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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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