A CUPWINNING ladies’ football team are folding because the players are too stretched to compete.
Blyth Spartans Ladies have had their most successful year, winning the Northumberland Football Association Cup Final last May.
They beat Whitley Bay Ladies 4-2 in a thrilling performance and also made the regional women’s league cup final, where they were beaten by Sheffield. But manager Steve Ord has called it a day for travel costs.
They have been competing all over the North East in the regional women’s league but found it tough in the recession and players faced problems getting to games.
Four of the team – Ruth McShane, Rachel Lee, Hannah Chisholm and Claire Needham – are at university in Leeds. Others found it hard to go as far afield as Sheffield and Hull on Sundays. Mr Ord said: “The situation I had was that I had a nucleus of 18 players and four of them were based down in Leeds.
“The four of them have to focus on their studies and because of the duration of travel in the league, often leaving by coach at 9am in the morning and returning around 9pm, it was difficult for other girls in their early 20s who had other commitments. At that level you need a massive squad and a lot of ladies’ teams are folding because they are finding it hard financially and it’s hard getting people to travel the distances. Times are hard and money is a big factor when you have to raise several thousand pounds a year for transport to games.’’
The team began eight years ago and eight players, including Mr Ord’s daughter Stephanie, have played every year. Now he may form a ladies’ team to play closer to home.