Katy Sandalls: Clubs ready and eager to embrace spring’s arrival

Super Fran Kirby scoring in Chelsea's tie with Manchester City this weekend. Picture: ADAM DAVY/PA W

Super Fran Kirby scoring in Chelsea's tie with Manchester City this weekend. Picture: ADAM DAVY/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

To say it’s been a busy few weeks in women’s football would perhaps be an understatement, writes Katy Sandalls in her latest column.

Spring is well and truly in the air and thank goodness for that.

To say it’s been a busy few weeks in women’s football would perhaps be an understatement.

We’ve had World Cup qualifiers, semi-finals for the women’s FA Cup and the Suffolk FA Women’s Cup as well as the Continental Cup Final, and a heck of a lot of called off games to boot.

When I say a lot of games, I really do mean a lot and at every level.

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In Suffolk waterlogged pitches have postponed games for Ipswich Town Ladies, Ipswich Wanderers Ladies and AFC Sudbury Ladies amongst others.

Nationally the weather has floored even top tier clashes, pushing teams like Manchester City and Chelsea into an unenviable run of tightly squeezed fixtures as both remain in the running for Champions League and WSL league title glory, whilst having to catch up with weather stricken fixtures.

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As a result fatigue is starting to show on some sides including City, who were on less than top form in their FA Cup semi-final game against Chelsea this weekend.

It would be fair to say at this point that clubs are ready and eager to embrace any sign of spring as it comes in.

Indeed for many local clubs spring will bring the start of something very new and exciting: Wildcats Clubs!

This month sees new sides forming across the county, from Beccles to Woodbridge and Sudbury to Framlingham, with girls being given the chance to give football a go and just have some fun.

The aim of such clubs is just for youngsters to enjoy themselves and perhaps try kicking a football around for the first time.

There’s no pressure, just an opportunity to have a go.

Such clubs are really important to get more girls playing and to generally make the game more accessible to its growing audience.

With that women’s football can keep growing both in terms of numbers playing and the quality of the football played.

It’s not just about the youngsters though, as I was delighted to hear this month that Woodbridge Town’s Ladies team are reforming!

It’s great to have one of the Suffolk league’s original members back in business and they are looking for new players too! So get in touch with them to find out more.

But perhaps like me you’re a little bit more into watching football than actually taking part?

Not to fear as the spring weather begins to improve there’s plenty of live football near and far this month!

The first weekend of May sees two huge games which will definitely be worth travelling for.

In Suffolk we are awaiting the Suffolk FA Women’s Cup final in Colchester on May 7.

The game will be another great clash between two of the top teams in the region: Ipswich Town Ladies and AFC Sudbury Ladies.

And the day before the Colchester tie will see two of the biggest names in the Women’s Super League take to the Wembley stage for FA Cup glory.

After this past weekend’s fantastic double headliner of Everton v Arsenal and Chelsea v Man City we now know who will be fighting for silverware – Chelsea and Arsenal.

Chelsea will probably go in favourites after Fran ‘Super Fran’ Kirby scored two great goals against previous cup holders City.

Meanwhile Arsenal took it right down to the line in their clash against a young Everton side, with Ireland international Louise Quinn scoring in the 92nd minute.

Arsenal shouldn’t be underestimated for the final, however, as they already have silverware in the cabinet from this season as well as 14 FA Cups.

More than that, the FA Cup final is a real family affair for women’s football with clubs and fans of all ages gathering under the bright lights of Wembley.

It really is a fantastic atmosphere to sit in and be a part of as a fan.

Perhaps you are off to the women’s FA Cup final next month with your family, friends or football club?

It would be great to have a large Suffolk contingent at the game! Let me know on Twitter if you are heading off to the game – and who you will be supporting?

Finally, this month’s shout-out is to Stowupland’s U16 team, who are the ball girls for this month’s Ipswich Town men’s game against Middlesborough.

Would you like a shout-out in next month’s column? Perhaps you’ve scored an amazing goal in practice or your team have had an excellent tournament? Maybe you just want to say thank you to a great coach.

Get in touch via email katy.sandalls@archant.co.uk or on Twitter @katysandalls

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