2020 has been a disruptive year for everyone involved in grassroots sport and of course, it has had an impact here at Bristol Rovers Women’s. This could have been the year where the ‘Gas Girls’ would have been crowned champions in our inaugural season, however the Covid-19 Pandemic put an end to what looked likely to be a promising end to the season.
Despite the news that 2019/20 was to be declared null & void, I was delighted to witness a determination within the squad to come back stronger over the summer break.
Lockdown was obviously challenging for all of us; however, this did give us an opportunity to develop all elements of the club on and off the pitch going forward. During this time, I was able to adapt and finalise the ‘Gas Girls’ approach to the game, known in-house as ‘The Blueprint’. It was unanimously agreed amongst the staff that the ‘Gas Girls’ should aspire to play an attacking, possession-based style of football throughout the club. This approach will enable us to educate younger players coming through our future youth system, to play the Bristol Rovers Women’s way. I am delighted with our progress so far and how the girls have put this theory to practice. Of course, there is more room for improvements, however we certainly on track.
The summer saw the introduction of key new signings. Annys Turner, Kelly Cutler, Georgia John, Betty Platt and Katy-May O’Hara Nash have all made a positive impact during our ‘Open Sessions’ and have been an integral addition to our squad this season. Alongside the new arrivals, Jess Lumber and Cheyenne Lee were further proof that our pathway from the Development Team works, as they were both promoted to the first team after an impressive 2019/20 campaign.
The start of the new season provided us with the opportunity to compete in the Women’s FA Cup for the first time as the re-launched club. Our target was to reach the first qualifying round and I was delighted that we were able to achieve this with some superb displays on show against teams in higher divisions.
Due to our cup run and fixture re-arrangements in the league, we have only managed to complete one fixture in Division One so far this season. Our aim is to replicate the performances and results from last season with the aspirations for promotion.
As we look ahead to 2021, I hope to see our fans back to Lockleaze Sports Centre to cheer on the girls, as I know that they get an enormous buzz from seeing you all there. It looks like it is going to be a busy start to the new year with fixtures ‘hopefully’ kicking off from January 10th. I would like to thank our amazing supporters who continue to inspire all of us, and we are incredibly humbled to see the messages of support as well as engaging with our work in the community. Happy New Year to every ‘Gas Head’ out there and we look forward to seeing you soon.
Images – Rich Buchannan
(reproduced with the kind permission of Bristol Rovers Womens’ FC)