This campaign was one of transition for the Ilkley Women’s first team as Claire Armstrong oversaw her first full season in charge of her side, and they enjoyed a successful campaign in the top half of the table, writes Evan Seaman.
Armstrong’s side has now achieved an impressive two consecutive top four finishes in the West Riding County Women’s Football League so will be looking to build on their consolidation and push on next season.
Armstrong emphasizes how she is “So pleased with our season. The standard in women’s football is forever increasing, and the players have performed admirably in a tough league”.
The 2022/23 season had many milestones for the Ilkley women, but one of them was undoubtedly that for the first time in the club’s history they had three of their players in the top 10 goal scorers list.
Mille Washington and Isabelle Armstrong led the way with 15 goals each and they were shortly followed by Eva Curran on 11 goals.
They also managed to improve their record from the previous season, as they picked up 11 wins and achieved a 61%-win ratio.
And the victories weren’t boring 1-0 wins either, as they were able to score a staggering 55 goals in just 18 games which highlights their exciting philosophy of playing attacking football.
Armstrong goes into more detail about their philosophy here, “My philosophy first and foremost is to create a positive and nurturing environment for my players. The return is that the players are more responsive to their coaching and continue to improve individually and collectively”.
One of the highlights was when they comfortably beat Hall Green United 8-0 on the 26th of March 2023. It was an all-round good performance as they had four different goal scorers- four from Curran, two from Washington, and Armstrong and Chloe Hodge also got on the scoresheet.
The Baht’atters had an outstanding away record, winning seven games out of nine attempts and scoring 31 goals on the road in the process.
Ilkley women finished the season very strongly as they won five out of their last six matches which puts them in good stead for the upcoming campaign.
But Armstrong does not want them to rest on their laurels, as she says, “I’m keen to keep pushing on and progress with the longer-term aim to ultimately align with our Men’s team at semi profession level”.
Overall, the Ilkley Women had a positive season, and as they are one of the youngest teams in the division, they are sure to improve as they progress in the future.
Armstrong is also setting up an exciting new project for the new season, “To keep offering football for all females I’m looking to start a development team this coming season to ensure players of all ability have an opportunity to play football at Ilkley Town”.