WOMEN’S FOOTBALL: How a great idea led to a wonderful journey for St Ives Town Ladies
- Credit: Archant
Back in 2015, Sasha Smith had an idea. It proved to be a rather good one.
Smith is a member of the title-winning St Ives Town Ladies side who are toasting a second promotion in just three seasons since their formation.
It’s been quite a journey since her initial thought. Super coach Darren Marjoram – one of the biggest supporters’ of female football you’ll ever find – was quickly convinced to come on board as manager and the Saints set-up, who had never previously had a women’s side, then backed the project.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Promotion from the Cambs Women’s League Championship South followed in their first season before they claimed Premiership title glory in the current campaign.
It means they will be playing at regional level next season in Division One of the Eastern Women’s League and few would bet against their success continuing.
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After all, this is a town with a conveyer belt of talent thanks to the exploits of the St Ivo School on the national stage and a fine grassroots club in St Ives Rangers.
Marjoram said: “Everyone involved is very proud of the journey we’ve had. It all started when Sasha approached me to ask if we could set up a senior ladies team in St Ives because several people who had played locally as girls now had to travel to play elsewhere as adults.
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“St Ives Town were right behind the idea immediately, we secured some Football Foundation funding to launch the side and everything has gone from there.
“We’re ahead of our initial schedule to reach regional football in four-to-five seasons, but that doesn’t surprise as we have some wonderful young players coming through in the town.
“And we all believe there is still plenty more scope for improvement. The ultimate aim is to play at the highest level we possibly can and we feel we have the infrastructure to continue to progress.”
Saints’ terrific campaign came to a successful end when they beat runners-up Newmarket Town Ladies 3-0 in their final Premiership fixture last Wednesday.
Katie Stancombe struck twice in the victory at ProEdge Westwood Road – the venue where they hope to play regularly from next season. Amy Seymour-Shove hit the other goal as they triumphed for the 19th time in 21 league games.
St Ives Town Ladies are keen to hear from any prospective first-team or Development team players for next season. Anyone interested should make contact by email to firstname.lastname@example.org