Wetherby Ladies secured promotion to the North East Regional Women’s Premier Division with a final day draw against league rivals Farsley.
Wetherby went into the match knowing that they only needed a point to win the league outright, rather than beat Farsley to the title on goal difference.
The afternoon started well, with Wetherby adopting a different formation than usual to try and contain a lively Farsley side. The change in tactics took the sting out of the game, and chances were at a premium, before Wetherby were finally able to break the deadlock, with captain Helen Hartley heading in a cross from full-back Adele Murphy’s corner.
But Farsley, who won the last meeting between the sides 6-1, were not to be denied and equalised before half time.
After the break, Wetherby started brightly, but they were not able to capitalise and Farsley scored to take a 2-1 lead.
The scores were equalised late on however, when League top scorer Debra Slater broke to find herself one-on-one with the ‘keeper, and duly finished the chance, much to the delight of the some 300 spectators at the match.
The 2-2 draw sees Wetherby join teams such as York City and Hull in the Premier division, and Manager Mike Robinson can’t wait to test his team against stern opposition.
“It’s a massive achievement to get promoted and we’re really looking forward to next season, but it’s obviously going to be a lot tougher,” said Robinson.
“We’ve already beaten premier division opposition this year in the cup (a 3-0 victory over Castleford), so we don’t fear anybody.”
Next season will see Wetherby face a number of professional teams, but Robinson is confident his side can compete with the big names.
“Clubs like Hull have a lot of money and they’re backed up by some massive clubs, and a lot of the players are paid to play.
“It’s a massive achievement for our team to be competing with them, and we hope to finish in mid-table and consolidate our position in the league.”
The 2-2 draw saw Debra Slater score her 26th goal of the season, and Robinson is all too aware of how rare a talent she is.
“Every team needs a goalscorer, and they’re really hard to come by, so we’re very fortunate to have Debra.
“She loves playing for Wetherby, and has turned down offers from Bradford and Huddersfield to sign for us again.”
Wetherby Chairman Angus Taylor praised the side, saying: “They have created this all for themselves with the hard work they’ve put in over many years and the total commitment and passion that they show. They are a real credit to the club and we are all so proud of them.”