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Women's Football News
Rushmoor Ladies' first team has been playing in the Hampshire League for four seasons now but at the end of the 2016-17 season, although doing well enough to remain in the First Division, they took the decision to drop a league and take time to consolidate and rebuild. A number of new players joined both pre and during the season, strengthening the core of ladies they already had. The youngest addition to the team was Brogan Nevitt, who is just seventeen, but the squad has a range of ages and experience right up to captain Terri Parker who has played women's football for many years. The increasing numbers within the development squad also assisted with training and the ability to always field a strong team.
"Although I expected us to do well, I was surprised at how dominant we were this season," manager Gary Smith told Women's Soccer Scene. "In the league we ended up unbeaten, in cup competitions we lost on penalties in the Invitational Cup and our only loss in the Intermediate Cup was in the Final. Notable games were an 8-0 win against New Milton Ladies first team, 6-1 against AFC Stoneham and beating third placed Horndean 8-0 away, in our last game of the season.
"The football we are now playing is great, we've managed to overcome the long ball punt upfield and have concentrated on ball retention and simple passing to move the ball but for me, the biggest improvement is our team spirit. All of the ladies are so supportive of each other, it makes them so much stronger as a team, both on and off the pitch. Although we now run two teams, they are one squad who genuinely love to support each other during game time and at social events.
"Highlights for the first team this season will be winning Division Two resoundingly by eight points with a goal difference of 34, I guess the only tarnish on the season will be not winning the Cup Final. One of our players, Emma Mutch, picked up the Golden Boot award for most goals scored (33) and added to that she was player of the year. But for me, as team manager, we are now scoring goals from all positions which takes the pressure off of Emma and allows her to set up and distract as well as score.
"We have a solid back four in Gemma Bennett, Abbie Kinch, Emma Legg and Stacey Charman that have played together for four seasons now, with Deb Wood stepping in when required. Quick wings able to cross and score when required in Lisa Cooper and Jade Nightingale, a strong midfield, captained by Terri Parker, of Kirsty Buchanan, Jen Gilliam-Blair, Jade Bennett, Brogan Nevitt and Grace Irvine, and a proven strike force of Emma Mutch and Nat Washington.
"Although a settled squad this season undoubtedly aided in our success, we have a number of ladies in our development squad that are more than ready to step up and challenge places in the firsts next season. With ever growing numbers, our aim is to start a third ladies team with the ultimate goal being self perpetuation through the many girls teams we have at the club.
"Division One beckons, and we are fully aware it will be a tough season, but one we are more than prepared for."
Gary Smith is assisted by Steve Smith whilst Al Gardiner is Head Coach and Head of Female Football at the club.
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