By Darrell Allen with contributions from Stuart Terry (12/4/22)
Above: Thetford Town interim captain Melissa Boulton (left) presents Beccles Town captain Lola Barber-King with a bouquet of flowers for her teammate Mae who suffered a serious injury in February. Photo: Hannah Parnell.
A warm afternoon greeted Thetford Town and Beccles Town on Sunday afternoon for their Norfolk Women and Girls’ League Division One fixture.
Before the game Thetford interim captain Melissa Boulton presented a bouquet of flowers to her Beccles counterpart Lola Barber-King for the Beccles player Mae who was seriously injured in a road traffic accident in February and Thetford also donated £180 to Mae and her family following a club collection at the men’s and women’s games over the weekend.
Thetford were boosted before kick-off by the news that Becky Russell their dual signing from Wroxham was available for late selection after Wroxham’s game was postponed. Becky was named as one of Thetford substitutes but would later play a significant key role for David Skipp’s team at the heart of the Thetford defence.
The first 10 minutes saw an even contest before Thetford broke the deadlock on 14 minutes thanks to a delightful through ball by Abbie Corbyn that gave Chelsea Page the chance to round the keeper and give Thetford a one-nil lead.
Thetford went on to dominate the game but a number of chances were missed before a deep cross by Boulton gave Hannah Claughton the chance to score her first goal for the club and a few minutes later Claughton made it a personal brace and a 3-0 lead for Thetford from a delightful three-player move that Claughton calmly slotted into the back of the net.
The second half started much the same as the first ended with Thetford pushing and probing at the Beccles defence and the inspirational and super talented Abbie Corbyn was at the heart of most of Thetford’s moves.
The super wing play of Boulton was causing all sorts of problems and Claughton completed a hat-trick with a delightful 20-yard lob over the keeper to round off a comfortable 4-0 win for Thetford.
The only downside of a very good Thetford performance was an injury to Boulton who was carried from the pitch in the 64th minute.
Abbie Corbyn showed why she is so highly regarded with another great performance that won her the player of the match award.
With six fixtures to go before the end of the season, a top-four finish is still very much an achievable target for David Skipp’s talented squad.
NWGFL Division One Round-up
In the day’s other fixtures, leaders Mulbarton Belles made it 17 wins from 17 thanks to a 2-0 victory at Long Stratton. Goals from Sophie Jermy and Lucy Lincoln gave Martin Francis’ team all three points and leaving them only needing a draw at Thetford Town on Easter Sunday to secure the title.
Second place Fakenham Town ran out 9-0 winners at home to North Walsham thanks to a hat trick from Sophie Lubbock, a brace each from Olivia Barker and Aimee Hutchinson, and a goal each from Shelley Woods and Megan Spurrell.
Third place Dussindale and Hellesdon Rovers fresh from reaching the NWGFL Plate Cup Final with a 5-2 win over Sprowston, this time travelled to Sprowston on Sunday and ran out 3-0 winners thanks to goals from Shanice Sutton, captain Calista Tink, and Tallulah Bell. An important three points as they keep up the pressure on second place Fakenham.
NWGFL Division Two Round-Up:
Third-placed King’s Lynn Soccer Club went level on points with second place UEA with a fine 6-1 win at Freethorpe. King’s Lynn’s goals came from Jordan Turner (hat-trick), Kersey Ramm, Sophie McNeill and Viktorija Burkauskaite.
In the day’s only other game fourth place Gorleston ran out 9-1 winners over Horsford thanks to four goals from Rebecca Waters and other strikes from Sienna Saunders, Mariana Lino, Hannah Halfnight, Megan Bartlett, and Kelsi Adams.