What a weekend, what a season and boy how I’ve aged! From being thrashed 9-1 by the Wyrley Pumas on the last game of the 2012/13 season to appearing in the Cup Final against Stoke.  It just shows how well the girls have gelled as a team and knuckled down to the tasks in hand.  Bearing in mind we had our presentation evening the night before the final, I was expecting the girls too be overtired, grumpy and to have the can’t want to’s.  Instead it was just the Gaffer who possessed these qualities!!

Today was the day of reckoning for the Meerkat army and as we all rocked up to Stafford Sports college there was definitely nerves amongst the troops and the parents! Remembering this is the first major event for the majority of the girls!

A full compliment of Meerkats arrived mainly due to Staffs FA allowing 2 of the troop to participate after failing to play in the preliminary round – thanks Staffs FA!

A capacity crowd had travelled the short distance to watch the Meerkats don their tin hats and prepare for war against Stoke Ladies, and a war it was! Previous encounters with Stoke had been close and always a bruising encounter.  Stoke Ladies posses a plethora of tall, physical young ladies as to the Meerkats who tend to don the stature of actual Meerkats.

The gaffer provided a vigorous warm up to the out field players whilst I focused attention on our shot stopper Skye.  We knew that due to the size of the pitch and with a strong wind that the Stokey’s would be peppering her goal at every opportunity, so we ensured that she was well practiced! The gaffer gave his starting line up with Skye, Ellie, Millie, Faith, Erin, Eloise and Chloe being the magnificent 7 supported with Abbie, Melissa, Sophie and Katy on the sideline.  The prematch speech was drilled home at every opportunity “No guts, No Glory” – the message definitely struck a chord as the girls were on it as soon as the whistle touched the ref’s lips.  All Meerkats performed out of their skins! No-one shirked from the physical battle that ensued, even the little ones got stuck in! Absolutely marvellous to witness. We ran the Stokeys ragged during the first half, with the majority of possession being played deep in their territory.  Shots from Erin, Eloise and Chloe fizzled past the upright – there was ooohs and ahhhh’s from the Meerkat Cheerleaders, the tension was unbearable! The Enforcer and Stonewall were standing proud at the back and snuffed out every Stokey attack.  This left the Stokey’s with only one option – to punt a long ball to try and catch Skye out! Skye was aware she had the ‘eye of the tiger’ and caught, kicked and saved every attempt made on her goal. The General and The Engine were working hard to force the play and to try and play the decisive ball through to Chloe ‘Sonic’ Venables. A sortie into the the Stokey’s half resulted in a throw in to which Millie ‘Stonewall’ hurled towards the goal, Chloe attempted to poke the ball home but the onrushing keeper landed on the ball and it squirted underneath her body and over the line.  Pandemonium ensued on the side lines and on the pitch with both parents and players going nuts – pitch stewards had to clear the pitch from the onrushing fans.  Katy switched with Chloe shortly before the break for half time in a view to quickly recharge her batteries for another bout in the second half.

The half time message was clear – one goal was not enough! We needed to apply more pressure in a view to sneak another goal.  The gaffer made some changes bringing Abbie on for Millie, Melissa for Faith and Chloe for Katy. The game restarted to a wall of noise from the Meerkat Cheerleaders and the girls set out in the same vain as the first half.  Melissa ‘Mini’ Cooper was using her size and excessive speed to terrorise the Stoke defence. She managed to beat her opponent on several occasions to either deliver a quality cross or a crack at the goal.  Sonic was in the midst of being marked by 2 Stoke defenders who were using their physical presence to try and effect the play.  Chloe maybe fast but she’s also strong as an Ox and gave them both a taster of the Meerkat makeup! The Stokey’s were piling the pressure onto the Meerkats and the territory was being lost.  The tin hats were donned and they dug deep to prevent the attacks from threatening the goal. Sophie switched with Ellie and Melissa switched with Lauren both of which contributed 100% to the cause! The end of the game was nigh and the Stokey’s made one final attempt to sneak an equaliser.  A low hard shot was driven like an Exocet missile pinpointing toward the inside of the post. However, Skye leapt like a Salmon to fingertip the ball around the post! This was a magnificent save that certainly kept the girls in the game and consequently ensured that the Meerkats won the game.

The final whistle sounded to raptures from all fans, players and officials.  The Meerkats were Cup winners!!!

The girls played respect to Stoke whilst they collected their League runners up trophies and waited in anticipation for their welcome party.

The girls collected their winners trophies leaving the General to take receipt of the Cup. As it was lifted it was greeted with applause from an ecstatic crowd. Champagne (schloer) was flowing with the corks hitting a few innocent bi-standers – the risk assessment failed to identify this potential outcome – note to self!!  The girls used their trophies as goblets to toast their success!!

I wont dampen the report with any negatives, instead I’ll inform you of these on Tuesday night.

No girl of the match or parents player was awarded as we had a team of winners!!  Well done the Mighty Meerkats!!!






1 comment for this article:
  1. avatar
    Keith Hardy (Chairman)

    Super stuff – well done Meerkats!

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