Ambitious Ollerton Town Ladies are hoping for big things when they kick off their new league season.
The women’s game continues to grow in popularity, and Ollerton are playing their part with a talented team in the East Midlands League.
Last season, they finished third in Division One North. Now they are one of the leading fancies for the title and promotion into the Premier Division.
“We did fantastically well in our first season in the league -- after gaining promotion the previous year,” said the club’s administrator Amy Simmons. “We are looking forward to the new season and training hard in preparation for the games.”
Among pre-season friendlies, Ollerton’s preparation has included a local tournament at Calverton, which they won. They played ten qualifying games in all, winning seven and drawing three, and also came through their semi-final successfully. This set up a nervewracking final, which ended 0-0 before Ollerton took the penalty shootout 3-2 to lift the cup.
As well as the football, the progressive club are playing an important role in the local community, helping to raise money for the Pathfinders centre in New Ollerton that provides specialist care for people with complex needs. The next fundraising event is a 5k fun run on Saturday, September 10 (2 pm), which starts and finishes at the centre on Darwin Drive.
In return for their help, Pathfinders have generously agreed to sponsor Ollerton Ladies for the new campaign, which begins on Sunday, September 4 with an away match against Draycott Victoria.
Ollerton play their homes games on Sunday afternoons at Walesby Lane, and would love to see supporters backing them. The first is against Lincoln Moorlands Railway on October 2 (2 pm), followed by a clash with Arnold Town Ladies Development on October 23 (2 pm).
Last term, they won 15 of their 20 league matches, losing just three. The only sides to finish above them, champions Mansfield Hosiery Mills and runners-up Ruddington Village, have now gone up to the top flight.
Ollerton’s leading scorers were skipper Rachael Bell with 18 goals in as many appearances and Natalie Gibson with 12 goals. Bell and Gibson are among a squad of more than 20 players that the club have registered for the 2016/17 season. But anyone interested in joining them should pop along to their Tuesday evening training sessions (6.30 pm to 8 pm) at ‘The Lane’ or ring manager Neil Hamilton on 07812 353695.