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Hay St Mar y’s FC has a long history and is very much part of the cultural fabric of Hay-on-Wye, alongside the book shops and castle. What people might not know, however, is that last year a group of intrepid women and girls stormed the male dominated bastion of the clubhouse and started a football team for the women: Hay St Mary’s Ladies Football Club. We have been training since last summer but welcome new players at any time, aged 16 and upwards. No previous playing experience is necessary.
Image courtesy Brecon and Radnor Express

Image courtesy Brecon and Radnor Express

To begin with, some of us didn’t own football boots, whereas others had played at university or for football clubs in other parts of the country before. With begged, borrowed or stolen boots, around 15 of us met at the pitches in Hay with our coaches, Mike Ward, Harry Ratcliffe and Gareth Ratcliffe, and began the process of learning how to play and getting to know each other.

We train every Wednesday evening. Through the winter we’ve been at the floodlit astro pitches at Gwernyfed High School but now we’re all excited to be back on the grass at the recreation ground in Hay. Everyone has come on in leaps and bounds, fitness has improved and the team spirit is amazing. We all support each other, and learning to communicate on the pitch is certainly helped by the social side off it. We regularly meet up for nights out, particularly at the restaurant of one of our sponsors, Red Indigo.

Players travel from as far afield as Brecon, Builth, Hereford and its surrounding villages and of course, from Hay itself. Ages currently range from 16 to nearly 40. Everyone is welcome but budding goalkeepers especially so!

We’re preparing to join a league but at the moment, we play training matches between ourselves on alternate weekends or mixed matches with some of the Hay St Mary’s men’s teams. We are looking for friendlies with women’s teams and hope to test ourselves against local rivals soon to see how far we’ve progressed in a short space of time.

Even if you’ve never played before, football is not just a fantastic game, it’s fun and a great way to make friends, so come along and join us. Claire can explain the offside rule using shoe shopping as an example, if you need it. If you don’t, so much the better! Hay St Mary’s LFC would also be interested to hear from potential kit sponsors for our forthcoming league adventures: an opportunity to advertise your business on our shirts as we play matches across Powys and Herefordshire.

For more information and to contact us, find us on Facebook: or on Twitter @haystmaryslfc

Anne Woods

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