Impetus are now into their second season sponsoring Harriet Meers, a defender in her first spell of senior women’s football with Wroxham. Harriet spoke to Ben Gilby about her experience of pre-season, Wroxham’s stellar start their Eastern Region Women’s Football League Premier Division (ERWFL) campaign and targets for the months ahead.
Above: Harriet Meers (left) in action for Wroxham against Luton Town in the ERWFL Premier in August. Photo: Hardy Scott Photos.
We last caught up with Harriet just before the summer. With her university commitments coming to a close for the academic year at the same time, there was time for a short break before an eagerly awaited return to training.
“Pre-season began in June with two sessions a week. This was my first pre-season with the club and at this level and I felt like it was a great intensity. The addition of new members to the coaching team meant a great support network to build up fitness by means of individual fitness plans. As players, we motivated each other through pre-season by sharing our fitness achievements. With regards to matches we had three pre-season games against AFC Sudbury, Brantham and Needham Market and finished with a 100% win rate which put us in a great position for the start of the league season on 15th August.”
The club made some very impressive new signings over the summer. Harriet outlined how the new faces have fitted in and what they have added to the team. “Bex (Rebecca Burton, Wroxham Women manager) has done an incredible job at player recruitment this pre-season with signings coming from teams in the league above such as Cambridge United and Norwich City.
“The experience that these girls provide is invaluable and will support the team whilst we aim for promotion to the FA Women’s National League (FAWNL). The new signings have strengthened the squad in multiple areas and add to all four corners of the football model. Amber Cantwell from Cambridge United, is a huge signing for Wroxham and her ability to change the game is second to none. The personalities of the girls have fitted straight into Wroxham.”
“Additionally, it is important to note that it is not just the new singings who have made a bang this season. In particular, our captain Grace Birchall, who has netted over 50 goals for the club now and has hit an impressive three hat-tricks already this season.”
Wroxham have made an outstanding start to the ERWFL Premier having played five league games, winning them all and standing two points clear at the top from second placed Royston Town, who have played two games more. This is Harriet’s first experience of tier five football, which leaves her perfectly placed to outline the quality of the division.
“The level of football is definitely a step up to where I have played before but I am thoroughly enjoying the challenge. We have now played five games and come away with 15 points which is a great start to our promotion campaign. The competition is high and any team can get all three points if they turn up on the day.
“The expectation is definitely high, but it can only improve me as a player. Since I joined Wroxham, my performance has improved and that is because of the coaching staff and the high standards they have created for the squad.”
Those high standards also include a very strong support network. Despite Harriet being new to the standard of football, she is a valued member of the squad.
“The support from the other players has been monumental and I couldn’t be happier playing alongside such a great group of girls. My confidence levels are definitely still something that I need to work on, but the girls pick me up all of the time. I have recently spent some extra time with a couple of the coaches and another centre back before training to try work on some things that will improve my confidence. I have played for a few teams over the years but it is safe to say the relationship the players have with each other and the coaches is exceptional and there is always support from everyone.
“As far as my personal targets for the season go, I want to continue to improve my confidence and composure on the ball. To do this I am putting in the extra sessions with help from some of my team mates and focusing on the individual areas that I can improve. I want to ensure I’m pushing for my position on the pitch, even more so now as a result of the big squad depth.”
“As far as team targets go, promotion to the FAWNL is the aim. Wroxham have been unlucky in some respects since their formation from their previous guise of Acle United due to the disjointed seasons created by the pandemic. However, we don’t just want success in the league. As far as team targets go, a place in the final of the Norfolk County Cup would be something we set our sights on alongside a good run in the FA Cup.”