Chorley Ladies FC
Chorley Ladies FC
Established 1983

Chorley Ladies Football Club History

Compiled by Rod & Josie Prescott: Club Statisticians

Formation and North West Women’s League Years Era

The Origins of Chorley Ladies FC can be traced as far back as 1978, when Mr. E. Gardner set up Cumberland Rangers Ladies, and although based around Preston, the club played their matches in Accrington, due to no local pitches being available to them!

Entering the NWWL Second Division, the club would finish in eighth position out of twelve teams, in the sides very first season together.

For Season 1980-81, a pitch became available to the ladies in New Longton, so it made sense to re-name the club to New Longton Ladies, a name they would keep for three seasons.

With most of the players coming from the Chorley Area, the club again changed its name for season 1983-84 and became Chorley Ladies F.C.

Following an illustrious career, in which she had won every honour in the Women’s game, Sheila Parker was appointed Team Captain, and her Husband became Manager. Chorley born Sheila had Captained the very first England Women’s Team in November 1972, winning a total of 33 Caps and is now rightly Honoured in the National Football Museum Hall of Fame.

This Appointment resulted in the Clubs first major success and the team duly won the N.W.W.L. Division Two title, four points ahead of second placed Thornton ICI.

The team continued playing in their home matches in the lovely surroundings of Astley Park, the centre piece of the town, and even entered the F.A. Women’s Cup National Competition then known as the Mitre Cup .  Seasons 1983-84 and 1984-85, saw them playing top opposition such as Preston Rangers (now Fylde) and Crewe Ladies.

One of the clubs most successful League Presentation Evenings took place at Leyland Motors on June 17th 1988, when Rosie Nolan was named Player of the Year, Anne Stockdale the Division’s Leading Goalscorer , Sheila Parker received the “Women’s Football Loyalty Award” and Rod and Josie Prescott “Outstanding Contribution to Women’s Football Award”. All these prestigious Awards being presented by Linda Whithead, Secretary of the Women’s Football Association, who at that time were based in London.

The Final Season of N.W.W.L Football saw Chorley finish fourth in Division two, playing their home matches at King George’s Playing Fields, Adlington. At the League’s last ever Presentation Evening on June 23rd 1989, Anne Stockdale would again be the League’s Leading Goal Scorer , with a remarkable 44 goals from 22 League Games.

Fifteen notable players from the teams successful N.W.W.L. era include : Michelle Bebbington : Wendy Eastham : Lynne Godsmark: Sue Hough : Debbie Kirkman : Helen Knaggs: Caroline Lochhead : Vanessa McLeod : Sue Monkhouse :  Rosie Nolan : Sheila Parker : Pauline Pope : Sharon Schofield : Anne Stockdale and Maria Vernal .

North West Women’s League Club and Individual Award Winners Chorley Ladies F.C.

1983-84  Division Two Champions

                 Division Two Player of the Year: Sheila Parker

1984-85  Leyland Festival Penalty Competition Winners

                 Clitheroe Seven A Side Shield Winners

1987-88  Division Two Player of the Year: Rosie Nolan

                 Division Two Leading Goal Scorer: Anne Stockdale

                 Women’s Football Loyalty Award: Sheila Parker:

                 (Debut 10th June 1961 for the World Famous “Dick Kerr’s Ladies “aged just 13 )

                 Outstanding Contribution to Women’s Football Award:  Rod and Josie Prescott

Surveyed: Best Women’s Football Programme in Great Britain: by The Wirral Programme Club

1988-89 Division Two Leading Goal Score: Anne Stockdale

 

The N.W.W.R.L. Years 1989-90 - 2011-12

With Women’s Football becoming more and more popular, the Women’s Football Association decided to create Regional League’s throughout the Country and our Region became the North-West Women’s Regional Football League. This had brought together the three North West based Women’s League’s (The Greater Manchester & Merseyside League, the Three Counties League and the North-West Women’s League founded in 1970).

Originally comprising of 42 teams in four divisions (7 would sadly disband), Chorley where placed in the very competitive Division Two, finishing a very creditable third with 15 points (two points for a win in those days).

Remarkably now looking back, the clubs first ever game in the NWWRFL was against Manchester City Ladies (current holders of the Super League Title, F.A. Cup and Continental Cup, & a team full of International Players) on Sunday September 3rd 1989. In what was City’s first ever League game, Chorley ran riot at a sunny Astley Park winning 11-0, with goals from Michelle Bebbington (3) Anne Stockdale (2) Sharon Schofield (2) Rosie Nolan (2) Mandy Mercer (1) and a Deb Kirkman penalty.

As is common with most Women’s Football Clubs the teams 23 seasons in the N.W.WR.F.L. saw lots of highs and lows during this time!

Three Championships and Five Runners Up Spots where achieved in various Divisions, resulting in five Promotions. On the downside, three Relegations had also transpired .

 

 

N.W.W.R.F.L. Club and Individual Award Winners Chorley Ladies F.C

 

1990-91

Penalty Competition Winners at Vernons

1991-92

Division Two Champions

Division Two Leading Goal Scorer: Anne Stockdale ( 26 Goals)

1992-93

Penalty Competition Winners at Accrington Stanley

1993-94

Division One Player of the Year: Karen Brown

Division One Fair Play Award Winners

1994-95

Division Two Player of the Year: Sharon Schofield

1995-96

Division Three Fair Play Award Winners

1996-97

Division Three Runners-Up

1997-98

Division Two Player of the Year: Janine Jones

1999-00

Division One Runners Up

 

 

2001-01         Lancashire County Cup Finalists (At the County Ground)

2003-04         Debbie Cowell: Selected for the N.W.W.R.F.L. Representative Side

2004-05         Division One Player of the Year: Natalie Parry

                        Natalie Parry Selected for the N.W.W.R.F.L. Representative Side

2006-07         Division One North Runners Up

2007-08         Plate Winners  (At Irongate , Bamber Bridge F.C.)

                        Official Plate Player of The Match * Janet (Dawson) Mitchell

2008-09          Division One North Champions

2009-10          Premier Division Runners Up

                         Premier Division Leading Goal Scorer: Vicky Coope

Prescott Shield Award Winning Medals: Debbie Cowell, Janet (Dawson) Mitchell, Sarah Lawson, Jane Marcus, Natalie Parry and Danni Toward

2010-11 Premier Division Runners Up

Premier Division Leading Goal Scorer: Sarah Lawson

Prescott Shield Award Winning Medals For N.W.W.R.F.L Representative Squad : Janet (Dawson) Mitchell, Debbie Cowell, Natalie Parry and Danni Toward (Captain) .

2011-12 – Premier League Champions (Promoted to F.A. Women’s Premier League)

Premier Division Leading Goal Scorer: Vicky Coope

Plate Winners (At Airbus UK, Broughton , North Wales )

Official Plate Player of The Match* Laura TodHunter

* Selected by Rod and Josie Prescott

Fifteen Notable  Players from the teams successful N.W.W.R.F.L. era include: Nicki Ainscough Catherine Anderton : Nicki Boyle : Karen Browne : Debbie Cowell : Janet Gilder : Kerry Hibbert : Janine (Jelly) Jones : Tracy Kenyon : Sarah Lawson : Natalie Parry : Jo Schofield : Rosie Schofield : Clare Smith and Danni Toward , who would go on to make 550 Appearances for the club , come the end of 2016-17 ( debut on, 20.03.94 ) .

With Promotion finally achieved to the Northern Women’s Combination / F.A. Women’s Premier League, a new era was dawning for the club.

Northern Combination/ F.A. Women’s Premier League Era

Created for Season 1998-99 by the Football Association, the Northern Combination took the top six N.W.W.R.F.L. Premier League Teams from the previous season, forming a new northern based twelve team Women’s League, one step below the FAWPL Pyramid.

It would take Chorley fourteen seasons to reach the “Promised Land “of the Northern Combination, regarded by most followers of Women’s Football, as a massive step up from the Regional League !

However, Chorley’s Promotion Winning side of 2011-12, quickly adapted to its high demands and long distance travelling, by finishing Runners-Up in their first two seasons (2012-13 and 2013-14) with 52 and 46 points respectively.

The formation of the Women’s Super League in 2011 again heralded change in the Women’s Pyramid system and the Women’s Combination Leagues where disbanded at the end of 2013-14.

Thirty One years on from their name change in 1983, Chorley Ladies now find themselves playing in the highly rated and greatly respected F.A. Women’s Premier League Northern Division.

In Season 2014-15 the team would finish 5th, in 2015-16, 3rd and in 2016-17, 5th place from twelve was achieved again.

The clubs progression over the years has been gradual and solid, having been built around hard working people, both on and off the Football Field.

Indeed, if you look back to the original 42 teams that entered the N.W.W.R.F.L. back in 1989-90, only two clubs remain with their original name today, these being Manchester City and Chorley Ladies … Not a bad reminder from many years ago, of a Women’s Football Team, that struggled for an identity, because there was no pitch for them to play on!!

Long may Chorley Ladies continue making history in the game of Women’s Football.

Fifteen players from the teams successful Northern Combination/ F.A. Women’s Premier League era include Melissa Ball : Kerry Bergin : Sarah Berry : Kathy Bonner : Saskia Bowes : Sam Cadwallader: Vicky Coope: Ruth Harrison : Charlotte Higginson : Jennifer King : Janet Mitchell : Joanne Phillips : Scarlett Smith : Rachel Wood  and Kay Unsworth . 

Since 1983-84 to the end of season 2016-17, a total of 198 different players have appeared for the team, (204 different names) due to maiden surnames moving over to married surnames!

 

Northern Combination/ F.A. Women’s Premier League Honours

2012-13   Northern Combination Runners Up

2013-14    Northern Combination Runners Up

2016-17    Prescott Shield Winners

                                                                                                                                                                                    R.J.P.