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Hartlepool United have enjoyed a great first season since their formation last summer and it has resulted in them carrying off the Durham County Women's League title at the first attempt.
The Championship was secured last week with four matches still to play and after two further victories, they are just two games away from possibly finishing the season with a 100% league record.
Hartlepool's success has not been limited to the league though, they also reached the semi finals of the Durham County Cup before going out to Premier League side Chester-le-Street, and are also in the semi finals of the League Cup. Earlier in the season, in the SSE Women's FA Cup, they embarked on an excellent run which saw them beat Redcar Town from the league above, and Blackpool Wren Rovers from the Premier League, before going out in the Fourth Qualifying Round to Morecambe.
Manager Andy Stuart is in his third season in charge at the club, the first season as Hartlepool United Ladies FC. "This came about when the new owners took over the club and wanted to have women's and girls football as part of the club set up," he said. "The chairman approached us via the chief executive and we were invited to become part of the set up, this led to us being renamed [from Seaton Carew] in the process."
The club is captained by Jo Hurrell, who is currently sidelined after a bad break, therefore goalkeeper Holly Robertson wears the captain's armband.
"I don't want to single out any particular players," added Andy. "The average age of the squad is 21 and they have all played a part in the success we have enjoyed this year.
"It was the FA Cup that forged our success this season, we entered it as a bit of fun to bond the team but they played really well and went as far as beating teams three levels above us.
"We have about 90 women and girls involved in many teams, this has increased since our profile was raised and the club are supporting us. This is early days but we hope to continue and build a footballing centre for women and girls in Hartlepool and the surrounding areas."
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