies team at Herne Bay FC was formed for the 2012-13 season and entered the South East Counties Women's Football League, being placed in the Kent Division for its inaugural season. Under the leadership of manager Anthony Deer, it proved to be a very successful season with three trophies being won. The Ladies finished as champions of the Kent Division gaining promotion to Division One (East) and adding the Kent Divisional Cup and the Kent FA Women's Plate to their successes. In the latter they beat Parkwood Rangers in the final at Sevenoaks Town FC, at that time Parkwood were a Premier Division side.
In the following season, Herne Bay Ladies again had another successful term retaining the Kent FA Women's Plate with victory in the final against Bromley Ladies at Sevenoaks Town FC's ground and finishing runners-up in the SECWFL Division One (East) to win promotion to the Premier Division. In addition, the SECWFL League Cup was won with victory over Premier Division side, Bexhill United, who had won the Premier Division to gain promotion to the London & South East Counties Regional Women's Football League.
The 2014-15 again saw Herne Bay Ladies enjoying success and progression in the women's game. In their first season in the SECWFL Premier Division they continued their progression and finished runners-up to Dartford Royals but gained their third promotion in as many years when Royals were unable to accept promotion to the London & South East Regional Women's Football League. The League Cup was retained when Bay beat Dartford Royals 1-0 in the final. Herne Bay FC Ladies also reached the First Round Proper of the FA Women's Cup, where they lost narrowly to Carshalton Athletic.
It has been a mixed start to life in the L&SERWFL but Herne Bay are currently fourth in that league in a season that manager Anthony Deer admits will be one of consolidation. Herne Bay Ladies are an integral part of Herne Bay Football Club with home matches being played at Winch's Field, the parent clubs Ryman League stadium. The long term aim is to progress further in the women's game, climbing the pyramid to higher leagues.
Throughout their brief existence, the ladies have been captained by Rachel Tracy, a central defender with a penchant for scoring goals from long range free kicks. She is now just a few games away from her 100th appearance for the team. For the game at Bristol, Bay are likely to be without both main strikers, Vicky Holness and Harriett Chapman, through unavailability and work commitments. Herne Bay's right back is Emma Brown, a deaf player who plays for England Deaf Women Futsal Team which will be competing in the World Championships shortly in Bangkok. She holds a bronze medal from last year's Euro Championships and is hoping to go one (or two) better with England in the World Championship. Since gaining promotion to the L&SERWFL the team has attracted players with higher league experience including former Gillingham player, Danni Farmer, who is currently out injured. The demise of Maidstone United has seen some of their ex-players come into the club to add their experience and the higher profile has raised expectations from local players wanting to get into the women's game.
Bristol Ladies Union (from): Erin Pruett, Jen Atherton, Cheryl Baber, Alice Baker, Megan Barraclough, Chloe Brown, Mia Bussey, Sophie Cooper, Sarah Gregory, Natalia Debek, Sarah Robson, Joanna Millar, Sophie Morgan, Alyta Norman, Grace Snell, Chelsea Heal, Vicky Symes, Polly Wardle, Poppy Warren.
Herne Bay (from): Debbie Blackmore, Emily Brown, Emma Brown, Sarah Cooper, Carly Farrow, Amber Guyatt, Bethany Nugent, Alex Roy, Gemma Sullivan, Rachel Tracy, Amanda Beeput, Shona Clark, Kayleigh Mount, Mollie Proctor, Lucy Harrington, Nicola Morris, Vicky Holness, Harriet Chapman, Danni Farmer.
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