The GB Police Ladies Football Selection Camp took place in the North East between 4th – 6th May 2016.
Twenty five female Police Officers arrived to try and put themselves into the mix for one of 18 places to represent their Country at the European Police Football Championships in Prague 20th – 27th June.
The current squad players were from the following forces: Durham, North Yorkshire, Northumbria, Scotland, Merseyside, West Midlands, Kent, Cambridgeshire, Surrey, Leicestershire, and finally the Metropolitan Police. The players have been supported by: Fiona Gehring – Physical Training Instructor from the Met (Manager); Michelle Gregory Detective from Northumbria (Assistant Manager / Coach); brought in to take the team to the next level is UEFA A Licence Coach Claire Robinson, and finally Physiotherapist Anna Christer.
The intention of the camp was to replicate where possible the demands of the Championships, which require five 90 minute matches in 6 days. The level of competition will be extremely high, with teams from Norway, Germany, France, Austria, Denmark, Netherlands and hosts Czech Republic.
The GB team are drawn against the Czech Republic in the opening match, followed by Norway and Denmark, the aim is to qualify in the top two in the group stages and earn a place in the semi finals.
The team are partially supported by Police Sport UK, however, they have managed to gain sponsorship from Mace Construction and with this backing the team will receive brand new playing kit, training kit, and one night’s accommodation before flying to Prague.
Most players have to take annual leave to attend matches and the Championships. Some Police Forces show support to their Officers, however, it’s not the same for all. All the players have shown great commitment over the last four years and deserve to be selected as the best 18 available players in the country at at this current time. They are being selected to represent their country, their police force, all the players not in a position to play and finally themselves. It’s a very proud moment to walk out at the opening ceremony led by one of them in uniform and holding the Union Jack.
The camp was organised in by Michelle (Assistant Manager) with Claire’s (Coach) help, and featured three games in three days.
Day 1 was a 7pm KO against Durham Ladies WSL Reserves. The squad stepped up and took on the organised and young team. Nothing really split them to start, however, GB Police soon took the lead. Half time team talk from Claire saw a number of changes to the play and personnel resulting in a final score of 4-0 to GB Police.
Pleased with the performance and the win but looking at things to improve on was objective, not just the result. Just as important was the input by Anna (physio) after the game with regard to the importance of hydration and stretching in recovery.
Day 2 saw the girls head to EXIT in Newcastle for a bit of team building. An enjoyable and worthwhile experience.
The match at 7pm was against Durham WSL (the full team was put out by their Manager – a compliment to the Police on their performance against the Durham reserve team the evening before). This was a different game though as the Durham WSL players were a well drilled team with skills, speed and strength that saw them dominate the whole game. However the GB players never gave up, scored 2 goals and made Durham work hard for their victory. The score line of 10-2 to Durham WSL did reflect their dominance, however, GB Police Manager was proud of the work ethic and that the girls were able to score against such top level opposition. (It has to be taken into the account that GB team only meet up 6 times a year to play matches, so they do not train/play regularly together.)
An exhausted squad again set to the recovery stretches and Anna (Physio) was kept busy. The team headed back to the hotel knowing they were back on playing field the next day, but this time at lunchtime, against a young fit and skilled team at the Gateshead Academy of Sport.
The morning of Day 3 was led by Claire with walk throughs and stretches to try and loosen stiff bodies.
After two hours of massaging and stretching tired aching bodies the girls don their kit for the last time.
The KO was at 1pm and the game was played at a fast and furious pace but the GB girls implemented some of the positional play and instructions that Claire had spoken about during the camp. And, despite being tired the players fought hard and kept the pressure on the opposition and soon were winning 2-0. The final score was 3-1 to GB Police.
It was a great experience for the GB team to play these future stars and form a partnership with the community. The Police can often been seen in a negative light but over the 3 days camp people have certainly seen a different / positive side to the Police – coming together through sport.
Selection of the 18 final squad players was a very tough decision however the following players have been selected to represent GB Police in June:
A. Manca, L. McKenna, S. Butler – West Mids Police
A. Young, A. Jackson, L. Garbutt – Northumbria Police
V. Ashton-Jones – Kent Police
J. Farchica – Cambridgeshire Police
S. Wentworth – Surrey Police
S. Fairlie & K. Kidd – Police Scotland
N. Chatterley – Merseyside Police
S. Danby – North Yorkshire Police
J. White – Leicestershire Police
E. Maggs, C. Herson, T. Witney, E. Kayser – Met Police
Fiona Gehring – Manager UK Police Manager
Report courtesy of GB Police Ladies Football