The final of the Sussex Girls Challenge Cup (Under-16s) is due to take place on Sunday 13 March 2022 between Southdown Girls and Lewes Women.
Southdown Girls vs. Lewes Women
Sussex Girls Challenge Cup Final (Under-16s)
Date: Sunday 13 March 2022
Venue: Sussex County FA, Culver Road, Lancing, West Sussex, BN15 9AX
We have a real underdog story on Sunday as Southdown Girls Under-16s of the Sussex County Women & Girls Football League (SCWGFL), face Lewes Women Under-16s of the Junior Premier League.
Southdown Girls achieved their sole win of the season in the Semi-Final with a win over Hollingbury Hawks. For manager, Jason Mcnaboe, he just wants his team to enjoy the occasion.
“We are looking forward to it despite it being a bit of a mismatch in our eyes! We're going to give it a good go. We had a walkover in the Quarter-Final and beat Hollingbury Hawks in the Semi which is our only win of the season.
“I'm over the moon for the girls to have a day like this because they turn up every week, even if they've lost quite heavily, still smiling, still wanting to play.
“We aren't in it to win it; I changed my mentality a long time ago. When we do get a win, it's fantastic and makes the feeling even better.”
Jason has an attitude you have to admire and epitomises what grassroots football is all about. He recalls with us what that win over Hollingbury Hawks meant to his side and how far they’ve come.
“Much better teams than us don't get to finals. Regardless of how we've got there, we still had to play Hollingbury, where we played fantastically well.
“It was amazing, I was walking on air after that game! But they've got it in them to produce that, that's the thing. They just need to believe in themselves a bit more.
“I've watched Lewes beat Worthing Town 7-1 in the Semi-Final who are top of our league and beat us quite comfortably. Lewes were there watching that day and I'm sure they're quaking in their boots as a result!
“We're a small club that just try and get a team out each week, it's about playing for us. Winning is great, of course it is, but it says a lot about the girls that they lose every week and still want to carry on next season.
“I've been with the girls since under-8s when I came to help out then eventually took over. I played county football all my life so I thought I could offer something. Now we are where we are and as much as it gets tough, I could never walk away because of the girls wanting to play.”
Carl Pennifold’s Lewes are competing well in the Junior Premier League and relishes the competition that offers something different for his team.
“The girls will be professional on the day and they’re really looking forward to it. For us it’s something to really look forward to and the chance to win a trophy.
“We will be taking the game seriously and I have no doubt that my players won’t overlook the opposition, they’re all very professional in the way they do things.
“It’s nice to be able to play different teams in this competition as opposed to what we’re used to, and it gives a different challenge to the girls.
“It’ll be probably the biggest crowd they’ve played in front of as well so it’s going to be something new for them and a fresh test.”
With the growth of women and girls’ football in Sussex, Lewes are a key example of a club that can now offer that clear pathway to first team football.
“The girls know they have that pathway to the first team if they work hard. Some of them are already on the fringes of the Development Squad and that’s obviously inspiring for them.
“Whatever happens for these players going forward, the aim is for them to be playing a higher-level next season whether that be with our Development Squad or entering senior football.”
Lastly, he added: “I only joined this team this season having previously been involved with Chichester & Selsey, so I’ve seen first-hand how rapidly women & girls’ football has grown, not just nationally but in Sussex.
“I think most counties would do anything to have a league such as the SCWGFL, that has ranges of divisions and ages. It’s so good for Sussex to have that and gives young girls a platform to get into the game.”
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-16s) please contact Competitions:
T: 01903 753547