The final of the Sussex Girls Challenge Cup (Under-15s) is due to take place on Sunday 6 February 2022 between Eastbourne Borough and Cuckfield Cosmos.
Eastbourne Borough vs. Cuckfield Cosmos
Sussex Girls Challenge Cup Final (Under-15s)
Date: Sunday 6 February 2022
Venue: Sussex County FA, Culver Road, Lancing, West Sussex, BN15 9AX
In our inaugural final of the Sussex Girls Challenge Cup (Under-15s), previous under-12s winners, Eastbourne Borough, face Cuckfield Cosmos.
Borough are currently competing up a year in the Sussex County Women & Girls League (SCWGL), where they sit top of the Under-16s division. Cuckfield, themselves, are enjoying a good campaign, competing at the top of the Under-15s Premier Division.
For Borough Manager, Geoff Moule, he can’t wait for the big occasion: “It's not sunk in really! It's been such a long time since they've had a chance to get back to a County Cup Final.
“They got to the final as under-13s, but it unfortunately wasn't played, and before that they won it as under-12s.
“The girls now are certainly getting excited about it. They're usually happy go lucky, take each game as it comes, but all of a sudden they've got a real focus.
“For about half of the team, they have the recollection of winning it at under-12 level. I think this time it's a lot more exciting because back then, a lot of them didn't really watch football, they didn't see that it was a big occasion.
“This time, they are thinking about it a lot more, I think there's some nerves there! Then there's another half of our team who haven't experienced anything like this. They've had a lot of questions about what happens on the day!
“Things like having changing rooms, all coming out together, lining up, having their names read out the tannoy, I think it'll be surreal for them.”
Geoff, who is also Women & Girls Coordinator at Eastbourne Borough, tells us of his reasoning for his side playing up a year and the test Cosmos will provide.
“They play at under-16s because they were doing well results wise and had a lot of possession of the ball, so we just looked at other options.
“We didn't want to be playing too far afield but then Eastbourne Borough founded its first women's side, and it gave us the desire to take a step up and get a more physical challenge.
“We made the decision to stick with our own age group in the County Cup and honestly, the County Cup is the one, each year, that is the pick of what we want to win. Having your team engraved into the trophy is a long-lasting legacy.
“It grounded quite a lot of them playing a year up because they aren't getting their own way! They have to work a lot harder to regain and retain possession of the ball.
“It's changed the way they play and think, as opposed to get the ball up the other end and score. We often try and get our girls on the stadium pitch before the women play so a lot of them stay and watch.
“They know it's going to be a tight game; we know Cuckfield Cosmos well and anytime we played them it's always been a very enjoyable game to watch, high quality. I wouldn't want to be a betting man!”
Lastly, he spoke of his delight in seeing the game grow: “For myself, it means the world. In my role as Women & girls Coordinator at Eastbourne Borough I’m tasked with growing female football at the club.
“As far as I see it, it goes beyond Eastbourne Borough, I just love to see the women & girls game grow in general.
“It's phenomenal how much it's grown and the demand for girls wanting to play football has grown beyond any kind of expectation.”
For Cuckfield Cosmos manager, Sue Best, she echoes these thoughts: “It's absolutely amazing and especially after the last two years without much football played, things are taking off again.
“You've got the EUROs, more and more girls getting involved and watching it, it's being highlighted more on the telly and it's a great time for them to see it's now all about the men!”
In terms of getting to the final itself, she is delighted for the girls: “I think everyone is really excited! A lot of the girls haven't played at Lancing before. It'll be quite nice of those who haven't, to experience that.
“You enter these competitions with hope and just like to see how well you can do. It's good for us because we only got 10 players officially signed on that are under-15s, I have to use some under-14 girls when they haven't got a game.”
For Sue, she just wants her players to leave with their heads held high and not play the occasion: “Every game they play no matter who it is, they go out there wanting to do well and enjoy it. Some of them might put a lot of research into who we're playing, and others will rock up ready to play.
“I don't want to put any pressure on them. They're a really good bunch, they play for themselves, we've got no superstars, I'll tell them to play how I know they can and on the day you can beat anyone.
“I don't want them getting worked up because walking out the tunnel, being in the dressing room, having their names called, it's a completely different environment.”
Entry prices for the final are as follows (cash and card accepted):
£4.00 Adult (17+)
£2.00 Concession (65+ and students with valid student ID card)
FREE Child (16 and under)
£1.50 Official Match Day Programme
For further details about the Sussex Girls Challenge Cup (Under-15s) please contact Competitions:
T: 01903 753547