Kathryn Hall/ Northants FDO

This weekend saw the annual Northamptonshire Ladies 11 a side Charter Standard festival take place near Sywell.

The event has fallen on the same weekend as a major airshow and hot air balloon festival for 3 years now and being placed next to the airfield, we were all treated to a great display by the Red Arrows during yesterday’s festival!

As many who started or resumed their season yesterday will know, it was ridiculously hot yesterday when we kicked off at 1pm and it didn’t seem to let up until at least 4pm with teams playing on until gone 6pm.

Traditionally, this has been a popular festival, providing 11 a side competition across the two county league divisions prior to the start of the season. This year 6 teams took part, 3 from each division. Sadly the holders have disbanded and therefore a new name was guaranteed to be on the shield this year.

The competition was a league format with all teams playing each other, 20mins one way, 5 games each. As predicted, the 3 Division 1 sides, Rothwell Town, Peterborough Hamptons and Moulton got off to good starts. Thorplands who took relegation from Div 1 to 2 struggled to get any points early on, but they were clearly winning in the social stakes with by far the best cool box/stereo I’ve ever seen!

Moulton suffered a little from 3 games on the bounce in the scorching heat and 3 significant injuries took them down to a bare minimum of 11 after their third game. Rothwell looked to be the clear winners with Moulton still left to play Hamptons for second place. 1 point separated the teams but Moulton edged it with a 1-0 win to finish as Runners up.

So the final standings saw Thorplands (incidentally my new team) finish with just 1 point but great team spirit and morale. Billing were 5th with 4 points and Corby Ladies and Girls 4th with 5 points, also buoyant in defeat.

Hamptons finished a respectable 3rd with 2 good wins, 2 draws and a loss, Moulton managed 3 wins in the end to finish as Runners up and Rothwell Town took the title with 4 wins and a draw.

Aside from the honours awarded on the day, it was great to see all teams with good strength in numbers, with 2 sides in particular who were struggling for numbers in May/June, now with squads of 15-16. Rothwell also played players from each of their teams, with the aim of building more rapport across their squads.

I often say what a pleasure it is to work with these team and the league officials, and as always, it was a good natured tournament.

One notable point is the number of players, coaches and officials who have commented on the Olympics and the Team GB women’s football team. I have heard many times “I didn’t even watch the men’s team”, “the women have done so well” and “I’ve even signed up to twitter now, I can’t get enough of it!” Certainly Team GB have inspired a generation here.

Pictured from top – Red Arrows, Corby v Billing and Rothwell Town.

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