VACANCY: Video partner wanted

Crawley Wasps LFC – the largest all women’s and girls football club in Crawley and one of the premier ladies clubs in the south east – are seeking someone with video filming and editing expertise for a brand new role.

With our first team aiming for promotion to the FA Women’s Premier League, we want a talented and self-motivated individual to produce imaginative video footage promoting the club and its sponsors – particularly main club sponsor Thales, a major global brand, and Cottesmore Hotel, Golf & Country Club, who provide weekly access to their impressive facilities for strength and conditioning training.

The successful applicant would also film first-team games to be used within the club for analysis.

This opportunity would be a voluntary role and would be ideal for organisations or individuals seeking to work with sports clubs to enhance their portfolios and experience (possibly individuals undertaking undergraduate/post-graduate qualifications etc.).

We would consider supporting such an individual/group with material costs, if required.

This is an excellent opportunity for a group/individual in this field of work to become involved with a progressive and ambitious ladies football club as the women’s game continues at pace to attract media exposure.

The successful applicant would report to the club’s communications officer, Andrew Raeburn (a professional sports journalist).

How to apply: Send a CV and a covering letter – plus examples of any work if available – to Andrew Raeburn,

Bunaken Oasis extend support for Wasps

Indonesian-based diving resort Bunaken Oasis have extended their sponsorship of Crawley Wasps’ Ladies first team.

The luxury resort was opened last September and began backing Wasps’ first team later in the club’s 25th anniversary season.

They have committed for another campaign, a further boost to Wasps following the partnership with Cottesmore Hotel, Golf & Country Club and the main-club sponsorship of Thales.

Elaine Wallace, managing director of Bunaken Oasis, said: “We are delighted to continue our support to Crawley Wasps Ladies first team.

“We give our very best wishes to them for this coming season and to securing their ambition of promotion to the FA Women’s Premier League.

“We shall be following the team’s journey with interest and enthusiasm again this coming season.”

Wasps’ first-team boss Paul Walker added: “This is another high-quality commercial partnership for Crawley Wasps LFC and a further demonstration of the value that others see in what we are doing as a club within our local community.

“Last year, in our 25th anniversary season, we secured Thales as our main club sponsor – they have been fantastic with their support to the whole club.

“Cottesmore Hotel, Golf & Country Club have just become our new first-team training partner, which is massive for us – now the news of the continued support from Bunaken Oasis and I hope more to come. We are absolutely a club on the move.”

Located on Bunaken island at the westerly extreme of Liang Beach, Bunaken Oasis dive resort boasts 12 large, traditionally built private villas and guests can access some of the finest wall, muck and reef diving the area has to offer.

Vacancy – Strength and conditioning coach wanted
Pre-season friendlies announced
Former Palace development coach joins Wasps
Wasps promotion bid boosted by Cottesmore deal

VACANCY: Strength and conditioning coach wanted

Crawley Wasps LFC are hunting for a fitness coach to lead the club’s new strength and conditioning sessions.

Thanks to a partnership deal announced this week, Wasps’ first-team players will be given regular access to the outstanding gym facilities at Cottesmore Hotel, Golf & Country Club in Pease Pottage.

The successful candidate for the voluntary role would take charge of the Thursday night sessions at Cottesmore and potentially work with the club’s other teams when possible.

Wasps first-team boss Paul Walker hopes the extra time spent in the gym will help his side achieve their dream of promotion to the FA Women’s Premier League.

“This is a real step up in our training”, he said.

“We’ve got access to quality facilities at Cottesmore and accordingly we are looking for a quality individual to make the most of those facilities and develop our ladies.

“This is an exciting time to join a forward-thinking, ambitious club on the move.”

All enquiries should be directed to Paul Walker, Crawley Wasps’ first-team manager, on 07710 623980 or by emailing

Pre-season friendlies announced

Crawley Wasps have today confirmed the pre-season campaign for the first team.

Wasps will play friendlies against five FA Women’s Premier League sides – West Ham, Portsmouth and Gillingham, from the third-tier FAWPL South division, AFC Wimbledon from the FA WPL South-East and Southampton Saints from the FA WPL South-West.

See the poster for more details – all home games will be played at our training base at Ewhurst playing field, in Ifield Drive.

The first of three open trials for the Ladies section begins tonight (Wednesday) at 6.30pm.

Two more sessions will be held on Sunday, from 11am to 1pm, and next Wednesday (5 July), from 6.30pm.


Former Palace development coach joins Crawley Wasps

Mike Gardner, a former youth development coach for Crystal Palace, has joined Crawley Wasps as Ladies’ first-team coach.

Gardner will work alongside first-team manager Paul Walker, assistant boss Dave Cole and club head coach Martin Firmo, as Wasps bid to win promotion to the FA Women’s Premier League this season.

At the age of 18, he was working with under-nines in Palace’s development centres and other community projects in the Croydon area. Gardner also spent some of his holidays coaching in Spain, the Netherlands and Malta, gaining valuable experience.

He left Palace in 2013 to join Ardingly College as a football coach, for the first two years working with boys aged 7-18.

Gardner was then given the role of building a girls’ football programme at the college, which now has more than 100 girls training at least once a week – some as many as four times a week – with teams ranging from under-eights right up to under-18s.

While at Ardingly, Gardner also founded the MG Soccer Academy, running free events and holiday clubs for girls of all abilities to receive professional and structured coaching, in an attempt to get as many girls as possible playing and enjoying football.

Following the success of this, the East Grinstead Girls Development Centre was started, and it now boasts more than 30 girls playing to a very high standard.

“I am excited to get started with Crawley Wasps’ ladies first team and help get them where they want to be,” Gardner said.

Gardner’s arrival comes just after Wasps announced a partnership with Cottesmore Hotel, Golf & Country Club, which would see first-team players add a strength and conditioning session to their regular weekly training session.

Wasps’ promotion bid boosted by Cottesmore deal

Wasps’ first-team boss Paul Walker (left) shakes on the deal with Cottesmore general manager Johnny Porter.

Crawley Wasps have announced a new partnership with Cottesmore Hotel, Golf & Country Club which will give a major boost to the club’s ambition of reaching the FA Women’s Premier League (FAWPL).

The agreement will allow Wasps’ first-team players access to the outstanding gym facilities at Cottesmore, in Pease Pottage, just a few miles south of Wasps’ training base in Ifield.

It will enable the club to run strength and conditioning sessions, in addition to the weekly training night, as they look to win promotion from the London & South East Premier Division, the fifth tier of women’s football.

“Cottesmore are a premium brand in the local area with tremendous facilities and it’s fantastic we’ve been given access to them on a weekly basis,” said Crawley Wasps’ first-team manager Paul Walker.

“Last year, our 25th anniversary, we secured Thales as our main club sponsor and they continue to be a brilliant partner. This is another terrific commercial partner we’ve attracted, demonstrating we are a community club on the move.”

Johnny Porter, general manager of Cottesmore Hotel, Golf & Country Club, added: “Cottesmore is delighted to partner with Crawley Wasps and fully support their ambition for league promotion this year.”

The partnership with Cottesmore has been met with real enthusiasm by Wasps players, and the wider club, with first-team captain Hannah Duncan believing it could make all the difference.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to take our training and fitness up to the next level with Cottesmore,” she said.

“Last season, I felt we were one of the fittest teams in the league in terms of stamina but maybe lacked a bit of physicality at times.

“Hopefully this will prove to be the extra ingredient we need to achieve promotion.”

PRESENTATION NIGHT: Walker, Ward, Barker and Graves among the winners

Holly Walker won both first-team player of the year awards at Crawley Wasps’ presentation evening on Saturday, with stalwart Michelle Ward honoured for her 20 years at the club.

Meanwhile, Jodie Barker, Lauren Graves, Chanelle Gainsford and Eleanor Keegan were among the main winners in the youth section.

Chairman Alan Dunt said: “It was a good night as always. There was a lot of emotion there – I think when you get involved with the club, it becomes close to your heart.”

Here’s where the awards went…

Thales Award

Named after our main club sponsor, the Thales Award is new for 2017 and is designed to honour anyone within the club for their outstanding commitment to Crawley Wasps LFC.

The first recipient was vice-captain Michelle Ward, who has now been with Wasps for 20 seasons. She rose up through the youth ranks from a very young age and remains a key figure in the first team, being named our player of the match in the League Cup final against Leyton Orient last month.

“There was no more deserving winner, she’s been a credit to the club”
First-team boss and Wasps vice-chairman Paul Walker.

Ladies – first team

Players’ player of the year/manager’s player of the year: Holly Walker; Most improved player: Jade Elphick; Squad player (for exemplary commitment): Hannah Duncan

Centre-back Holly Walker picked up the top two trophies, after an excellent season which included selection for the Sussex FA representative team and jointly winning the most number of player of the match awards in the London & South East Premier Division.

Midfielder Jade Elphick was named most improved player. She arrived in the summer having played at a lower level with Haywards Heath and Hassocks, but stepped up with a string of composed performances in the middle of the park.

Captain Hannah Duncan – who is also one of the Under-12s coaches – was given the squad player award for her commitment to the team.

“In the tougher games, Holly has always performed. That is what tipped the balance for us.”
First-team boss Paul Walker.

Ladies – reserves

Players’ player of the year: Jessica Rippin; Manager’s player of the year: Natalie Stephenson; Most improved player: Hope Laker; Squad player (for exemplary commitment): Zoe Martin

Classy defender Jessica Rippin was named the reserves’ players’ player of the year. Her performances were rewarded with a first-team debut in December in a 4-2 win at Camden Town.

Former first-team captain Natalie Stephenson has enjoyed a renaissance under reserve-team boss Simon Pavey, who named her his player of the year after a season in which she chipped in with seven goals.

At 19, goalkeeper Hope Laker is showing mature and brave performances beyond her years in the Wasps’ goal – she was also given a first-team bow in an Women’s FA Cup tie at Abbey Rangers in September.

One of the loudest rounds of applause on the night was reserved for Zoe Martin, the reserves’ captain who was given the squad player for her determination to return to football just four months after husband Carl was paralysed in a motorcycle track day accident.


Players’ player of the year/squad player (for exemplary commitment): Jodie Barker; Manager’s player of the year: Chloe Baines; Most improved player: Abbie Chart; Golden boot: Lily Beckett.

Jodie Barker went away with two awards – players’ player of the year and the squad player, for her hard work and encouragement of others.

Midfielder Mark Hills and coach Mark Barker selected Chloe Baines (pictured) as their player of the year, while Abbie Chart took the most improved player, after stepping up her game this season.

Lily Beckett also picked up a trophy after finishing as the team’s top scorer, with 12 goals.

“Mark Barker and I are really proud of the girls and the hard work they have put in.
We are now preparing to move into ladies football, a new challenge we are all looking forward to.”
Mark Hills, Under-16s manager


Players’ player of the year: Chanelle Gainsford and Eleanor Keegan; Manager’s player of the year: Lauren Graves; Most improved player: Macy Watts; Squad player: Chloe Upton.

You couldn’t split the top two in the players’ player of the year vote – Chanelle Gainsford and Eleanor Keegan shared the trophy after excellent performances against the boys of the Mid Sussex League.

Goalkeeper Lauren Graves was kept busy at times during a difficult but rewarding season and constantly impressed with her saves, earning her the player of the year nod from manager Roy Stannard and coach Emma Wood.

Chloe Upton took the squad player of the year for her commitment to the cause.


A selection of Wasps’ younger players were presented with medals as a reward for their efforts this season.

COME AND JOIN US: 2017-18 Ladies trials in June and July

Crawley Wasps First Team Photo

Crawley Wasps LFC – the area’s largest all women’s and girls football club – is looking for new talent.

With our first team aiming for promotion to the FA Women’s Premier League, our reserves hoping to flourish in the South East Counties League and a brand-new Ladies third team for 2017-18, there has never been a better time to join Wasps.

If you are looking for a new club next season, come along to one of our three trial dates this summer.

Ex-Millwall midfielder Naomi Cole (left) and former Lewes striker Faye Rabson were both part of Wasps’ squad in 2016-17

Join a promotion-chasing squad

Our first team play in the London & South East Premier Division, the fifth tier of women’s football, and last season came third – equalling our highest-ever finish in the pyramid in our club’s 25-year history.

We also reached the final of the League Cup and Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup, where we played Women’s Super League 2 side Brighton, and two of our players were called up to the Sussex FA Women’s Representative side.

Our aim for 2017-18 is to win the London & South East Premier Division and secure promotion to the FA Women’s Premier League. To help us achieve this goal, we plan to train two nights a week next season, with a new strength and conditioning evening for first-team players at one of the top golf and country clubs in the area, who are expected to join our growing list of sponsors and partners.

Our reserves play one level below the first team, their goal to again consolidate their position in the South East Counties Premier Division, after staying up last season following promotion in 2015-16. The new development side, consisting of most of our Under-16s side from last season, will play in the Sussex County League.

Trial dates and times

We are looking for players to join each of our three teams for 2017-18. We will be holding open trials at our training base at Ewhurst, in Ifield Drive, Crawley, at the following times…

Wednesday 28 June – 6.30pm to 8.30pm
Sunday 2 July – 11am to 1pm
Wednesday 5 July – 6.30pm to 8.30pm

We are particularly looking for players with experience of playing at FA Women’s Premier League level, or those with the potential and hunger to step up to that level, to help the first-team promotion push.

To strengthen our reserves, we are looking for players with experience of playing in regional football, while for our development side, we are looking for talented 16- to 18-year-olds who have the potential to develop into future first-team players.

Contact details

Email Paul Walker, first-team manager, on, providing the following information…

• Full name and date of birth
• Current club and previous playing history
• Whether you wish to be considered for our first team, reserves or development side

You can also call Paul for more information on 07710 623980. Anything discussed will be treated in confidence.

An email containing full details of the trials will be sent out closer to the date.

There is no better time to join Crawley Wasps.

PREVIEW: Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup final – Crawley Wasps v Brighton & Hove Albion

Crawley Wasps face their biggest challenge of the season on Thursday night when they take on Brighton & Hove Albion in the final of the Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup.

But, having faced the Seagulls in last year’s showpiece and put in a creditable second-half display despite losing 5-1, Wasps’ players and coaches are confident of doing the club justice once again.

With a stronger squad than last year, and an excellent season both in terms of results and league position, we go into the game in buoyant mood.

Kick-off at Sussex FA’s headquarters at Culver Road, Lancing, is 7.15pm. Tickets cost £5 for adults and £3 for students and those aged 65 or older, while under-16s go free.

Here’s what some of the club’s key figures make of the game.

First-team manager Paul Walker

“I’m delighted we’ve made the final again this year. It is the biggest ladies cup in Sussex and the Sussex FA do a fantastic job on making it feel special.

“We’ve had an extremely good season, so I’m hoping, with the squad of players that we’ve got, that we can be really competitive in the game on Thursday night.

“My bet is Brighton will play a mixture of their first team and their development side, so I think we’re going to be up against extremely stiff opposition.

“The first strategy is to stay in the game in the first 20-25 minutes – we don’t give the ball away cheaply, we try and close the spaces down, we play with confidence and most importantly we’re solid at the back and we’re compact.

“What I hope people will see when they come is a group of players who are extremely talented, who are comfortable on the ball and who will do the women’s game justice.”

Assistant manager Dave Cole

“I expect Brighton will take us a little bit more seriously this year. We’ve probably got more strength in depth than last season so I’m expecting us to have a go and show people how far this club has come in 12 months.

“Even the pros will tell you, it’s about getting rid of the nerves in the first 10-15 minutes. The girls that played there last year are coming back again so those nerves hopefully will have gone, and the more experienced girls that we have brought in have been there anyway, so I’m expecting us to be a bit calmer about it all.

“My brief, when I came in at the start of last season, was to help start pushing the club on. We’ve definitely moved the club on and year-on-year that’s what I hope to do.

“Off the pitch we need to build behind the scenes to push the profile on – that’s what Brighton have got, that’s what Chichester and Lewes have got. It’s not all about what happens on the field, it’s off the field as well, and nights like Thursday help.”

Captain Hannah Duncan

“We’ve come a long way from last season. We’ve made huge strides forward both on and off the pitch and the squad now is certainly a much stronger one, so we’ve got to take confidence from that.

“We’ve played Brighton in pre-season friendlies as well as in the cup final last year so we know what they’re all about. Those of us there last year know what it’s like to be in front of the crowd and everyone’s played on that pitch just a few days before the final, so there shouldn’t really be any surprises.

“We’ve got to go out with a positive mindset – we can’t look at it as damage limitation. We’ve played some fantastic football this season – keeping it on the ground, passing and moving, playing the strikers in – so we can certainly put on a show.

“Playing against a team of Brighton’s quality and experience will force us to raise our game as we did last year. We’ve just got to go out and do ourselves proud on the night.

Midfielder Suzanne Davies

“We played very well last year. Everyone worked very hard, pressed very well and defended very well, so that’s obviously something we’ll have to do again this time.

“We’ve got a stronger side this year so hopefully we can be a bit more attacking than last year and maybe we can surprise some people.

“If they’re going to put out a lot of Super League players then that’s obviously going to make it much more difficult for us, but we’ve always got a chance if it’s going to be the reserve team or the youngsters.”

For a match report on last year’s final, click here – and for highlights, provided by Football Exclusives, click here:

REVIEW OF 2016 – Part 10: November

Our review of a busy 2016 at Crawley Wasps LFC continues with November

In terms of results, November was arguably the best month of the year for the club.

The first-team won four out of four, scoring 25 goals, the reserves made progress in the League Cup and the Under-16s climbed the table.

But the most pleasing performance came from the Under-15s, who earned a historic point against Lindfield Boys, their first-ever in a mixed-sex league.

Chanelle Gainsford got the Wasps’ goal, with a free-kick from outside the box, and although Lindfield equalised, they were able to celebrate an outstanding achievement.

And despite defeats to Hassocks Hawks and Preston Panthers, they were conceding fewer goals and showing greater resilience, a sign of the improvement they were making.

Elsewhere in the youth section, the Under-16s picked up four points from three league games, including a 5-1 win over Rustington Raiders.

The goals were spread around during the month, with two apiece for Caitlin Baigent, Jodie Barker, Lily Beckett (pictured) and Topaz Luxford.

The Under-12s only played once during the month, suffering a heavy defeat at Eastbourne Borough.

The Ladies first-team got their League Cup campaign off to a flying start with two away wins, 5-0 at Camden Town and 3-2 at Watford Development.

Wasps then thrashed Eastbourne Ladies 7-0 in the Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup, with Danielle Boyd scoring a hat-trick.

And they continued their excellent league form with a 10-0 hammering of Aylesford, matching the goal glut against Herne Bay from the previous month.

Suzanne Davies got a hat-trick on that occasion as Wasps showed their goal threat from across the park.

The Ladies reserves won 4-0 at Haywards Heath & Wivelsfield in the League Cup, Amy Clark scoring three of the goals, and she followed that up with a brace in the 3-3 draw against Abbey Rangers.

Clark was also on target in the next league game but couldn’t prevent a 5-3 defeat to Chichester City Development.

In the Capital Intermediate Cup, a walkover against Hackney allowed Simon Pavey’s side to go through to the quarter-finals, where they will meet Charlton’s reserves in February.

Meanwhile, two of the Ladies first team were rewarded for their excellent form with call-ups to the Sussex FA representative side.

Defender Holly Walker and prolific striker Rosanne Fine are both pictured coming on as substitutes as a Sussex team predominantly made up of Brighton and Lewes players won 4-1 at Kent.

And the club were delighted to receive further sponsorship, with entrepreneurs Elaine and Simon Wallace and their new company Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort, Indonesia, adding some glamour – and fashion accessories…


June and July