Category: Features

buckland athletic girls under-13 under-11

Buckland Girls Under 11s Join the BALFC Family

We are excited to announce that we have expanded again – this time our junior girls section.

Following on from the success of the Under 12s last season, winning the league at the first time of asking, we have entered an Under 11s team into the Devon Girls Football League.

The girls have already started weekly training in preparation for the coming season and we are really excited to be able to offer them a great environment in which to play football, develop skills and make friends while being part of a progressive club where developing players is at the forefront of our philosophy.

We look forward to seeing how they progress over the season.

buckland athletic girls under-13 under-11

Buckland Girls Under-13s Team

Our first junior girls’ side had a fantastic 2016/2017 season – winning the league on their first attempt, without losing a game.

The girls first success was in July last year when they won SB Frankfort’s pre-season tournament.

When the league started they continued this success, week in week out, concluding with a 2-1 win against Millwey Rise to win the Under-12s league.

However, the season didn’t end there and the girls were invited to attend the National Championships in Nottingham. Here they played against all the UK’s league winners, doing amazingly well, only losing one game.

This season brings new challenges for the Under-13s, with larger goals and a 9v9 format but they are determined to attack this with the determination and passion that the showed last year.

As a club, we want to offer the girls a great environment in which to play football and develop their skills. We are looking for girls aged 11 and 12 to join our family fun football club – giving them opportunities to play, make friends and be part of a great progressive club where developing players is at the forefront of our philosophy.

For further details contact Grant Fisher – or Dean Mitchell –

buckland lfc v bristol city lfc

Buckland Prepare for Big Bristol Challenge

Bristol City WFC play in the highest tier of ladies’ football – the Women’s Super League – and on Sunday 13th August (KO 1pm) they will be at Homers Heath for Buckland LFC’s biggest pre-season challenge to date.

Boasting a squad containing a number of England youth players, Bristol City will be taking on the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City when the WS1 kicks off in September.

For just £2, you can see them in South Devon and collect a souvenir programme to mark what will be a special occasion for all concerned.

buckland under 12s

Buckland Under-12s Seal Title in Debut Season

This day will go down forever as a history-making day as Buckland Under-12s followed in the footsteps of the ladies’ first team last season – being our first junior girls’ side and winning the league on their first attempt. Great credit must go to Joe and Dean for doing a fantastic job with the girls.

These girls, in their first ever season together, put on a great display to beat a very good Millwey Rise team 2-1. The game really was a keenly-fought battle with the top two sides battling away to win the game.

This game was a great credit to both teams with no doubt the conditions playing a huge part in the game. However, Buckland took the advantage when Cicely Downs powered forward and drove the ball into the top corner.

Millwey Rise responded quickly with a free-kick which sailed in, quickly returning the game to a level playing field. A game played with real fight and passion from both sides ended when some wonderful first-time passing resulted in Taylor Ford hitting the final blow with a fine finish and what proved to be the winning goal.

I must say a huge thank you to Dean and Joe who have coached the girls; the parents, who have been a tremendous support and outstanding all season, and, last but not least, the girls who have proven today the talent in our area. There are future players that can be developed and hopefully this is the start of the future of this football club.

Thank you to our sponsors GB Confectionary, MacWhirter Air Conditioning and Teign Housing for kitting the girls out and making them look highly professional: the future is bright the future is yellow.


Grant Fisher

maria warman

New Year Special Feature 4/4: Why Join BALFC? A Skipper’s Perspective

 Described as a ‘high tempo midfielder, full of energy who will run for 90 minutes and beyond,’ Maria Warman (pictured) arrived at Buckland Athletic part-way through last season and now captains the side. Having enjoyed playing football since Primary school, Warman recommends giving the sport a go:
“It teaches you to work in a team, it teaches you to talk to one another, it helps your confidence and obviously keeps you fit,” she said.
“Most of my friends that I used to play football with at school ask me why I still play but I genuinely love it. It keeps me fit, it keeps me active, the social aspect of it is great; it’s just something that I can’t imagine not doing.”
As mentioned in yesterday’s article, Warman is supportive of the club’s plans to develop its own players in the long-term by adding more girls’ teams to the existing set-up.
“You can start at Under-12s and progress all the way up. From 16 you’ll be able to play ladies football and we’re going to be pushing up to try and play higher level football.
“Come along! You’ll make friends. I’ve got friends here for life and it just becomes a massive part of your life. If you’re interested in sport and you like football come to Buckland!”
Of course, starting something new is always a big step to take, particularly if you have had bad experiences in the past. Warman has some advice for women and girls who may be lacking a bit of confidence about their abilities:
“The first thing is to try and forget that feeling,” she says. “Don’t come in with a negative mindset. Try and just come in and think this is something new and I’m going to give it a go and go from there.
“You can’t help it if you have bad experiences but there’s always a way around it. If you do have a bad experience you need to speak to someone and then you try and find a way to resolve it.”
Some girls may have experienced discrimination when training with boys and this is something that Warman can definitely relate to:
“I used to go to tournaments and I was the only girl playing in a boy’s football team,” she said. “I did find it difficult at times but then they saw that I could play football. I just think we’ve still got two feet and two legs, just like a boy does.
“The main thing is not to go in thinking, ‘I’m not going to enjoy it,’ or, ‘they’re going to pick on me.’ Go in with a fresh mind to try and enjoy it because that’s the bottom line; you have to enjoy what you’re doing. I wouldn’t play football if I didn’t enjoy it so that’s probably my best advice.”
Some women may have been put off in the past by the enduring attitude that football is a men’s game but according to Warman that viewpoint has changed a lot in recent years.
“I’ve always said that I wanted to change the perspective that a lot of people have that girls can’t play football but really that has probably changed a lot in the last year,” she revealed. “Since I’ve been playing that is slowly going. We get some of the men watch us here. We go out and play for the first team and we get a lot of support from them. Me and my sister (Natalie) play five-a-side tournaments with men and sometimes you can see them at first thinking, ‘oh, it’s two girls.’ But when we start playing they realise we can play football.
“It’s never going to be quite like men’s. Men are built differently and their aggression is different but that doesn’t mean to say that we can’t play and we can’t put on a good performance like a men’s team can.
“It’s good that women have finally got professional teams; they’re finally having full time jobs as professional footballers. That was the turning point and that’s what we still want to try and push.”
On a community level, the team were given a boost when they scooped the Senior Team of the Year award in December’s Teignbridge Sports Awards, an accolade presented ‘in recognition of a team who have achieved local, regional, national or international success within their sport.’ Warman has noticed the growing recognition when out and about and also in terms of match attendances:
“I think a lot of people know who we are. Someone approached me the other day and said, ‘you play for Buckland!’
“We had a game up here and I think we had a really good turnout, maybe 150 people. We’re playing Argyle in January which we’re hoping will fill up as well so it’s just getting the recognition, getting the support of the community behind us, really trying to drive and get to a place where Buckland Ladies have never got before.
“We’re the start of a club so we’re setting a precedent for all the girls that are going to come up after us in the years. Hopefully they can keep pushing the club forward.”
Everything is certainly heading in the right direction on the pitch, with Buckland Athletic LFC looking to make it ten out of ten in the league next Sunday as they travel to Plymouth side Activate.
“We had quite a few players who joined us in the summer from a very good standard of football and to attract those sorts of players was special for us,” said Grant Fisher, manager and head of ladies and girls football at Buckland. “But they have become a team and gelled superbly and we have become very, very strong. The team spirit and the club spirit is something that I’ve never had anywhere else since I’ve played football. It’s special and it keeps all the girls involved and they want to play for the football club which is the biggest thing for us.”
If you are a girl or woman looking to try something new in 2017 and want to find more about the set up at BALFC contact Grant Fisher on 07533 861064 or email

laura gough buckland ladies

New Year Special Feature 3/4: Dreaming Big at Buckland LFC

 With Buckland Athletic LFC sitting comfortably at the top of the South West Women’s League Western Division and almost certain to be promoted to join Torquay United in the Premier Division next season, the Yellows are yet to find their level.

Main picture: Leading goalscorer Laura Gough on the ball in Buckland’s 6-1 victory over Plympton Ladies on 18th December. (c)

The next step up would be the Women’s Premier League South West Division One and they have already had a taste of competition at that level with their FA Cup and County Cup ties against Keynsham Town and Exeter City respectively, the first ending in narrow defeat, the second seeing Buckland make it through to the semi-finals (where they will play another Premier League side – Plymouth Argyle – on 22nd January).
So how far could Buckland Ladies ultimately get. Fisher’s ambitions are about as lofty as they get:
“The dream for the team and the football club is that we get to the top and become a Women’s Super League side,” Fisher revealed. ” People laugh and doubt it but with the facilities we have at this club, the backing we have from the committee and the various sponsors we have there is no reason why we can’t become a very, very good established side in the women’s football pyramid. Doing it week in, week out will be our hardest task but our real ambition is to strive to be the best and to get into that Super League.”
To achieve his ultimate dream, Fisher believes that building a pipeline of talent through the club from the youngest age groups right through to the women’s first team is vital. It is something he is endeavouring to bring into Buckland Athletic with the introduction of two more junior sides next season to complement the existing Under-12 girls’ team.
“It’s about us giving a progression to girls right the way through to ladies,” explained Fisher. “I think there’s fabulous players in Devon across the whole of Devon. You look at Plymouth Argyle at the moment, they’re doing well in their league; Torquay have got a side; Exeter have got a side; Plympton have got a side. What I fail to see is progression from youngsters right the way through to adult ladies football and that’s what we want to provide.
“It’s not about necessarily having the best talent always but we want a team culture, give the girls great coaching and try and progress players into our first team. Part of the dream is that we create our own players every season. I struggle to find teams that progress their own players; they take from here and take from there but we want to try and change that to make it that they join us at ten and they finish with us at 40.
“That is again part of the big dream and the big picture.”
First team captain Maria Warman is also convinced that building such a progression is the way forward.
“I think it’s massive because we have some girls in their thirties and they’re not going to be playing forever and they know that. They’re brilliant players and they’re experienced so you need those younger girls coming up, playing with those older girls, absorbing that experience, watching them, envying them and wanting to be like them.
“I think the earlier on you get that, the better player you are going to be in the long run because you’re learning from such a young age and you can absorb it all and take that into your later years. Over the years it will build a really firm, strong core of players.
“On the development side, we’ve had a few girls that have come up and played with us and the younger girls train before us and we get to stay and watch them. So for a club, if you’re going to keep going and keep expanding, especially if you want to move forward, development really is one of the key things. If you don’t have that the team falls apart really doesn’t it? If you lose those experienced players and you’ve got nothing to back them up with you end up falling because you can’t even pull 11 girls together to play football so it’s huge.”
The men’s team, with three adult sides and numerous junior teams, are already reaping the results of such club progression and by building a similar structure into the women’s set-up Fisher is hoping the club can benefit from the growth in the women’s game.
“There is no doubting women’s football has come on in leaps and bounds,” re-iterated Fisher. “Every season women are becoming better, stronger and more physical and I think that’s shown in the women’s game with England doing really well.
“I think in time as more money comes into it and teams have better facilities, better organisation, strength and conditioning coaches, etc., they will get better as we’ve seen in the Super League with Man City and teams like that; it’s a real professional set up now and that’s all for the better of women’s football.”

buckland ladies v plympton ladies

New Year Special Feature 2/4: BAFC: Playing Under One Badge

Buckland Athletic are, of course, not the only Devon side to have a ladies side but the way they have burst on to the scene has attracted keen interest. To recap, Buckland Ladies were promoted twice in their first season owing to their incredible record. By the end of 2015/16, having won the league cup and all ten of their league games in the Devon Women’s Football League Division One, amassing a goal difference of over 150, they were spared the duty of competing in the Premier Division of that league and put straight into the South West Women’s League Western Division.

This season, they have strengthened further with the addition of players from Exeter City and Torquay United and are once again taking the league by storm, sitting at the top with eight wins out of eight including some cricket scores against the likes of Illogan and Exeter and Tedburn. They are also in the semi-finals of both the league cup and County Cup with the latter being played at Homers Heath on 22nd January against Plymouth Argyle.
As for the men’s first team, they have established themselves as South Devon’s second club behind Torquay United, regularly pushing for promotion to the Southern League in recent seasons. This season they are currently enjoying a seven game winning streak and are poised for another attempt at promotion under new manager Ellis Laight. Their reserve team currently lead the South Devon Football League and there is also a third team in the SDFL Division One and numerous youth teams feeding into those.
In charge of the ladies and girls set up is first team goalkeeper Grant Fisher who also manages the ladies first team:
“We start with the Ladies’ first team which obviously is at the pinnacle; we then have a Development side for ladies which play in the Devon Women’s Premier League and then we have an Under-12s who play in the Devon Girls’ football league,” Fisher explained. “That’s the current structure of the club with the introduction of another two junior sides for next season.”
In preparation for the Southern League, Buckland Athletic have recently added a new stand to their Homers Heath ground, complementing the enviable facilities they have on the outskirts of Newton Abbot. The main pitch is used by both the men’s first and reserve sides and also the ladies first team which, according to Fisher, has been a big factor in attracting the quality players that are strengthening his teams.
“This football club has been unbelievably supportive of what we’re doing,” enthused Fisher. “They have never had a qualm or a problem with us using the pitch. Having our home pitch at Homers Heath is our brand. This is our football club and the committee and all the men’s senior players and ladies have all bought into the fact that we wear the same badge and it’s really helped us to attract players. With the fantastic facilities we have it’s given us a real platform to build off of.
“I can never speak highly enough of this football club because they’re backing us 100 per cent to keep pushing and they give us everything they can for us to be successful. They’re pushing us as much as me and the ladies and that really shows on and off the pitch.”
Ladies first team captain Maria Warman echoed Fisher’s sentiments:
“I joined mid-way through last season and one of the biggest things was the support from the whole club itself,” said Warman. “I’ve played at other teams before with men and it was very much, ‘there’s your ladies team, there’s your men’s team’ – keep them separate. Here it’s very interlinked: the guys behind the bar, the chairman, they all come and watch and support us and the men ask about us.
“As a ladies team, a lot of us have played football with each other before so we had the base of a supportive side. We’ve had girls coming from Exeter and a few girls from Plainmoor and other local teams and they’ve just slotted straight in.
“It’s probably the best team that I’ve played for before where everyone just gets on really well and I think that shows in the football that we play because everyone is relaxed.”
“I can never stress enough how thankful we are to the football club and for what they have provided for us,” added Fisher. “It is special and it is unique and a lot of ladies clubs would probably give an arm to have something like this.”

hayley chamberlain buckland lfc

New Year Special Feature 1/4: Ladies football: It’s here to stay

 When six soon-to-be former Torquay United Ladies players approached Buckland Athletic goalkeeper Grant Fisher asking for his help to find them or establish a ladies football team he was only too happy to help. What he didn’t foresee was that he would end up head of ladies and girls football at the club as well as managing the side, which would go on to be promoted twice and win the league cup in their first season.

Main picture: Midfielder Hayley Chamberlain on the attack in Buckland’s 6-1 victory over Plympton Ladies on 18th December. (c)

“I came to the football club and said would you be interested in a Ladies side,” explained Fisher prior to his side’s recent home win over Plympton Ladies. “The committee came back and said they would love to have a ladies’ side. At that time, I had no intention of managing it. However, I ended up getting into it and it’s become a massive, massive passion of mine to create something in Devon that’s special and can give girls of all ages and ladies a fantastic football club and platform to build off of.”
So where does Buckland Athletic LFC sit amidst the wider scheme of things? Just as in the men’s game, ladies’ football forms a pyramidal structure. The pinnacle of that pyramid in the domestic game is the FA’s Women’s Super League (FA WSL) which was formed in 2010 and currently takes place over the summer months although this will be changing. The WSL currently contains 19 clubs divided into two divisions with Manchester City the current WSL1 champions with Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool among the other teams competing. The Westcountry, which is of course poorly represented in the men’s pyramid, had a fantastic season with both Yeovil Town and Bristol City promoted from WSL2.
The FA Women’s Premier League is a winter league – as in the men’s game – and is split into a Northern and Southern Division with the winners playing off for the chance to move up to WSL2 (subject to league requirements). Below this level are the regional Division One leagues, including the South West Division One which includes Plymouth Argyle and Exeter City. Buckland Athletic LFC have competed against teams at this level this season, knocking Exeter out of the Devon County Cup and giving one of the title challengers a real battle.
“We’ve battled it out with Keynsham this season in the FA Cup who are two leagues above us and striving to win that league,” explained Fisher. “They beat us in the 86th minute 3-2 and had a bit more quality but actually on the day if you saw the created chances we probably should have won that game.”
The next step beneath is the South West Women’s Football League which, like the South West Peninsula League, is comprised of a Premier Division above an East and West Division. Torquay United Ladies play in the Premier and Buckland Athletic LFC currently lead the Western Division with nine wins out of nine and a plus 48 goal difference.
“We’re currently in the semi-final of the County Cup and we now face Plymouth Argyle here on the 22nd January,” added Fisher. “Alongside that we also introduced a Development side, which now play in the Devon League, and an Under-12s which also play in the Devon Girls’ league. The club has formed and become established a lot quicker than we thought.”
Ladies football has definitely made the headlines recently with the England team’s third place in the 2015 World Cup giving the game a real boost. Yet there are still some people who refuse to see the current focus on the women’s game as nothing more than a passing fad or craze with no long-term potential. Fisher made it perfectly clear where he stands on that debate:
“I think it’s rubbish!
“Women’s football is coming on leaps and bounds, players are becoming better, clubs are investing more money into it at certain levels and it’s attracting major sponsors. We won the Teignbridge Sports Awards this month and we were in there with a host of other sports clubs across the whole of Teignbridge. We came out on top, much to our surprise, because what we have achieved is quite incredible and what we’re going to keep trying to achieve will be even better.
“If people actually want to research it there are many, many clubs, especially at the top level, investing huge money into it now because it’s become more lucrative and it’s becoming something that people want to be involved in. It will keep getting better because women will keep getting better footballers.
“As long as England do well, which they are, and as long as the top clubs in the country are doing well, it will continue to thrive and will catch up with men’s football eventually. It may take ten or 15 years but it’s getting there and from where it was two or three year’s ago – even last year – it’s come on massively.
“So no, it’s not going to be a craze. It will be here forever and it will last forever I’m pretty sure about that.”