Sunday 8th September
Beds & Herts Women’s Division One
The opening weekend action comes thick and fast with leagues expanding in size the Beds & Herts Women’s Football League seeing 31 sides this season competing once again across 3 divisions. Plenty of goals scored on the opening weekend too in what has always proved to be a competitive league at all levels, sure that will prove to be the case once again this season.
With the increase in size teams are promoted up the tables into higher leagues, 4 making the step up to Division One this season, with Royston Town Women Development and Letchworth Garden City Eagles joining last season’s Champions Hitchin Belles and runners-up Hitchin Town Ladies. Sadly we have lost Sharnbrook WFC, whilst Sherrardswood Ladies and Garston Ladies Vintage Purples are relegated. Welwyn Pegasus Sapphires become Hartham United Ladies.
4 matches to start the season, with defending Champions Hemel Hempstead Town Ladies beginning at home to Hitchin Belles. Hemel Hempstead were strong last season and will certainly be the team to beat this time around to. Were strong in their opening fixture to win the match 8-2 with Bianca Hedgecock top scoring with 5 goals. Natasha McConville also getting on the scoresheet along with Amy Bentell and Kaila Merridan. Emily Field with both strikes for Hitchin Belles.
Top though after the opening fixtures are St Albans Ladies as they scored 7 without reply at home to Garston Ladies (1st team) on the opening day. Formerly Garston’s 2nd XI they finished ahead of their club mates to see the sides changing names ahead of the new season with separate twitter accounts to save confusion for the likes of myself. Not the start to the new season they wanted however as St Albans were dominant 4-0 up at half-time added 3 more goals late in the match with Eleanor Lovelock netting a hat-trick. Sophie Hull opened the scoring after 10 minutes. Ellen Slater and Molly Slade both finding the back of the net with a goal each in the 1st period. Cally Salter scoring late in the match.
Hitchin Town Ladies were involved in a fierce title race in Division Two last season with their local rivals eventually finishing 2nd, promoted began the season with a trip to fellow promoted side Royston Town Women Development. Hat-tricks for both Louise Gash and Samantha Couglan securing a 6-1 victory for Hitchin with Eve Chappell on target for the Royston goal.
Hartham United Ladies are a new name in the league the squad largely made up of former Welwyn Pegasus Sapphires players. The new side a charity football team looking to raise money and awareness of child bereavement for the 4louis charity. Began their league campaign with a trip to play Houghton Athletic Ladies. Both sides capable of beating anyone on the day shared a close match. Hartham United securing the 3 points courtesy of a 4-2 win. Ellie Burke netting a brace their were goal celebration too for Patience Ndlovu and Sophie Mandel. Emily Watson and Shakeela Hussain opening their accounts for Houghton Athletic.
Beds & Herts Women’s Division Two
It was a dramatic finish to the season in Beds & Herts Women’s Division Three last season with a 3 way battle for the title going all the way to the final day. AFC Dunstable Blues (Development then) clinching the title to win promotion to Division Two. AFC Kempston Town & Bedford College Ladies strong at the end promoted as runners-up also going up are Woburn & Wavendon Lionesses and Langford Ladies. 10 teams in the league, Evergreen Eagles and Welwyn Pegasus Azures (now Hitchin Town Ladies Reserves relegated)
3 games to start the season in Division Two and as in Division One plenty of goals scored. AFC Dunstable Blues beginning the season with a home match against Watton Ladies. Bianca Vassell scoring lots of goals last season 34 in total didn’t hang around this season to open her account finding the back of the net for 4 goals. Emily Mitchell joining the side this season netting a hat-trick in her first competitive match. Goals too for Nicola Hollick and Courtney McNamara in a 10-2 win. Watton Ladies positive in the build up to the new season not making the start they would have liked.
A difficult campaign for Sherrardswood Ladies last season finishing bottom of Beds & Herts Division One and relegated. A positive outlook to start the new season however and got off to a fantastic start at home playing Wheathampstead Wanderers Ladies on Sunday. Kristie Donovan putting the hosts into the lead on 10 minutes. A quick fire brace from Rhiana Rose 10 minutes later saw Sherrardswood leading 3-0. Rose going on to complete her hat-trick then adding another on the stroke of half-time. 5-0 up at the break two further goals were added inside the final 10 minutes with Natasha Little and Manjinder Atwal celebrating.
Elsewhere in Division Two it was a much tighter affair between Langford Ladies and Woburn & Wavendon Lionesses as the two newly promoted sides met in their opening fixture. Amber Clark top scoring for Langford last season with 25 goals, getting the only goal of the match in the first half to secure the 3 points for the hosts.
Beds & Herts Women’s Division Three
50 goals scored already and we haven’t even started with Division Three! An 11 strong league this season with 4 new sides joining, Herts Vipers, Whetstone Wanderers Ladies and familiar names returning Harvesters Ladies and Flitwick Eagles Ladies. As mention before Hitchin Town Ladies were previously Welwyn Pegasus Azures.
Plenty of goals scored across the five fixtures taking place on the opening weekend. 3 of the new sides getting off to a fantastic start. Herts Vipers were at home taking on Bedwell Rangers Ladies. Two goals inside the opening 15 minutes from Nicole Jancey seeing Harts Vipers leading 2-0 at half-time. The hosts ran riot in the 2nd period to put 7 more goals past their opponents Jancey adding 3 more goals to her tally. There was a brace for Rebecca Edge with both Annalie Wood and Lois Ruane on target for a goal each in a 9-0 win.
A high scoring win too at home for Flitwick Eagles Ladies on the opening day as they hosted fellow newcomers Whetstone Wanderers Ladies. Brittany Holdsworth getting her name on the scoresheet for 5 goals for Flitwick there was also a hat-trick for Anna Bright along with a goal each for Sammy Beharry and Abbie Ambrose. 10 goals for Flitwick they didn’t have it all their own way with Whetstone Wanderers breaching their defence for 3 goals themselves.
Harvesters Ladies also new to the league recording an opening day victory at home as they took on Hitchin Town Ladies Reserves. Sian Appleyard, Rachel Dodds and Eve Shaw all claiming a goal as Harvesters ran out 3-0 winners.
A high scoring match too between Biggleswade United Ladies and Stotfold Juniors Ladies on Sunday in their league opener. Biggleswade making some notable new addition look like they will be challenging at the top this season. A close first half though saw them trailing 2-1 at the break. Molly Norman and Becky Charter with the goals for Stotfold. A Jade Horsley goal sandwiched in between for the hosts. Biggleswade starting the 2nd half well, Leeanne Davison with 2 goals inside 5 minutes putting them 3-2 ahead. Norman scoring again for Stotfold on the hour, so too Zoe Molloy for Biggleswade the latter netting again midway through the 2nd half. 5-3 in front Norman scored her 3rd of the game to reduce the arrears for Stotfold, Biggleswade going on to win comfortably as Horsley added a brace to claim an opening day hat-trick along with one more for Davison to see her celebrating a hat-trick and an 8-4 win for Biggleswade.
The final game to bring you saw Kempston Rovers Ladies away to Buntingford Town Ladies both beginning their 2nd season in the Beds & Herts women’s football league. A tough first season for Buntingford, Kempston Rovers improved as the season wore on and will be looking to progress further. Got off to a great start winning 5-0 to bring the 3 points home. Ellie Newberry-Blerton and Zoe Trinder both scoring twice with Ellie Williamson alos on target for a goal.