The squad had left Newcastle early on a dull and damp Saturday morning but arrived in Edinburgh to sunshine and a very warm welcome from their hosts at Spartans FC. Both the First and the Reserve teams took to the pitch and the crowd were treated to an afternoon of entertaining, fast and skilful football.
The first team’s game was held up for quite some time as Newcastle’s Mercede Riolfo was taken to hospital with a knee injury. Following the game the squad headed for the team hotel and an evening of food and fun in De Vere Venues, Barony Castle, near Peebles.
Sunday saw the squad leave their hotel, following a few photo calls, and head for Hutchison Vale WFC in Edinburgh. Again the squad received a very warm welcome from their hosts at Hutchison Vale on a dull and cold day.
The reserves took to the pitch first watched very closely by the members of the NUWFC first team and an ever growing crowd. It was then the turn of the reserve team to watch a very closely fought match between the two first teams. The afternoon ended with everyone getting together in the Hutchison Vale Club house for a very welcome post-match buffet.
Newcastle United Women’s Football Club would like to thank Spartans FC Ladies, Hutchison Vale Women’s Football Club, NU Foundation, DeVere Hotels and their ever growing loyal band of travelling supporters who have helped and supported them in making this weekend’s important pre-season trip to Scotland a great success.
Newcastle First Team Coach, Warren Teasdale, said: “What a fantastic way to start our preparations for the new season. We knew that playing against top class Scottish opposition would be very hard after only four training sessions and with them in the middle of their own domestic season. After a rusty start in game one against Spartans FC Ladies, the Newcastle players showed fantastic energy, skill and team spirit in each game and were very unlucky not to win them both.
“It was understandable that the players would tire towards the end of each game and with only a small pool of players to choose from and the ladies having to play in several positions due to injuries and work commitments; it showed their spirit and determination as a squad of players.”
“As a team we worked hard to pass the ball and retain possession and things are looking good for the new season. We need to continue as a club to break the old culture of route one football and concentrate on a more modern / technical approach which brought us so much success last season. Well done to all of the players and thanks for all of the hard work from our committee and the hospitality of our Scottish opposition.”
Reserve Team captain Amy Perch added: “A busy weekend in Scotland saw both the firsts and the reserves take on some top class Scottish opposition. Despite not all of the results going our way, there were a great deal of positives to be taken back to the Toon for both sides. Although there were (understandably!) some tired legs on Sunday, both teams played some quality football and it proved to be an excellent opportunity for everyone to get an important pre-season run out and for all the players to spend some quality time together.
“On behalf of all of the players I would like to say a big thanks to Gary and Anne for organising such a fantastic weekend and to Julie and Warren for keeping us right on match days.”
Stacy Crooks said: “This weekend was great for the girls on and off the pitch. As we have a number of new players it was important to get them bonding with the team as soon as possible. On the pitch you couldn’t tell we had only been back to pre-season for two weeks. We matched both teams for fitness and our technical ability did the rest.
“It was a bit disappointing that we couldn’t come away winning all of our games but there are so many positives that we can take away with us and build on.”
Welfare Officer/First Team Assistant Manager, Julie Clarke commented: “Pre-season just isn’t about the games it’s about team bonding and introducing the new players to our team. New players not only have to try it impress their new coaches, they also need to get to know their team mates, the only way to do this is by letting the team group get together for a few days with not only to play football but to also have fun and games off the pitch. With all the ladies getting on extremely well we look forwards to another great season.”