A SUFFOLK women’s side will be playing at Wembley Stadium later this month.
Players from Needham Market Women’s FC will be playing in the final of the BT Sport Pub Cup on Friday, November 18th.
They originally entered the competition under the name of The Swan, a pub in Needham Market, but after this closed switched to The Three Tuns.
The team took part in one of four regional seven-a-side heats across the UK at Crystal Palace’s Training Ground.
Eight teams competed in the heat, with the Suffolk side playing four matches to reach the final where an equaliser from Lois Balfour took the match against The Bat and Ball pub from London to penalties.
Goalkeeper Danni Clark saved two spot kicks to send the Suffolk side through to the semi-final stage at the Etihad Campus, Manchester City’s training facility.
There they took part in the semi-final, which was played as an 11-a-side tournament alongside seven other teams.
The Suffolk side emerged as winners after coming through their four games victorious including a 4-0 success against The Station pub from Crawley in the final, with Lina Nagib, Mia Etheridge, Lois Balfour and Jo Brawn all on target.
The squad that took part in Manchester was as follows: Lois Balfour, Laura Bloomfield, Jo Brawn, Ele Catchpole, Dani Clarke, Mia Etheridge, Abbie Fisher, Nicola Henderson, Eva Hubbard, Charlotte McGrath, Jemma Mortimer, Lina Nagib, Ellie Rossiter, Niamh Thomas and Paige Wakefield.
Ele Catchpole, who is captain of the team, said: “We heard about the tournament through a friend who had entered last year. We thought it was a great opportunity to play in a tournament at a nice training ground – an opportunity to play against different players and really just a bit of fun.
“We didn't really know what to expect so I don't think any of us realised that Wembley was really a possibility until we got to Manchester!”
Ele said of reaching Wembley: “It was an incredible day, a real cup final moment. Everyone knew what was at stake and it’s a day that all of us will remember for a really long time.”
There will be some changes to the squad as a result of injuries, but Ele said the team were now excited about the final.
“We are looking forward to all of it - from getting ready in the changing rooms to walking out at Wembley and obviously playing on the pitch. The whole day will be unlike anything any of us have experienced before.”
Ele added she was unsure how many supporters the team would have cheering them on in the final against the White Boar Hotel from Lancashire.
“We're not sure but entry is free, so we are hoping to have as many people as possible there!” she said.
In order to attend the final, which kicks-off at 3.30pm, you have to register by this Friday, November 4th via the link below.