Ladies set for latest new adventure
Tuesday 27 August 2019 - by Stuart Smedley (Updated on 28 August 2019 at 22:04)
For the second time in three seasons, Royal Wootton Bassett Town Ladies enter uncharted waters.
After winning the South West Regional Women's Football League Eastern Division last year, Bassett are set to begin life in the Premier Division – the fifth tier of women's football.
And they will be playing all but two teams – Ilminster Town and Portishead Town - for the first time in the team's short history.
There will be plenty of travelling involved too, with a trip to Cornwall to face Callington Town the most extreme. Indeed, Bassett's shortest journey will be a more than 70-mile roundtrip to face Keynsham Town Development.
But the chance to meet a number of new opponents – and face fresh challenges – is something that Jonny House and James Goddard's side will be looking forward to.
Not least because it is their reward for the huge success the team have had recently.
And Bassett will be looking to make an impression. They will be buoyed by the success of recently promoted sides too. Last year, for example, Callington finished third and Portishead sixth in their first season at this level.
The strength of their squad – boosted over the summer – means Bassett should be more than capable of holding their own too.
The majority of last year's double-winning side is still intact. Meanwhile, added quality and competition for places has been added, with a focus being on infusing further youth.
Young 'keeper Alice Farnell will be fighting Abi Footner, who impressed in her first season with Bassett last year, for the number one jersey. Rosie Kirk and Lara Wilson join to boost an already miserly defence. Meanwhile, Grace Eagles, a Wiltshire County representative, and Beth Kelloway, a key feature of last year's Frampton Rangers side who pushed Bassett all the way in the league, strengthen the midfield. Hard-working forward Eloise Hayward, who was with Bassett as a youth, adds further options in attack too.
Results-wise, preseason has been a mixed bag for the team. But, with an emphasis on playing strong sides, Bassett should be battle-ready for the new campaign.
They began in July with a 6-1 victory against Wiltshire League Melksham Town before a 14-1 defeat against last season's South West Regional Premier Division champions Exeter City.
Bassett got back on track with a 6-6 draw against Woodley United and were competitive in away defeats against Larkhall Athletic (0-4) and Welsh Women's Premier League side Port Talbot Town (2-5).
A pair of victories were then recorded to finish the preseason as Bristol Ladies Union (5-3) and Marlborough Town (12-0) were seen off at home.
Their first competitive fixture pits Bassett against Chipping Sodbury Town in the Women's FA Cup preliminary round.
They follow that with an away trip to Marine Academy Plymouth as their latest new league adventure gets going.
It's an adventure Bassett have earned – and one which hopefully will be enjoyable and lead to further success.