COGS In Review – 2020

In a year like no other, we still managed to have some fun and play football, as well as look after each other.  We’ve all challenged ourselves, whether it be physically or mentally, supported each other and we’ve raised money for charity along the way.  The consequences of COVID-19 may have stopped us doing a lot of stuff but it definitely didn’t stop the camaraderie and team spirit of the COGS.

Here is our Review of 2020, which basically consisted of a pandemic, lockdowns, sporadic sessions, games of football and activities to keep us going!

Who knows what will happen in 2021 but we know there will be challenges, as well as good times, with new and old COGS.   There is also a lot to look forward to with the Women’s EURO2022 Competition being held in England and the build up to that with an investment in Women’s Recreational Football from Sport England, who are investing £1M to get more women and girls involved in Recreational Football.  There will definitely be some good times ahead.

Happy New Year!


3rd:  We started the new year with a Sussex Women’s Rec. Festival.  A great way to ease ourselves into 2020!

8th/9th: Sessions returned in the pouring rain!  The Intermediate session was a particular favourite for the hailstones!


11th:  Our first ever COGS’ Park Run was organised.

15th:  5 newbies joined the Beginners session.

And, proceeded to play “British Bulldog” with a football as the warm up.


20th:  After a few months of advertising and a grant from The National Lottery #Celebrate25 Fund, we launched our Women’s 40+ Walking Football sessions and 22 women turned up on the first night!  We also got a mention on Sara Cox’s Radio2 Show but we still have no idea who did it!  Was great to see some of our COGS supporting the new attendees, too.

26th:  Our first friendly of the year was at the Bromley Belles, playing on the Bromley FC pitch.  A great evening with post-match drinks!

31st:  We held our Race Night Fundraiser.  Was a great night, with some dodgy named horses (!) and we raised £525!


6th:  After a few discussions about having an additional session for those beginners who wanted to progress but weren’t ready or couldn’t make the Intermediate session, a poll was made and 37 people said they wanted the new session.  The seed had been sown to try and get another session up and running!

7th:  Another Sussex Women’s Rec. Festival and a familiar face on the programme cover!  For some reason, it mostly seems to rain in Lancing!

8th:  The Bromley Belles, who are great advocates of Women’s Recreational Football, included our game in their column in the Bromley FC match day programme.  Great to see the commitment by professional clubs to give match day programme space to support Women’s Rec. Football.  Thanks, Andrea!

9th:  Our new training tops were sourced.

15th:   For those who NEED to come to COGS, a little reminder from Alison!  Thanks, Bart!

20th:  COGSFEST announced!  After lots of planning, we announced our Festival for April at The People’s Pension Stadium and it filled up within 2 weeks, so we had to extend the number of teams!

23rd:  Another Bromley Belles friendly festival with the Maidstone Magpies too, which coincided with 500 days to the Women’s Euro 2021 competition.  Little did we know what was about to happen!


6th:  IWD with Rivers LPC, and Carol was invited to attend the event as a Guest Speaker.  It wasn’t long before the footballs came out and the women who attended were invited to learn some skills for the first time.  Was great fun!  From this event, there will now be starter football sessions, in association with Rivers LPC and thanks to funding from Active Sussex, starting in 2021.


8th:  Spring Tournament in Seaford run by HRT United was great fun!

A windy day in Seaford!

9th:  Gotta love a tweet from The FA!   We were very excited to take 9 teams to the annual FA Amateur 5 a-side tournament, only for it to be cancelled shortly after!

12th:  Sport Relief sessions with a penalty shoot out to win the crème egg prize!  Jen was master of the penalties and won!  Social distancing had now become a new “thing”.



13th:  The last Sussex Women’s Rec. Festival before everything was stopped.  Advice given about no handshakes etc. and only elbow pumps allowed!  This is still the advice to this day…..

16th:  The Government Announcement – “Non-essential social contact should be avoided”.  This was the start of the strangest year we have ever encountered and the start of the cancellation of everything due to Coronavirus.


Panic buying, Zoom became a “thing”, Facebook Live football sessions and PT sessions were now being offered by some amazing people, for free, and it was a time of “Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives”.

20th:  The COGS had a keepy uppy challenge and the whole world seem to be using toilet rolls to do their keepy uppy #stayathome challenges!  We just stuck with a football, that was hard enough!

22nd:  Our friend from BBC Inside Out, Sam Supple, asked Carol to produce some video content about what we were doing while at home and with help from Sandra, we managed to socially distance some content, with some outtakes!



22nd:  Mother’s Day – We have many inspiring Mums and Nans/Grandmas and this was the day to read all about Pauline (our Rock) in our “Be Inspired – Be Inspiring” feature on the website.

Pauline “The Rock” Maddocks – March 2020 – Mother’s Day.

23rd “Good evening.  The Coronavirus is the biggest threat this Country has seen for decades and this Country is not alone.  All over the world, we are seeing the devastating impact of this invisible killer.”

“From this evening, I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home” – The Prime Minister gave an address to the nation at 8pm.

Lockdown began for the next 4 months, eased, came back again, eased and on December 26th, we were put in Tier 4 Lockdown, which basically meant the same thing, as the virus started spreading again with a new strain, according to the Scientists.


April mostly went by with key workers keeping the country going and most others staying at home.  It was good weather, so if you had a garden, it was much easier to get through those days.  COGS were taking up the keepy uppy challenge and Kathryn’s early video probably epitomised most of us who were learning, with balls going over fences!   There were some great efforts and you need to watch Kathryn’s video to the end!


10th:  The Government issued more advice with a message for Easter:

16th:  Our 5th Birthday.   A look back over our first 5 years, here:

Five Years of Fun, Friends, Football and Fitness – 16th April 2020.

The rest of April was full of kick ups, keeping each going and thanking the NHS and keyworkers for all they did.  Thanks to Charlie’s son, Billy, who put some of the videos together for us!  There’s also a YouTube video from start to finish of Carol’s challenge to do 20 keepy uppies before reaching 54.  Not being able to do any to getting 25 after weeks and hours of practice!


30th April:  Our Keyworker “Thank you”.


1st:  The Darby Rimmer MND Foundation – #100KinMay Challenge.

May was spent with everyone clocking up as many kms as possible by walking, running or cycling, while we raised money for the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation.  It kept many COGS active during a period where most were confined to home and allowed outside for an hour’s exercise per day.  We also raised £860.00, which included a very generous donation from Crosfields Ladies, who donated their #COGSFEST20 entry fee, instead of having it refunded.

2nd:  This day marked 40 days of Lockdown.   We had a check-in post on our Facebook Group where everyone shared their feelings and experiences or being at home, either working from home, home schooling or both and everything else that was going on.  It’s always good to talk.

20th:  It was time to test out Zoom with the COGS (and some alcohol!).  It worked quite well!

29th:  Nearing the end of the #100KinMay, Tracey shared a poem she wrote to help her get through tough days.  You have to chant/sing it like an American army drill instructor!

“I am a COG and I’m no quitter!

I keep running to make me fitter.

This running it tough

But the COGS are hard

So I’m showing this run

My red card!

And when I get to the end of this race

I’ll have a huge COGS smile upon my face!

I am a COG and I’m no quitter!

I WENT running and I am fitter!”

31st:  Final Totals for #100KinMay were:

An amazing effort from everyone!


1st:  The FA issued the Grassroots Football Covid19 Update after the Government’s guidelines were advised.

There were 2 options:  1) – For a Coach and 5 people outside with 2M social distancing or 2) – 6 people from different households could meet outside for training, while keeping apart by 2M.  This was just what was needed!  Friends got together and arranged to meet at their local parks for a socially distanced kickabout.

4th:  An Appeal to help Crawley Town raise funds was launched, with a Crowdfunder offering various treats!  We chose to donate £300 for 30 COGS who donated £10 each to have their photograph with the CTFC squad when it was possible.   There’ll be more of us than the actual squad!

11th/12th:  A few groups of 6 set up around different locations in Crawley and it was great to kick a ball again with mates.

It also provided some much needed laughter and a You’ve Been Framed moment from Sandra!


The rest of June was spent with meet ups of groups of 6 to get in some football fun.


17th:  Guidelines for the Return of Outdoor Competitive Grassroots Football was issued by the FA, in line with Government advice.

The rest of July we carried on going to our local parks until we could go back to the Foundation’s sessions.   Unfortunately, the Foundation couldn’t facilitate a new Beginners/Intermediate session, so the decision was taken to run one ourselves, after the Beginners session.

We also got all our new COVID procedures, Risk Assessments and detailed organisation in place, ready for our return.

We began the hunt for an independent COGS’ Coach to run our new Beginners/Intermediate session and found the ideal person!


Everything was in place to start up the first sessions back on 3G and boy, did we enjoy our return!

5th:  Our last Wednesday night in the park at Grattons.

12th:  Our first session, which we ran ourselves, was on Weds. 12th August and was a pay & play session with a warm-up and games.  Temperatures were taken, registration forms completed, new procedures followed with a track and trace app. and we were finally back playing on 3G!  What a great night!

After a socially distanced warm-up, everyone was happy to be back playing friendly games.


Such was the excitement of being back, The Crawley Observer published a story about it!


Our pay and play sessions continued with a maximum of 20 players and all our COVID procedures in place.

5th:  Our flag has travelled to many stadiums but is now fixed at its home until we can go away again!  Look out for it on TV for Crawley Town & Brighton Women home games.

9th:  A COGS team organised by Fatima, entered the local Footgolf Crawley Open House Charity Tournament and came away with 2 trophies!  Well done, ladies!

10th:  After a long 6 months, we were told that our Community Foundation sessions were back on the 22nd and 23rd September.  This now meant that we could start our new Beginners/Intermediate session and also our Walking Football session the same week, so ALL sessions were back!  The excitement was real!

13th:  We introduced Gavin Gordon, our new independent COGS’ Coach for the new Beginners/Intermediate session.  Gavin was a great addition, having coached some of the COGS in separate sessions, previously.   Read more here:

14th:  Carol was invited onto the new podcast “Hot Flush Rebels” talking about COGS and starting to play football at a later age.  You can listen here:

20th:  We had our first friendly since Lockdown against Kingswood Ladies FC, which was 2 games of 7v7 and it was a brilliant Sunday afternoon.  We had the maximum number of players each and it was so good to play a friendly!   The first of many socially distanced team photos!

21st:  The first Walking Football session – BACK!

23rd:  The first Beginners session – BACK!   The first Beginners/Intermediate session – LAUNCHED!

24th:  The first Intermediate session – BACK!  The first Advanced session – BACK!

To celebrate being back, we thought it was a great opportunity to show what we’re all about!

During the first week of return to all sessions, we saw 20 new women join us, from complete beginners to players returning to the game.


8th:  Our first friendly with FC Hot Women, in Brighton, was a great Friday night and was in aid of Breast Cancer Care.  Pink items were the theme of the night for some 5 -aside football and we had a few drinks on the street corner – socially distanced of course!

11th:  We were surprised to see some COGS on a Guardian Newspaper story, written by esteemed journalist Suzy Wrack after an interview with Deb Dilworth of the FSA.  It was a good read about supporter groups growing in the Women’s game.

17th:  We travelled to Pevensey to play a friendly against Pevensey & West Ham, a relatively new team.

25th:  Another friendly with the Bromley Belles but no socialising this time!


2nd:  Lockdown 2 announced, which starts on 4th November for 4 weeks.

3rd:  Our last session before Lockdown 2 and we set up our “COGS’ Minute Lockdown Challenge” to keep all COGS active, if they wanted to participate.

5th:  A chance to read and learn about our newbies and their thoughts on their first COGS’ sessions, especially after Lockdown 1.

21st:  Always time, especially during a Lockdown, for a mental wellbeing check-in with the addition of posting photos of all our COGS’ pets.

27th:  Time for our AGM and a review of all our policies and COGS’ business.  After the business was completed, a virtual post AGM drink and chat ensued!


1st:  The “COGS Minute Lockdown Challenge” results were in!  A total of 26937 minutes/449 HOURS OF ACTIVITY were completed in Lockdown 2.  From walking, running, Zumba, weights and other activities, the response was brilliant.

2nd:  A reminder of our previous COVID procedures and we’re back from Lockdown again!

4th:  We launched our Crawley Open House Christmas Appeal for food and non-perishables.

5th:  Luckily, a friendly with Premier United Ladies, which was organised prior to Lockdown, was still able to take place on a windy day in Seaford.  Was so good to be back playing another friendly!

13th:  We produced a Women’s Recreational Football video with input from other WRF teams to show just how brilliant it is to play Rec. Football.

14 th/16th/17th:   The start of a week of collecting the items for Crawley Open House, at our last sessions.  The last Walking Football session was also significant because Tracey, who completed her BT FA Playmaker Course, coached the warm-up on her own, which was a great moment.  Well done, Tracey!  It was also the last sessions of Rec. Football before Christmas with Christmas jumpers, Santa and Elves, too!

21st:  The items we collected for Crawley Open House were delivered by Debbie and we hope everyone there had a good Christmas.

25th:  Finally, we hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and we wish everyone health and happiness in 2021 in, what will be another testing year.   Be there for each other, stay safe and active.  See you on the other side!

Our COGS Christmas baubles made by Alison, who was born on Christmas Day!

Happy New Year to all our friends and we look forward to some exciting adventures in the future!