COGS’ Inaugural National Women’s (over 30s) Recreational Football Festival – 16th June 2018

After months of planning, our Inaugural Football Festival for Women over 30, came to fruition, on Saturday 16th June.  It was always a plan for the COGS to host a National event where women, who in the last couple of years had become involved in Recreational Football, would have the chance to play other teams of the same ability in a fun and friendly environment.  There was also the opportunity for teams of more advanced/experienced players, who had come back into the game, to join in the Festival, too.

With the premise of a participation Festival Event rather than a Competitive Tournament, over 200 women, 23 teams and plenty of supporters descended on the 3G at Broadfield for a World Cup themed event.

Crawley Old Girls (COGS) National Women’s (Over 30s) Recreational Football Festival at Crawley Town Football Club. June 16 2018

Each team was given a Welcome Pack with an allocated Country out of the World Cup teams, which included stickers and their own laminated flag to pitch up near 1 of the 4 pitches that were being played on.  Some teams also brought their own flags and the 3G was a sea of colour from the World Cup bunting and flags which adorned the fences.  There were 4 groups, 3 beginners/improvers and 1 advanced/experienced group.

Some teams were playing in their first ever Festival and others had travelled a long while to get to Crawley, including the Welsh team Mochdre Lionesses, who took 7 hours to arrive due to terrible traffic!  We also welcomed teams from around the South East, Suffolk and the West Midlands.  Everyone got into the spirit of the Festival including the French team who got the face paints out!

We were given a special message for our programme by Baroness Sue Campbell, Head of Women’s Football at the FA and were joined by 7 VIP Guests from the FA, Sussex County FA, Crawley Town FC, Crawley Town Community Foundation and our MP, Henry Smith.

All were there to see the first National Festival for Women’s Recreational Football and take in the good feeling of fun and enjoyment that the women were having playing football.  The majority of the women hadn’t been playing for long and included the “missed generation” of women who didn’t get the chance to play when they were younger.  Try stopping them now!

There were no trophies for winning each of the groups but there were 2 trophies (for each group) for all round “Team of the Group” and “Player of the Group”, which were chosen by the referees over the whole day.  We would like to thank Jo Blackman from the Canterbury Old Bags for donating our “Player of the Group” trophies, which were made by her own fair hand and loved by everyone!

Congratulations to the following winners:

Group A – “Team of the Group” – South Korea (Mochdre Lionesses).   “Player of the Group” – Sue – Saudi Arabia (Bromley Belles).

Group B – “Team of the Group” – Nigeria (COGS Red) – “Player of the Group” – Lynette – Costa Rica (Woking Diamonds).

Group C – “Team of the Group” – Poland (Turf Chicks) – “Player of the Group” – Hat-trick hero, Jaki O’Flaherty – Denmark (Lewes Ladies Vets).

Group D – “Team of the Group” – Brazil (COGS White) – “Player of the Group” – Kelly Tonks – Portugal (Arsenal Women).

After 4 hours of some great football and the presentations, it was time for the raffle.  Some fantastic prizes were donated to help us raise money for our chosen Charity, Women’s Aid.  These included the first prize of a VIPP Package from Signature Flight Support, worth £1000 as well a signed Jordan Nobbs’ Lionesses shirt and a signed Chelsea FC Women shirt, kindly donated by the FA and Chelsea FC Foundation, respectively.  As well as those great prizes, there were many others and the final total of the raffle proceeds was an incredible £651.  An amazing effort and thanks go to all those who helped sell tickets and donated prizes as well as the work that went into getting them.

The day wasn’t finished there as all teams were invited to a free buffet in the Redz Bar and many stayed for an evening of drinks, singing (mostly football songs) and dancing…  (that’s all we’re prepared to say!).

We would like to thank everyone who helped in making the Festival a great success!