Belles boom after player plea

The Battyeford Belles
The Battyeford Belles

Just a few weeks ago, these stylish all-weather sports kits laid empty as the Battyeford Belles under eights struggled to find players.

But after an impassioned plea in the Mirfield Reporter, the squad has bloomed, and the kits are getting full use.

Since we launched our We’re Backing the Belles campaign in August, the team has attracted 16 new players, with interested girls getting in touch all of the time.

The special plea was made after the club received funding for 12 new kits from the English Premier League.

Head of Girls’ Football Chris Hoyle said: “We’ve had a fantastic response to the plea in the Reporter – before we had just three players and our great new kits weren’t getting used. What this demonstrates is the real interest in participation in girls sport in the area.

“Since the story we’ve gone from having no-one to fill the kits to having to purchase more sets. And what’s great is that they will benefit the team in years to come as when the current girls move up to the older age groups, the kits will stay with the girls in the under eights.

“What we’re trying to do is create a conveyor belt so we have a constant flow of players coming through.”

The recruitment drive has been such a success that the Belles have split into two team so they get even more practice playing against each other.

And the under eights had their first friendly against Norristhorpe on Friday evening at the Mirfield Free Grammar (MFG) sports pitches, and there are plans to enter the youngsters into the West Riding Girls’ Football League.

Mr Hoyle added: “The girls were so excited about their first match.

“It’s all about getting girls into sport. With the boys teams, they just turn up and want to get involved. It can be a bit more difficult to encourage the girls to join but once they do they love it.

The club is still welcoming more girls, and are especially interested in recruiting players from school year three. Contact Mr Hoyle on 07773 817763 for more information.