REVIEW OF 2017 – Parts 6 & 7: June and July

Michelle Ward won the first-ever Thales Award, while chairman Alan Dunt (right) stood down

Continuing our look back on a successful 2017 for Crawley Wasps LFC, we remember the months of June and July

 

There may not have been any league football over the summer, but Crawley Wasps were still busy.

The 2016-17 season came to a close with the club’s annual presentation night. Holly Walker won both first-team player of the year awards, while stalwart Michelle Ward was honoured for her 20 years at the club with the newly created Thales Award, named after the club’s main sponsor and given to someone who has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to Wasps.

Jessica Rippin was named the reserve team’s player’s player of the year award, with Jodie Barker taking the honour for the Under-16s and Chanelle Gainsford and Eleanor Keegan joint recipients for the Under-15s.

For Eleanor, it was to be her last honour as a Wasps player – she joined Millwall Lionesses’ Under-16s squad.

Chanelle and her team-mate Lauren Graves picked up further player of the year titles, this time at the Sussex Schools FA awards.

At the club’s AGM, chairman Alan Dunt and treasurer Rory Church stepped down. Vice-chairman Paul Walker replaced Dunt, while committee members Karen Beckett and Kelly Byworth took on Church’s duties.

Focus then switched to the 2017-18 campaign, with the first team strengthening ahead of a bid for promotion. In came goalkeeper Frankie Gibbs (ex-Millwall), midfielders Jenny Drury (ex-Lewes) and Hayley Fowle (after a spell in the US) and striker Kemina Webber (from Watford Development).

Cottesmore became new partners for the first team

It wasn’t just players, though – Mike Gardner joined as first-team coach to replace the departing Martin Firmo, while Jordan Stannard and Paul Walshe were recruited to take the new weekly strength and conditioning sessions, in association with new partners Cottesmore Hotel, Golf & Country Club.

Wasps were also a popular presence at the Horley and Copthorne carnivals, with departing first-team goalkeeper Marie Gillstrom and Under-15s star Lauren Graves going head to head with youngsters of all ages in ‘beat the keeper’ contests.

Soon enough, training began again and pre-season campaigns got up and running. For the youth teams, there were also summer tournaments – the Under-16s were runners-up at Maidenbower, while the Under-15s were finalists at the Anchorians tournament and at Broad Oak.

Review of 2017

January – Sussex Cup semi win, Zoe’s brave return
February – Rabson makes mark, Laker repels Charlton
March – Another Cup final against WSL Brighton
April – Reserves on form, Under-15s end historic campaign
May – Orient end Cup dreams, Under-16s finish fourth
June/July – Sponsors sign up, new coaches appointed

To come…

August – First team open season with victories
September – Development and Under-11s begin well
October – Wasps hit nine twice in record start
November – Under-16s shine, first team set pace
December – Cup success for firsts and reserves

REVIEW OF 2017 – Part 5: May

Our review of a successful 2017 for Crawley Wasps LFC reaches May

For the second time in two months, Wasps’ first team had a showpiece final to contest.

This time, the team travelled to Maidstone United’s Gallagher Stadium to face title-winners Leyton Orient in the London & South East Regional League Cup final.

They had warmed up for the game with friendlies against QPR, West Ham and AFC Wimbledon, but did not get the fast start they desired as Orient went in two goals up at half time.

Naomi Cole gave Wasps hope by reducing the deficit 13 minutes from time but Orient struck again in injury time to seal victory.

Despite the defeat, an encouraging season which saw Wasps finish third in the fifth tier of women’s football, and reach two cup finals.

Under-16s

The only other team in action during May was Mark Hills’ Under-16s, who had the misfortune in their final game of coming up against one of the two outstanding teams of the division.

Ferring Divas had pushed Chichester City all the way at the top – both teams had won 16 of 17 matches going into the final month – and went on to beat Wasps 5-1, with Topaz Luxford scoring for the hosts at Ewhurst.

While Ferring were pipped to the title the following weekend, as Chi beat Southdown, Wasps finished fourth.

 

Review of 2017

January – Sussex Cup semi win, Zoe’s brave return
February – Rabson makes mark, Laker repels Charlton
March – Another Cup final against WSL Brighton
April – Reserves on form, Under-15s end historic campaign
May – Orient end Cup dreams, Under-16s finish fourth
June/July – Sponsors sign up, new coaches appointed

To come…

August – First team open season with victories
September – Development and Under-11s begin well
October – Wasps hit nine twice in record start
November – Under-16s shine, first team set pace
December – Cup success for firsts and reserves

REVIEW OF 2017 – Part 4: April

Continuing our review of a successful 2017 for Crawley Wasps LFC, we look back on April

Chanelle Gainsford scored the Under-15s final goal in a boys league

The decision made last summer to test Wasps’ Under-15s against the boys of the Mid Sussex Youth League certainly created headlines.

The many who backed it knew it would have long-term gain in terms of development, but possibly short-term pain in terms of results – and so it proved, with 17 defeats from 18 games, 193 goals conceded and only five scored.

But the raw stats do not do the girls justice. They competed well in many of the games, and often played the better football, only to be outdone by the sheer greater power, pace and height of the boys.

They did get one draw, earned by Chanelle Gainsford’s free-kick against Lindfield, and in April concluded their historic season with a loss, but a goal – scored again by Gainsford.

First team

The league campaign over, focus switched to the League Cup semi-final with London Corinthians. The Kent club had pipped Wasps to second place but revenge was on the cards once goals from Faye Rabson, Suzanne Davies and Holly Walker made it 3-0 at half-time.

The game ended 6-2, setting up a final against Leyton Orient in May.

Megan Hannah, a 17-year-old goalkeeper, made her debut off the bench against Corinthians and then performed superbly in a friendly match playing against Wasps for QPR – the Women’s Premier League side winning 6-3.

Reserves

Simon Pavey’s side ended their first season in the South East Counties Premier Division in style with a 6-2 win at Hassocks. Faye Rabson scored a hat-trick, with Rosanne Fine, Natalie Stephenson and Carys Dunn also on target. It meant they finished eighth.

Under-16s

Lily Beckett was U16s player of the match against Withdean.

The Under-16s lost to Cuckfield Cosmos, a result that would cost them a shot at third place, but did beat Withdean in their penultimate game of the season, thanks to a hat-trick from Lily Beckett.

Review of 2017

January – Sussex Cup semi win, Zoe’s brave return
February – Rabson makes mark, Laker repels Charlton
March – Another Cup final against WSL Brighton
April – Reserves on form, Under-15s end historic campaign
May – Orient end Cup dreams, Under-16s finish fourth
June/July – Sponsors sign up, new coaches appointed

To come…
August – First team open season with victories
September – Development and Under-11s begin well
October – Wasps hit nine twice in record start
November – Under-16s shine, first team set pace
December – Cup success for firsts and reserves

REVIEW OF 2017 – Part 3: March

As we look back on a successful 2017 for Crawley Wasps LFC, we reach March

For the second year running, Wasps had made it into the showpiece Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup final – once again, they played Brighton & Hove Albion and, just as in 2016, lost 5-1.

But this time they faced a stronger, more experienced Seagulls side – seven had started their previous WSL2 game against Millwall – and yet had more chances than in the previous final.

In fact, had Naomi Cole’s free-kick just after half-time gone in, rather than been excellently saved by Leah Samain, they would have trailed 3-2 and been back in the game.

As it is, a slow start cost them as they found themselves 3-0 down after 12 minutes. Suzanne Davies clipped in a superb response, after Faye Rabson’s run, but further Albion goals after half time spoiled an otherwise creditable display.

Highlights of the final can be found here: http://crawleywasps.com/highlights-albion-women-5-1-crawley-wasps-sussex-womens-challenge-cup-final/

Sadly, the league campaign ended with a defeat – 4-2 by London Corinthians – amid a flurry of late goals. It cost them second place but was to be their only league loss of 2017.

Reserves

Simon Pavey’s second string had an important game of their own in March, a South East Counties League Cup semi-final with Worthing.

However, they were beaten by a solitary goal against a side who would go on to win Division One West and be promoted to the reserves’ division.

The defeat did not affect their league form as they secured victories that effectively sealed their survival. Toni Smith’s hat-trick, and Charlotte Barnham’s brace, helped Wasps hammer struggling Long Lane 5-1, while Amy Clark’s goal was enough to earn them a 1-0 win at Abbey Rangers.

Under-16s

Mark Hills’ Under-16s were in a Sussex County Cup semi-final in the first weekend of March, but ended up losing 4-0 to Withdean. However, they responded with league victories over Ringmer Rovers and Newhaven to move up to fourth, Lily Beckett and Nicky Durling both scoring twice in the latter victory.

Under-15s

The Under-15s’ tough but rewarding campaign mixing it with the boys in the Mid Sussex League continued with three more big defeats, but they did have a goal to celebrate.

Poppy Nicholls was the scorer, against Withdean, of Wasps’ fourth goal of the season.

Club news

Defender Holly Currier was selected for the Welsh Universities side to compete at the Home Nations Tournament in April, after coming through a selection process involving 70 trialists.

Review of 2017

January – Sussex Cup semi win, Zoe’s brave return
February – Rabson makes mark, Laker repels Charlton
March – Another Cup final against WSL Brighton
April – Reserves on form, Under-15s end historic campaign
May – Orient end Cup dreams, Under-16s finish fourth
June/July – Sponsors sign up, new coaches appointed

To come…
August – First team open season with victories
September – Development and Under-11s begin well
October – Wasps hit nine twice in record start
November – Under-16s shine, first team set pace
December – Cup success for firsts and reserves

REVIEW OF 2017 – Part 2: February

We continue our review of a successful 2017 for Crawley Wasps LFC with February

A leading contender for player of the month was Faye Rabson.

She scored six goals in three games in February, her doubles helping the reserves to a South East Counties League Cup win over Meridian and a vital league victory over Hassocks.

In between, she also made her return to the first team, scoring twice in an 8-0 thrashing of Fulham Foundation, her first senior game in almost a year.

First team

Paul Walker’s team began the month with a scrappy 1-0 win at Eastbourne Town, secured by Danielle Boyd’s penalty. The more significant result that day came with Leyton Orient’s first defeat of the season, against London Corinthians. It could have been a twist in the title race – in the end, it cost Wasps second place.

Against Fulham, in addition to Rabson’s two goals, Holly Turbill scored twice and Suzanne Davies, Rosanne Fine, Nicholle Smith and Holly Walker were also on target.

They then beat Eastbourne Town again – this time at home, this time in the League Cup group stage, and this time by a more convincing margin. Boyd and Naomi Cole scored twice in the 5-0 win that put them into the semi-finals.

Reserves

Hope Laker was excellent against Charlton (Picture: Dave Burt)

 

Although Wasps led at half-time in the League Cup game against Meridian, through Rabson and Amy Clark, the tie went to extra-time. Rabson restored the Wasps lead before Tracey O’Hagan netted to earn a semi-final with Worthing.

But the stand-out game of the month was the Capital Intermediate Cup quarter-final with Charlton Athletic’s reserves. The star turn in the first half was 18-year-old goalkeeper Hope Laker, who repelled the Addicks and kept it goalless at half-time. Pressure after the break told, though, and Charlton ran out 4-0 winners.

They returned to league action at the end of the month, needing results to keep them out of relegation trouble. One duly arrived, as they won 4-3 at Hassocks – their first league win since mid-December. Natalie Stephenson’s penalty and Rabson’s brace put them 3-1 up, but they were pegged back to 3-3 before a late own goal gifted Wasps the points.

Under-16s

Just one game in February for Mark Hills’ side and it ended in a 3-0 defeat by unbeaten league leaders Chichester.

Under-15s

The Under-15s, playing in a boys’ league after several seasons of unmatched dominance in local girls football, suffered three heavy defeats but were more competitive than the scorelines suggested.

Club news

February also saw the first of two successful race nights in 2017. Organised and hosted by first-team assistant boss Dave Cole, plenty of the club’s players, officials and friends joined in with the fun at Oakwood FC.

Review of 2017

January – Sussex Cup semi win, Zoe’s brave return
February – Rabson makes mark, Laker repels Charlton
March – Another Cup final against WSL Brighton
April – Reserves on form, Under-15s end historic campaign
May – Orient end Cup dreams, Under-16s finish fourth
June/July – Sponsors sign up, new coaches appointed

To come…
August – First team open season with victories
September – Development and Under-11s begin well
October – Wasps hit nine twice in record start
November – Under-16s shine, first team set pace
December – Cup success for firsts and reserves

REVIEW OF 2017 – Part 1: January

Holly Turbill scored Crawley Wasps’ first goal of 2017

Beginning our review of a successful 2017 for Crawley Wasps LFC, a look back at January

 

Little did they know it when Big Ben struck, but Crawley Wasps’ first team were beginning a year in which they would lose only one league game and win 17 of 23 matches in all competitions.

It started inauspiciously, with a frustrating 1-1 draw at Aylesford. Holly Turbill opened the scoring but the Kent side – who had lost 10-0 at Wasps earlier in the season – levelled shortly afterwards.

Paul Walker’s team remained top of the London & South East Premier Division despite that slip, although were second favourites to Leyton Orient, who had several games in hand.

Beating the O’s at the end of the month was a must but they hadn’t lost at home since October 2015. In the end, Wasps came away with a creditable draw, fighting back from 3-1 down late on thanks to goals from Turbill and Naomi Cole.

In between those two league games, Wasps also booked their place in another Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup final, by beating Chichester City’s Development Squad 5-0. Danielle Boyd, Nicholle Smith, Suzanne Davies, Rosanne Fine and Turbill all on target.

Reserves

Zoe Martin, pictured in action later in the year, returned to action in January

There was no doubting the club hero of January – reserve-team captain Zoe Martin, who scored on an emotional return to football, just months after husband Carl had been paralysed in a motorbike track day accident.

In their first game of 2017, Simon Pavey’s second string had been edged out 3-2 by leaders Parkwood Rangers – Faye Rabson scoring in the opening seconds and Toni Smith scoring a late penalty.

Under-16s

An own goal and a strike from Topaz Luxford got Mark Hills’ Under-16s off to a winning start, 2-0 against Newhaven. But they were edged out by Oakwood in atrocious weather at Ewhurst, before losing 5-0 to Ringmer in the semi-finals of the Sussex Cup.

Under-15s keeper Lauren Graves was back after a broken nose

Under-15s

The Under-15s historic campaign – playing in a boys’ league – continued with a 14-0 reverse to Withdean. They showed much improvement in a 3-0 defeat by Lindfield later that month.

Review of 2017

January – Sussex Cup semi win, Zoe’s brave return
February – Rabson makes mark, Laker repels Charlton
March – Another Cup final against WSL Brighton
April – Reserves on form, Under-15s end historic campaign
May – Orient end Cup dreams, Under-16s finish fourth
June/July – Sponsors sign up, new coaches appointed

To come…
August – First team open season with victories
September – Development and Under-11s begin well
October – Wasps hit nine twice in record start
November – Under-16s shine, first team set pace
December – Cup success for firsts and reserves

Crawley Wasps LFC media release – Wasps support Rainbow Laces campaign

Crawley Wasps were proud to support Stonewall UK’s Rainbow Laces campaign on Sunday.

The club’s Under-11s, Under-16s and Ladies development squad all donned the colourful laces for their home matches at the weekend.

Wasps joined national teams, leading clubs, elite athletes and grassroots participants to show support for LGBT people in sport.

“Football is a sport for all,” said Wasps chairman Paul Walker.

“LGBT players and fans are made to feel welcome at Wasps and should be so at every level of the game.

“That is why we were proud and delighted to support Stonewall’s campaign to Make Sport Everyone’s Game.”

ROUND-UP: Reserves and Under-16s progress in Cups

Rosanne Fine’s winner put Crawley Wasps’ reserves into the last eight of the South East Counties League Cup with a 3-2 win at Maidstone United.

Zoe Martin’s two headers seemingly put Wasps in command against Maidstone, who are top of the division below.

But the hosts, playing at the 4,200-capacity Gallagher Stadium where Wasps’ first team lost to Leyton Orient in the League Cup final in May, hit back to level before the break.

However, Fine’s goal ensured a home tie with Meridian in February, a repeat of last season’s quarter-final which Wasps won 4-2 in extra time.

There was also success for Wasps Under-16s, who made it into the semi-finals of the Sussex County Cup by beating Ringmer Rovers 2-1.

They dominated early on, with skipper Chanelle Gainsford curling an effort against the bar while Emily Flegg’s header was scrambled off the line.

Wasps took the lead when Chloe Bosher crossed for Ellie Livingstone but, in a competitive encounter, Ringmer levelled eight minutes after half time.

Parity lasted only another 10 minutes, though, as Gainsford struck from the edge of the box, although Wasps were indebted to an excellent one-on-one saveby Lauren Graves to seal the win.

Wasps’ development squad – the Ladies third team – were beaten 4-2 at home by Worthing Town. Tamzin Byworth and Abi Knight scored the goals.

Crawley Wasps LFC match report – Crawley Wasps 8 Aylesford 0

Faye Rabson’s third hat-trick of the season inspired Crawley Wasps to an 8-0 win over Aylesford on Sunday which maintained their push for promotion to the FA Women’s Premier League.

Ariana Fleischman gave Wasps the lead on 12 minutes, knocking in the rebound following Rabson’s parried effort.

After Holly Walker’s header hit the bar, and Hannah Duncan’s hooked follow up was tipped over, Wasps doubled the lead from the resulting corner, Danielle Boyd driving home.

Rabson scored twice before half-time, her second delightfully finished with the outside of her right boot from the edge of the box.

Aylesford, mid-table in the division, had started brightly and worked hard throughout, but their best effort was a shot flashed wide in the second half.

Wasps scored four times in the last 20 minutes, another example of the extra fitness reserves from their weekly strength and conditioning sessions at Cottesmore Hotel.

Boyd’s scuffed shot was turned in by Fleischman before skipper Naomi Cole thumped in the sixth following Rabson’s cut back.

Rabson, who also hit the crossbar, completed her hat-trick after Boyd’s cross had been punched away by the goalkeeper and Suzanne Davies finished the rout.

The win stretched Wasps’ club-record unbeaten start to 10 league games, 12 in all competitions.

“The performance was what we asked for in the changing room before the game,” said manager Paul Walker, who also praised the work of first-team coach Mike Gardner.

“We’ve just got to keep going – week in, week out – with the same level of application, the same level of focus and the same quality in our football.”

Wasps: Gibbs; Duncan, Niamh Stephenson, Walker, Carter; Davies, Elphick, Cole, Boyd; Fleischman; Rabson. Subs: Ward, Callaghan. Thales player of the match: Niamh Stephenson.

ROUND-UP: Under-16s hammer short-staffed Cuckfield

Crawley Wasps’ Under-16s ran up the goals against short-handed Cuckfield Cosmos in a 17-0 win on Sunday.

Chloe Bosher opened the scoring in the opening seconds and the team never looked back.

Ellie Livingstone got four but there were also hat-tricks for Emily Flegg and Poppy Nicholls.

Bosher, Macy Watts and skipper Chanelle Gainsford got two apiece, with Chloe Upton also on target.

Official records show it as the team’s biggest win in almost four years, since they beat Cosmos 18-0 as an Under-13s team.

Four players featured in both games – Watts, who got a hat-trick in 2013, Upton, Olivia Mullan and goalkeeper Lauren Graves.

Wasps’ Ladies reserves lost 4-2 at Meridian in the South East Counties Premier Division.

Amy Clark and Rosanne Fine had the visitors 2-1 up at the break but a disappointing second half saw them slip to defeat.

Megan Gilligan put Wasps’ Ladies development side ahead on their trip to AFC Varndeanians, following good work from Tamzin Byworth and Billie Saunders.

But the hosts responded, going 2-1 by half-time and then scoring a third after the break, and although Emma Brookbank’s effort from distance pulled one back, Wasps could not muster an equaliser.