Katy Sandalls: My day as a snapper for the Tractor Girls

One of Katy's better attempts at photography Picture: KATY SANDALLS

One of Katy's better attempts at photography Picture: KATY SANDALLS - Credit: Archant

This month, women’s football columnist Katy takes on the task of being the photographer for a league game for Ipswich Town Women.

Lindsey Cooper jumps high to head the ball Picture: KATY SANDALLS

Lindsey Cooper jumps high to head the ball Picture: KATY SANDALLS - Credit: Archant

I’ve learnt in the 10 months of being a reporter that you have to expect the unexpected. Much like the anime Cardcaptors always taught me.

So when I found out I was the back-up, back-up, back-up photographer for Ipswich Town Women I was ready to throw myself into whatever the day would bring.

Despite me not being a sports photographer in any shape or form.

As it turns out whatever the day would bring was mostly rain and lots of it.

Ipswich Town forward Natasha Thomas scored from the spot Picture: KATY SANDALLS

Ipswich Town forward Natasha Thomas scored from the spot Picture: KATY SANDALLS - Credit: Archant


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It was a relatively early start, with Ipswich Town Women’s press officer Kieren Standley picking me up and taking me to Playford Road to scope out a minibus for the day. We set off picking up the squad at various points on our trip down to London.

Our final stop was Witham over the border in Essex where not only did we pick up manager Carla Dickinson and the final few squad members but also a massive portable speaker.

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When thinking of football players travelling to games you think of individuals sat with their headphones on, sat in deep focus in the back of some high-end luxury coach.

What we got that day was a mini -bus full of players singing break up songs an hour before kick-off. And to be honest that was a lot more fun.

Ipswich Town FC Women players celebrate one of their five goals Picture: KATY SANDALLS

Ipswich Town FC Women players celebrate one of their five goals Picture: KATY SANDALLS - Credit: Archant

Finally in London, having got us lost just once (sorry Kieren!) and arriving at the new home of Actonians, the opposition for the day, we found ourselves trudging through thick mud in the rain to get to the changing rooms.

Outside I set up the camera testing my shots on whichever poor souls had decided to venture out in the relentless rain.

Warm-up was another good opportunity to take some pictures and it started to dawn on me just how difficult the afternoon was going to be.

Indeed, the pressure of knowing we needed good shots, not only for the club’s social media but also for the match report was concerning me.

Back in Ipswich the club’s actual photographer, Ross Halls, was sat in a dry office ready to edit my pictures between his day job.

I was starting to wonder if I had got the raw end of the deal.

As the players got ready to go out I am desperately trying to decide where to stand and how on earth I was going to keep myself and more importantly the camera dry.

Spoiler alert I didn’t.

With the game having started I began to hover around one of the Actonian stands desperately trying to get some easy shots that I would be able to send back at half time.

It was tricky. Despite what the trolls may say, the players move wicked fast and I was desperately trying to keep up.

The camera was quickly filling up with near misses and at half time I struggled to pick some decent-ish shots to send back to Ross.

With the game underway for the second half I had gotten off lightly. Ipswich hadn’t scored and so I hadn’t missed the crucial goal shot which one of the player’s mums told me that Ross always misses (sorry!).

In the second half however, the girls turned it around scoring five goals in 45 minutes.

Unfortunately I didn’t quite the goal shots I was looking for. Plenty of reaction and a couple of wicked hair flicks but that was it.

As the full time whistle went I bundled myself back inside to dry off properly and send the remainder of the pictures that I thought were alright over while one of my half time shots made it onto Twitter.

So the big question. How had I done? The verdict was in and it was a mixed bag: “Sadly some of the good ones aren’t in focus.”

One shot however, did get the seal of approval. A celebration picture had summed up the mood of the two sides.

Delighted I joined the girls on the bus for the trip back to Ipswich.

The karaoke resumed with the girls in high spirits and I joined in feeling I had done an alright job.

The biggest thing I learnt that day: if I ever need a karaoke partner then I will be calling goalkeeper Sian Fagg immediately.

Outside of my own adventures it’s been a busy month in international fixtures and Conti Cup games.

Congratualtions to both England and Scotland for making the World Cup finals next year.

It’s only in France so I hope lots of local fans will be making the trip over the channel.

Shout outs this month to our FA Cup qualifying round winning sides! Keep going girls!

If you’ve got any news to share about your side then do get in touch. Email me at katy.sandalls@archant.co.uk or tweet @katysandalls.

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