Buckland ladies head to Watford for another massive milestone
BUCKLAND Athletic ladies have the biggest game in their short but successful history when they travel to Watford for the second round proper of the Women’s FA Cup on Sunday.
Having already tasted three promotions since the team’s formation in 2015, now manager Grant Fisher (right) and his side are relishing the opportunity to pit their wits against a Watford side that has played in FA Women’s Super League football since its inception in 2014 – after they finished runners-up in the FA Women’s Premier League in 2013.
Watford were demoted last season to the FA Women’s National League – tier three in the pyramid – following the restructuring of women’s football in England.
But against a Watford side which boasts a plethora of women’s football stars, including Wales international and former Arsenal and Chelsea striker Helen Ward, it promises to be a huge challenge for Buckland – but one which they will relish on the big stage.
Fisher said: “Buckland versus Watford in the FA Cup sounds really unusual and a little surreal – but the players have earned this.
“It’s the biggest game we have had since we formed three years ago. It’s certainly the biggest gap between clubs in the second round, too – but that won’t faze us.
“If we beat them it would be one of the biggest upsets in the FA Cup, and while we will go there and enjoy it, we are going to give it everything. It will be an uphill battle, you only have to look at the budgets. They have one and we don’t!”
Buckland’s players – with an average age of 22 – will travel to London on Saturday, and will train on Tottenham Hotpur’s ladies’ training pitch, ahead of the second round tie, which is being played at Gaywood Park, home of Kings Langley.
Fisher said: “We will prepare in the best possible way. We will train the day before the game, and we will go there with a game plan.
“If get beat playing the way we like to play then so be it, but we will do our own thing and go for it.
“It will be great for them to experience playing against some top players and I will be very proud.
“The club has come such a long way in a short space of time, with over 100 ladies and girls now representing the various teams.”
Fisher added: “We have no financial backing, which is what makes this all the more special. We all do it because we want to do it.”
Meanwhile, Buckland’s Western League game at home to Cadbury Heath was postponed on Saturday due to a waterlogged pitch.
Richard Pears’ men were hoping to return to action in the Les Phillips Cup last night (Tuesday), where they were due to travel to Brislington.
If the weather is kind, they are on the road to Bridport in the league on Saturday.
Goal celebrations for Natalie Warman of Buckland during their Women’s FA Cup win against Cheltenham