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Northamptonshire County League side Whitworth LFC recently staged the GB Deaf Women's Football Tournament.
Great Britain Women's Head Coach, George McGowan invited 22 GB Deaf women from all over the country, with players coming as far as Cornwall and Scotland over the Whitworths football tournament held over the weekend of 12th and 13th April. After training on Saturday, preparing for a tournament held at Whitworth FC - the home of Claire Stancliffe who has been actively involved into organising this four team tournament with the support of her parents and that of Dave Ekinsm manager of Whitworth Ladies.The Games comprised of 15 minutes each way.
Whitworth Ladies 0 GB Deaf Women 4.
Team Selection for GB Deaf Manager George proved to be a real big headache because over the weekend, everyone in his squad proved to be fully committed to be in the team. Carly Waters was given the Captain's armband with Lydia Docker as vice-captain. After the kick off, GB quickly took control of the game with Eleni Botonaki and Claire Stancliffe taking control in the middle of the park. Playing the formation of 3-4-3, which meant GB had an attacking frame of mind, paid off as early as the third minute when Camilla Willis bagged the first goal of the tournament. On ten minutes, the visitors doubled their lead after Whitworth were penalised for handball inside the boxand Catherine Eyley scored the resulting penalty. Just before the break, Mandy Tobin added the third goal. In the second half, Gemma Sanders from Cornwall bagged her first ever goal for the GB Deaf Ladies Team, following an inch perfect pass from Catherine Eyley.
Corby S & L Res 0 GB Deaf Women 2
Two goals inside the opening 11 minutes earned the GB deaf team a victory against a tricky Corby Reserves side which had several players who were determined to keep the visitors at bay. After five minutes, Camilla Willis bagged her second goal in the tournament and Victoria Wenman doubled the GB Deaf team's advantage when she poached a goal after a scramble inside the area.
GB Deaf Women 1 Earls Barton Ladies 1
After a scoreless first half, a goal early in the second half gave the GB Deaf Ladies Team a wake up call as they conceded their first goal of the tournament three minutes after the restart. Ceria Toal equalised for the GB Deaf team to pressure their unbeaten record in the Group Stages.
Semi final: Earls Barton United 0 GB Deaf Women 2 (aet, score 0-0 on 30 mins)
After lunch, the GB Football girls were ready for another testing match against Earls Barton Utd in the last four. After a goalless first period, the second half went much the same way as another fifteen minutes failed to produce a goal. Extra time produced the breakthrough straight away, as Laura Wiseman produce a sharp cross from the left wing into penalty area, where Camilla Willis came sliding in to steer the ball home into the net. GB did not sit back on their slender one goal lead, they attacked with great confidence and, with Eleni Botowaki winning a well placed free kick after being fouled outside the area, Louise Hogan delivered a well executed free kick which Claire Stancliffe controlled and thundered the ball home.
Final: GB Deaf Women 3 Corby S&L Ladies Reserves 0
After a long day playing football, it was a tense start to the Final before Sarah Page slotted home in the 14th minute to give the GB Deaf team the advantage at the break. In the second half, Page bagged her second goal of the afternoon as she volleyed the GB Deaf team into a 2-0 lead, with Louise Hogan having a big impact in the final, in which she dazzled the opposition with her silky football skills - pleasing the watching crowd. After several attempt, Louise finally got her reward with a goal that ended the tournament with a high note, after she dribbled the ball from the halfway line and coolly slotted the ball home, with her proud mother watching from the sidelines.
GB Squad: Beatrice Webster, Lisa Nepean, ZoŽ Overing, Carly Waters,Louise Saunders, Laura Wiseman, Katie Bailey, Natasha Roberts, Natasha Ryan, Victoria Wenman, Sarah Page, Lydia Docker, Mandy Tobin, Eleni Botonaki, Camilla Willis, Catherine Eyley, Amy Davis, Louise Hogan, Claire Stancliffe, Gemma Sanders.
Special thanks go to the organisers of the Whitworths football tournament - Claire Stancliffe and her parents along with a very supportive manager of Whitworths LFC Mr Dave Ekins, also a special mention to the GB Deaf Women football kit sponsors Siemens Centra Active, which the girls wear with pride.
Pictured - Whitworths and GB Deaf Ladies player Claire Stancliffe (Black & Pink Shirt) (Glenn Lawrence Media).
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