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Northamptonshire County League newcomers Whitworths hosted a special weekend aimed at raising awareness of Disabilities within Football as they played host on Sunday to Great Britain Deaf Ladies FC.
Whitworths invited the GB team to Northamptonshire for a training camp to raise awareness that being Deaf is no barrier to girls or women's football, a barrier that young Ladies Footballer Claire Stancliffe - who plays for Whitworths - has overcame. Keen footballer Claire, who has been training with the England Deaf Ladies squad at Lilleshall, is already knocking on England's door as a standby Player.
The GB Deaf Football Team is made up of volunteers and the players play games all around the UK, all funded entirely out of their own pockets. Many of the players who played on Sunday travelled from as far away as Scotland to enjoy the weekend training camp in Wellingborough.
The weekend's activities kicked off on Friday night with the Deaf Ladies giving lessons in sign language, Saturday was training day as they worked out their game plan for Sunday's match while Saturday night was party night with games being played ahead of the big match.
GB Manager George McGowan is looking to increase the games being played as the GB Deaf Ladies Squad prepare for the Olympics in 2009, having won the Bronze medal at Melbourne in 2005. The team is made up from players representing the four home nations and currently meet up once a month but are looking to increase this to once a fortnight.
For more information on the GB Deaf Women's football team please visit www.britishdeaffootball.com. The GB Deaf Ladies football team are looking for teams right around the country to play against - if you fancy a game, please contact email@example.com. They are also seeking new sponsors to help them as they bid for Gold in 2009.
Developing newcomers Whitworths suffered a 9-0 defeat at the hands of a strong GB deaf women's football team, two quickfire goals inside three minutes in the first half set out the Deaf team's intentions from the start. Camilla Willis opened the scoring, firing home inside the near upright and, with the home side still reeling from that early setback, Lisa Neplan doubled the visitors lead before Camilla Willis added two goals to complete a first half hat-trick. Sarah Page made it 5-0 before the interval, Second half goals from Victoria Wenman, Susan McKeown and Lisa Neplan took it to 8-0 before England international Carly Water completed the scoring, hitting home from 12 yards out after latching onto an inch perfect cross from the right wing.
A disappointing result for Whitworths amid a great battling and hard working performance but, for the heroics of Whitworths goalkeeper Holly Brown, the GB team would have left London Road in Wellingborough with a bigger winning margin after she denied the visitors on several occasions. Brown later went on to save a Lisa Neplan penalty. Whitworths found it hard to break down a stronger team, Claire Stancliffe having their best chance as she forced the visitors goalkeeper to parry down a well struck shot in the first half, Lydia Docker rattled the Whitworths post in the second half but in the end the real winner was women's football. The GB deaf team created some neat free flowing football which was clinically executed throughout an enjoyable and entertaining game.
GB deaf ladies Manager George McGowan played a glowing tribute too their hosts for organizing a fantastic fun filled weekend which he and the whole of his GB Ladies Squad really enjoyed. It is hoped that the two teams will meet again sometime in the future following the success of this event but the message from this match is that deafness is no barrier to playing Ladies or Girls Football and being successful at it.
(report and photo - Glenn Lawrence Media).
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