Lionesses' cup run inspires Norfolk women to take up the game
PUBLISHED: 13:22 03 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:51 04 July 2019
England's heroic run to the Women's World Cup semi-final has inspired a rise in new players for a Norfolk ladies' side.
King's Lynn Town Ladies manager Michelle Stewart said the club has already seen nine new players sign-up for open training sessions at West Winch playing field tomorrow and Thursday, July 11, with many younger recruits citing the stars of this year's World Cup as inspiration.
Last season the Linnets saw similar heartbreak to the Lionesses, losing 4-1 to Wymondham Town Ladies in the Norfolk Women's Cup final in front of a crowd of 776 at Carrow Road.
The cup final was not the first time the team had played in front of a big crowd, thrashing Hatfield Peveral 9-0 in a one-off league fixture played at The Walks which until then had been reserved for King's Lynn's male team.
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Next season Stewart hopes to see the ladies playing at The Walks more regularly with plans already afoot to play home cup fixtures at the ground as they look to go one better in next season's competition.
Harry Diggins, Norfolk FA's football development officer for women and girls says he has had around 50 emails since the tournament from women and girls looking to get into the game.
Mr Diggins said the Wildcats scheme set up to get youngsters playing is well on the way to hitting the target of doubling participation with young girls turning up in replica England kits and emulating the celebrations of icons such as Ellen White, although work is still to be done.
He said: "We've a real big interest in women's football. It shows you where the women's game is at with over 700 people turning up for the county cup final."
King's Lynn begin their preparations for the Eastern Region Women's Football League season with an away friendly against Hykeham Town WFC on July 28 before returning home to play Peterborough United Ladies on August 18. Those wishing to join the Linnets in their open training sessions can do so by contacting them on Twitter @LynnLadiesFC.