COGS in Review – 2019

2019 continued in the same vein as 2018, when we actually thought it may slow down a bit!

It couldn’t have started off in a better way than reading this amazing poem which was posted by one of our COGS, Gillian Weston, to wish everyone a happy New Year.  It really epitomises the way a lot of us feel about now being able to play football.

In my childhood there was no girls football
Girls had to be girls one and all.
I was made to wear dresses and play with dolls
When all I wanted was to learn to score goals.
Wearing my team’s shirt was only a dream
It made me angry, I wanted to scream.
But I grew up and got on with my life
Became a mother and a football fan wife.
I forgot all about kicking a ball
And anyway I would feel such a fool.
Incredibly though when I was 54,
The chance to play football knocked at my door.
I heard about COGS but thought “I’m too old”
However, Carol Bates convinced me to be bold.
I cried the first time I wore my COGS shirt,
I felt complete, I forgot all the hurt.
I’ve made some great friends,
Such inspiring souls – and very occasionally I score some goals!
I run round the pitch, I feel so happy and free,
Thanks to COGS I can now ‘be me’!”

What a great way to bring in 2019!  Who knows what adventures 2020 will give us but we all know that over the next 12 months, we will all have fun, make new friends and still be able to carry on playing football.  COGS is an amazing group of women which continues to grow and we look forward to welcoming more women to be a part of this friendly group!

As well as the usual Women’s Recreational Festivals, friendlies and tournaments, we also had some other events.   Happy New Year!


20th:  Feature in the Sunday Times regarding pensions for “older” women.

23rd:  First visit to Soissons, France, after we announced the #OGWC19, with Jo Treharne & Stephanie Turner (Canterbury Old Bags) to meet the Mayor and discuss the possibility of holding an Old Girls’ “World Cup” in June 2019.  It was snowing!

29th:  BBC Filming with BBC Media women, for the FA, to promote the new Women’s Walking Football category in the FA People’s Cup.  Great afternoon with Adele Roberts, Kate Holderness, Abbie McCarthy, Lauren Layfield and “Jurgen Klopp”.  Highlight of the day, after some skills and playing some games was persuading Kate, who had never had an inkling to play before, to get a bib on and join in.  She was great and loved it!


1st:  We held our first fundraising event to raise money for kit and the #OGWC19.  The COGS’ Quiz Night was a great success!    The winners obviously spent more time revising than the rest of us!

17th:  The first COGS & Care Homes project session.  A great success and very rewarding, with getting the residents with dementia active, with foam footballs and washing baskets!

23rd:  FA People’s Cup – Tolworth.  Another great day for 6 COGS’ teams in the Adult Female Vets category and 1 in the Women’s Walking Football category.  The Walking Football team just missed out on the semi-finals but COGS ONE made it through to the semis at Wimbledon.  Just under 50 COGS playing on the day.  Amazing!

FA People’s Cup 2019 – 1st Round – 23rd Feb. 2019.


8th:  An invitation for Carol Bates to represent the COGS at the Rivers LPC International Women’s Day Event.  Getting women believing that they can do anything with some starter football sessions.  Great to see these amazing women kicking their first footballs with dresses and shoes on!  They were fab.

23rd:  FA People’s Cup Semi-Finals at Wimbledon for COGS ONE.  A hard group to play in with many more younger women playing but they did the COGS proud!


16th:  HAPPY 4th BIRTHDAY to us!  This was spent celebrating with cake and alcohol, 2 or our favourite things!  It’s hard to believe what we’ve accomplished and enjoyed over the last four years, which started with 10 women, but needless to say, we’ll still be encouraging more women to play and looking at ways that we can increase opportunities for women to do so.

29th:   Our Spring outdoor 5 a-side sessions started up again at Oakwood to make it 4 sessions a week.


1st – 30th June:  Crawley Museum – Exhibition of COGS, created by Alison McMullan and Tracey Thornton, to celebrate sport in Crawley.

4th:   Carol Bates was invited to attend the FA Women’s Cup Final, by the FA, for the work done with COGS and also invited Jo from the Canterbury Old Bags to join her for the work that had been done for the Canterbury Old Bags. It was a great opportunity to celebrate together at Wembley.

11th:  We organised our first ever 11v11 tournament at Crawley Town FC on the pitch to raise money for the #OGWC19.  It was fair to say that the weather was ridiculous!  Heavy rain, hailstones, wind and sunshine and that was just during the first half an hour!  It didn’t dampen the day though and it was fantastic to play on the stadium pitch where Crawley Town play their League 2 games.  A great experience!

The evening was spent at our second fundraising event which was a Bingo Night, again raising money for the #OGWC19 and kit.

21st:  We attended the Women in Football #WhatIf 1st year Anniversary event at Twitter HQ.  It was great to hear so many pledges to improve and help further Women’s Football.  Had a bit of fun too!

23rd:  Final visit to Soissons, with Jo & Chloe to finalise the details for June 21st and make sure everything was ready for the Old Girls’ “World Cup” #OGWC19.  Trying to translate everything proved slightly challenging especially when it came to trying to describe the person in charge.  Jo came up with “Le grande fromage”….  not sure that was quite the right translation but it worked for us!


June can only be described as a month that some of the COGS spent a lot of the time following the Lionesses and going to France!

1st:  A COGS’ trip to The Amex Stadium to watch the Lionesses play New Zealand.  The last “Road to France” game before the FIFA Women’s World Cup.  Great to see so many COGS attending although we realised that equality had really hit when some were refused to be served in a bar for wearing football shirts!

5th:  The first game for the UK Women’s Parliamentary Football team after the original date was cancelled due to a Brexit vote!  The eagerly awaited first fixture was a fantastic evening of fun, great football and enjoying the rest of the evening in the pub, getting to know everyone!  The UKWPFC was set up by Jo Tanner and has gone from strength to strength this year.  Great to see women from all Parties and the media join together for the beautiful game, regardless of ability.  There was such a buzz in the air after this!

You can read the report from the In House Comms. website here:

9th:  Trip to France to watch England vs. Scotland, in Nice, at the FIFAWWC.  A few COGS got together with the Bags and we all met up in a very hot Nice for a Women’s World Cup trip!  What an exciting and busy few days!  We even met Fara Williams who was on our flight.   VAR made an impact straight away when no one realised that a penalty to England was about to be given!

10th:  A couple of interviews on the 10th with BBC Breakfast early in the morning after a night of celebration, which led to us meeting Reuben and Aurore from to do an interview about the “missed generation”.

20th:  The night before the #OGWC19, the teams met up at the Pool Bar, at the campsite, to get to know each other.  Great fun, especially with the BBC Inside Out film crew!  With teams coming from England and Wales, it was a great chance to have a few drinks before the Old Girls’ “World Cup”.

21st:  The #OGWC19.   What an incredible day for women’s recreational football with approx. 200 women descending upon Soissons FC to play in the Old Girls’ “World Cup.  A day to give another opportunity for women to play, regardless of ability, fitness, size or shape.  A day to make new friends, celebrate with old ones, appreciate the good times and enjoy the experience with like-minded women!  We even raised over 800 Euros for charity.   See our website piece for more information and lots of photos from Jade Harker Photography which will just make you smile.

There is also a great piece on the BALA Sport UK website here:

Jade Harker then produced a video for us of the time spent in France for the #OGWC19.  View it here, it’s brilliant!


#FIFAWWC – France – 7th June – 7th July.  Throughout the World Cup, various COGS made some of the trips to watch the England games and the COGS’ flag was a constant throughout the Tournament.   What an experience to have a World Cup on our doorstep!


4th:  Good Housekeeping Magazine got in touch for some inspirational stories of “older” women starting something new and after a few COGS sent in their stories, Caz Alliston was chosen.  Her story appeared in the August edition of the magazine.  You can read it here:

14th:  Swap a Sport!  COGS try Cricket after Sarah Osborne put down a challenge to join her in a friendly game at West Chiltington & Thakeham Cricket Club.  For most of the COGS it was for the first time!  Pimms, afternoon tea and a sunny day made it a great experience!

28th:  Salisbury Walking Football Charity Tournament for the DarbyRimmer MND Foundation to #AttackMND.  We were invited to take part in the charity Walking Football tournament to raise money for the Foundation.  Mark Corrigan, a member of the Club is Uncle to Stephen Darby and he wanted to do something to raise money for the the Foundation which was created to help research the disease.  We had great fun and the whole tournament raised over £5000 for the charity.  It was great to meet some new Women’s Walking Football teams, while having fun playing.


18th: A fairly quiet month but a special one as we had our first COGS’ Wedding, as Bex and Luke got married on the 18th. Congrats!

29th: A trip to Belgium for the COGS & Bags to support the Lionesses on their friendly tour, with a game in Leuven!  We met up with Rebecca Williams from Sky Sports for an interview with a minute to spare and then met up again in the town for another one on the next bulletin!  Not a great result but still a good time!


16th:  While we were in France for the Old Girls’ “World Cup”, we had the pleasure of the company of BBC Inside Out South East, who filmed us for 3 days as a sequel to the first film Sam Supple produced about the COGS, in January 2017.  This was shown on BBC1 and was fantastic!  You can watch it here, thanks to Vimeo films:

Crawley Old Girls 2 on Vimeo Films

21st/22nd:  The WFA (Walking Football Association) and the IWFF (International Walking Football Federation) invited women, around the country, to attend their England trials for Women’s Walking Football on the Saturday & Sunday, respectively.  Some of the COGS went to Solihull for the WFA trials and 1 went to Romford for the IWFF over 50 trials.  It was great to meet other women who had been playing Walking Football.  We were pleased to hear that Karen Dare (WFA) and Mary Mannion (IWFF) were both picked to play in different matches for England for the Over 50s.  Very proud of our “International” COGS!


October was a different month as Carol Bates was nominated for The Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Grassroots Award and made the 4 Finalists.  So October was spent filming, being photographed and asking for votes!  A visit to the Hawksbee & Jacobs Show on Talksport and Radio 4’s Saturday Live with Lorraine Kelly was also on the cards to talk about the COGS.

The link to the website for the videos for all the Grassroots’ Finalists is here: – Meet the Vitality Grassroots Nominees


2nd:  Mary Mannion, who was picked for the IWFF England team, played the first fixture for the over 50s in Wales.  All the women received England caps and had a great time!  Well done, Mary!

7th:  We were very happy to have the 3 founding members of Hot Women FC (as in hot flushes!) Rebecca Sandles, Kate Fish and CJ, join us for a session and to find out a bit more about the COGS.  It was a pleasure to be asked to go on their new Women’s Recreational Football podcast which they had set up to record their journey from setting up Hot Women FC to playing in Germany in 2020.  With the 3 women being broadcasters, you can take it as read that this podcast is a great addition to Women’s Recreational Football.  We featured on Ep. 2 and you can find it by searching Hot Shots on the podcast platforms.  Well worth a listen!

9th:  A record breaking day at Wembley for the Lionesses game vs. Germany.  Included in the record crowd, a number of COGS enjoying the rather wet afternoon!

21st: A fantastic evening at The Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards, in London.  Great to meet the other nominees of the Vitality Grassroots’ Award, including Yvette Curtis, Founder of Wahines Surf Club, Clare Griffin, the Manager of West Wight Sports and Community Centre and Jacqueline Scoins-Cass MBE who is the Founder and Head Coach at the Thames Valley Kings Wheelchair Basketball Club.   Grateful thanks to Rebecca Myers of The Sunday Times for making us all feel very special in what was a very humbling experience.  The video of the COGS was played on the night along with the other videos and many other people there commented and were inspired by so many women in the room.  Congratulations to Clare Griffin, who won the Award.  We were all winners really to reach that far!  Great to meet some amazing and inspirational sportswomen too.


4th:  We announced that from January 20th, we will now be running our own COGS’ Women Only Walking Football sessions! Very exciting to be doing this and will mean we now have 4 sessions a week, something for everyone!

5th:  We were contacted by Jane Warren of the Daily Express, after the Awards, so that she could “try out” learning to play football for the first time at our Beginners’ session.  Jane (50 and not looking a day over 35!) joined us and we had a great time.  Her piece in the Daily Express was a fantastically written piece and included stories about a lot of the COGS.  We really enjoyed reading it!

6th:  The COGS’ Christmas Party!  It always starts off fairly quietly but then descends into shots, shots and more shots!  Cheers to another successful year!

9th:  The last visit of the decade to Francis Court, where we distributed Christmas gifts to the residents and had a bit of a sing song, as well as playing some football fun.  It’s been a privilege to be able to work with Roy and Francis Court this year and we look forward to more fun in 2020.

14th:  Our last event of the year was the annual trip to Dorking Leisure Centre for the COPA Futsal Fever Tournament.  No age groups, just women over 18 and our amazing team of COGS WON THE TOURNAMENT!  What a brilliant end to the year, with medals for Rosemary Burton, Kim Condon, Kerry Jinks, Karen Jupp, Frankie Teague and Tracey Thornton.  Very proud of you, ladies!

Finally, to end the year, here are a selection of photographs from various Festivals, Tournaments and fun times we’ve all had playing Women’s Recreational Football.  Everyone should be in there somewhere, hopefully!