Ladies 1st Team 20th Season in the National League
Harleston Magpies Ladies 1St team start the season on Saturday with an away game against Bedford at 1.30pm. This will be their 20th successive season in the National League, which is an astonishing achievement for a Club with such a rural location and competing with the London Clubs like Wimbledon and Hampstead, who have far greater resources and opportunities to recruit players.
This will be a very important season because of the changes to the National League for the following season. For the season 2019-20 the National League will have a new structure which involves reducing the number of National League teams from 40 to 30. The current structure has a Premier Division and a West, East and North Conference. The following season there will be a Premier Division (10) and a Division 1 North (10) and a Division 1 South (10). This is quite a change. For Magpies to qualify for a Division 1 place they will have to finish in the top 6 of the East Conference this season.
Clyde Camburn returns as Head coach for his third spell and he has had a remarkable record of achievement in his previous spells. This time he has added Annie Nunn, Emma Lee-Smith and Debbie Francis as Assistant coaches to ensure that we utilise the vast experience and knowledge they all have of playing at this level.
On the playing side Annie Nunn has stood down from playing to concentrate on coaching. Charlotte Peet (Tosh) will not be playing in goal this season after many years of playing at this level. Both these players have made a big contribution. We have also lost a number of younger players who have moved on to College and University. Most significantly it looks like Captain Lucy Belsey is out for the season having suffered a terrible shoulder injury in the last 30 seconds of a pre season match at St Albans. Lucy has had an operation during the week and we can only wish her well on her long recovery. The squad will miss her as a Captain and a player. Vice Captain Lauren Barber will step up to lead the team.
Despite this loss the squad looks promising and Megan Brown will take over in goal and we are fortunate that she already has plenty of National League experience. Jess Bloom has returned to the Club after a number of years away playing for Premier League Clubs and that experience should be invaluable. Lara Taylor has joined from Norwich Dragons and has been impressive in pre season. In addition Rose Winter played England U18s last year and both her and Lottie Summers have been selected to train with the England U18 squad this season, although Lottie is currently recovering from glandular fever. Although too young to play for the 1s Georgie Gardens was also called up to train with England U16 squad. Preparations for the new season have included matches against Framlingham College, Reading, St Albans and Ipswich.
The Ladies 2s were promoted back to the East Premier League and they started the season last week losing 1-0 away to Canterbury 2s in a tight game. This will be a big step up for them but they are more than capable of doing well this season.
1st Team Squad at Bedford: Lauren Barber (Capt), Megan Brown, Katrina Sitch, Louisa Greenacre, Debbie Francis, Fran Burrell, Charlotte Harrison, Lara Taylor, Rose Winter, Lauren Rowe, Lucy Whiting, Emma Lee-Smith, Jess Bloom, Lizzie Clymer and Tor Findlay.