FA People’s Cup – Gillette Corner Goals, Isleworth – 24th February 2018.

Being asked by The FA and BBC Get Inspired to help promote the 2018 FA People’s Cup was a real privilege for the Crawley Old Girls and after filming the advert, to encourage adult women to enter as well as attending the People’s Cup Launch at St. George’s Park in January, it was now time to get the boots on and get down to playing!

A highlight of the COGS’ calendar, the FA People’s Cup, which is a free National 5 a-side Competition, covering 18 categories, attracted over 45,000 amateur players, last year.

This year, that figure rose to over 50,000 players and also included an increase in the number of COGS’ teams entered last year from 6, to 9 entered this year.

With nearly 60 women (the majority over 35) entered into 9 different teams, the Crawley Old Girls, literally took over the Gillette Corner Goals venue, last Saturday!

COGS’ Coach Marcus Doyle puts some of the women through their paces, in the warm up!

Ladies who were playing in their first ever competitive games joined seasoned People’s Cup Vets who had entered previous years’ Competitions.  All the teams were evenly mixed with 2 Adult Female, 6 Female Vets and 1 Walking Football team, altogether.  The football on display was fantastic at times and there was a real camaraderie between all the teams who were playing.  Not only were there 6 COGS’ Vets’ teams entered but there were also another 6 teams, including AFC Wimbledon, 3 teams from East Sheen, Woking Diamonds and eventual winners N16.  Looking back at the first year we entered, in 2016, there were only 6 Female Vets’ teams in the whole Country who entered the People’s Cup and 2 of those were COGS!  On Saturday, there were double that figure at one venue, which goes to show just how much Women’s Recreational Football is growing, nationally.  To this end, Carol Bates was invited, by Sporf, to be involved in a 2-minute film, at the venue, to talk about how the COGS are “changing the game” for Women’s Football.  Watch this space!

The Vets’ COGS’ teams were split into 2 Leagues with the winners and runners up going through to the Semi-Finals.  COGS TWO won their Semi-Final, only to be beaten in the Final by N16, who we’d previously met in 2016!  Two other COGS’ teams had the chance to make the Semi-Finals but played against each other and then one missed out on GD.  So near, yet so far!

COGS TWO and N16 reached the Final at Gillette Corner Goals, with N16 the eventual winners.

In the Adult Female category, the Underz2 team reached their Semi-Finals, only to be beaten, too.  A fantastic achievement by them though as they got through with no subs and players being injured.  True COGS’ spirit!

It was a fantastic day which saw nearly 60 women playing football for enjoyment and representing Crawley Town.  It was great to have coach Marcus Doyle (from the Community Foundation) join us and after last year, it was a relief to see everyone walking away without any injuries, apart from the usual grazes and bruises!

An amazing day which was completed with an evening social event (photos will remain on phones!).

We didn’t get through to the next round but we had great fun playing, not only against each other, but against some strong teams.  We’d like to wish N16 good luck, after they went through and we’ll be back next year to try again!

Pauline (The Rock) celebrating her team’s semi-final win!
Well done to N16 on winning the Female Vets’ Category!

The Crawley Old Girls was set up in 2015 for older women to learn to play football and the first session saw 10 women attend.  Today, there are now three sessions running, with 148 women registered.  Sessions include a beginners’ session, an intermediate session, and an advanced session for women who have played and want to come back into the game, for fun and enjoyment.   You can find details of all the sessions on the website:  www.crawley-cogs.co.uk or you can contact Amy Fazackerley at amyfazackerley@crawleytownfc.com or Carol Bates at cogscrawley@gmail.com.