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Bradley Stoke keep their nerve

Bradley Stoke Ladies held their nerve to win the Gloucestershire County Women’s League Division Three title following a season-long battle with Whitchurch & Bristol.

They needed to win their final game against Southmead Community Sport - who had beaten their main rivals only seven days previously - in order to be crowned Champions and a first half goal from Alex Thomson gave them a tense 1-0 victory and the result they required.

This secured a first ever trophy success for the team, who had led the table from Christmas, until a defeat to Whitchurch & Bristol had left matters in doubt, with two matches left to play.

The team has an age range from 17 to 39 and is managed by Martin Lee, who has a philosophy to take 16 players to each match and then bring on the substitutes at the midpoint of each half. Joe Reid is coach, Natalie Lewis is captain and Hollie Shone finished as leading goalscorer with 26 to her name, whilst Chloe Brown, Emily Jackson and Natalie Lewis all reached double figures. At the other end of the pitch, goalkeeper Abbie Pickett and her defence also sported a proud record, conceding only 16 times all season.

The season started off with a narrow 1-0 defeat to Olveston Utd Res but a 4-1 victory over Whitchurch & Bristol in the next game sparked off an eight-match winning run which took them to the top of the table. A surprise setback at Mitcheldean was then followed by six more wins, before the nervy end to the campaign.

Bradley Stoke are linked with the girls section of Bradley Stoke Youth Football Club and this is providing a good feeder of players as they make the step up to senior football. LSI Workplace are the main kit sponsors and they have also received help from DNRG (matchday jackets) and Baileys Court Inn (post match hospitality).

Bradley Stoke squad: Abbie Pickett, Lauren Baker, Amber Barley, Chloe Brown, Eleanor Bush, Rosie Caseley, Louise Edwards, Madeleine Hilbert, Emily Jacklin, Niamh Jacklin, Marissia James, Leah Jennings, Natalie Lewis, Krista Matthews, Karam Nirwan, Joanne Olpin, Courtney Powell, Harriette Razey, Hollie Shone, Morgan Spill, Jessica Taylor, Rebecca Taylor, Alex Thomson, Laura Whitelegg, Katie Wood.

Photo - Molly Harvey