What an incredible weekend it’s been for TNS Ladies. Making history by appearing in the SSE Women’s FA Cup third round for the very first time, I joined the team as they made their way north-east to play Newcastle United Women.
The mode of transport was a very familiar one indeed for me, as it was the bus that the men’s first team has been using for a while. It’s a luxury coach, perfect for a football club and it was appropriate that the Ladies travelled in style.
I’ve been interested in TNS Ladies since I first arrived at Park Hall and have seen a number of games in that time. I’ve witnessed promotions, cup final wins and some excellent performances. However good those experiences were though, it’s true to say that they were all second-best compared to the weekend just gone.
What was special was that it wasn’t just travelling to a game and then coming home again after the final whistle. Heading north the day before we stayed in a Premier Inn to the north of the city. Our team hotel I called it on social media, which it was.
I was busy on the media front and if you followed TNS’ Facebook and Twitter accounts then you will already know that. Interviews, photographs and video footage were posted on a regular basis. From meal times to relaxing, there were plenty of updates.
The icing on the cake though – and the reason that we were there of course – was the game on Sunday afternoon. A tough match but certainly winnable was how I described it when asked about TNS Ladies’ chances.
Going 1-0 up with a very well-taken 10th minute goal by Kim Bebbington, the emotions were reversed in the second half when Newcastle United equalised. However, as long as Emily Ridge is on the pitch you’ve always got a chance.
That was proven when she rounded the keeper to slot the ball home. The excitement was only matched by the feeling at the full-time whistle. More history being created as TNS Ladies are now in the 4th round. The draw has been made earlier today and it’s Chichester City at Park Hall in February.
I added a shirt to my personal memorabilia collection as well, signed by all the girls who were in the squad for the game. That’s the lead photo this week, with Charlotte Canlett and Emily Ridge featured. My memorabilia collection is very impressive now, I’ll have to write more in a future column.
The team bus on the way home from Newcastle was a very happy one indeed. At one stage I heard chants of ‘Stewart, Stewart, Stewart’ from the back. They only wanted me to sing. Well, they had what the men’s first team had in Hungary when we played there in the Champions League a few seasons back.
Although I must say I’m definitely no David Ruffin as my version of ‘My Girl’ didn’t come anywhere close to the Temptations’ classic. I’m glad that the girls joined in though, my backing singers helped to drown me out.
A very appropriate ending to a happy weekend. Whatever the weather, the long journey or the traffic may have meant to some, it was definitely sunshine on a cloudy day for all.
Rev’s Ramblings is my weekly blog, following my adventures with the champions of Wales from a personal perspective.
Stewart Bloor – Media & Communications Officer. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org