South East Wales

Caerphilly Castle Ladies FC's brave face on 43-0 defeat

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Media captionChairwoman Julie Boyce says the team "deserves a pat on the back"

For a rugby team, a 43-0 defeat would be hard to take: but for a football side it is an absolute hammering.

That, however, is the latest loss suffered by Caerphilly Castle Ladies in the Women's Welsh Premier League.

Sadly, it is not the first time they have been mauled this season, as they have also been on the wrong end of 36-0, 28-0 and 26-0 scorelines.

But the team who have let in 219 goals and scored just one in 10 games say they have no intention of giving up.

A mass walkout of their first team to set up rivals Cwmbran FC over the summer has left the team known as the Castle struggling.

However, chairwoman Julie Boyce, who has come out of retirement to strengthen the side of reserves and youth players, said the team would come back stronger.

She said: "We're putting a brave face on things, but yes it's tough, and if it went on indefinitely, it would threaten the future of the club. But we're about more than the first team."

Today's plight is a far cry from recent years, when the Castle had been a side to be reckoned with.

They finished mid-table in the last two Welsh Premier League seasons, and in 2010 lifted the Welsh League Cup.

This season has been very different. The solitary goal they managed was against Caernarfon Town, who went on to win 14-1.

But despite the Ladies' problems, all their age group teams remain in contention for silverware.

In terms of numbers participating at all levels, Caerphilly Castle rival Cardiff City for the title of biggest women's club in Wales.

Ms Boyce said: "You could argue that we could have done more to help ourselves.

"We could have promoted some of the really talented girls from the under-16s into the first team, and the results would have been nowhere near as embarrassing as they have been.

"But at the start of the season we took the decision that the first team crisis shouldn't be allowed to disrupt the excellent work we're doing at youth level.

"We're taking a long-term view. We're not going to rush girls through just to window dress this season - we'll take our time because we know that in a few years we'll be back bigger and stronger than ever."

Recruitment drive

That places a particular burden on those who are currently taking a hammering on the pitch, she suggested.

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Media captionJulie Boyce from Caerphilly Castle Ladies told Jason Mohammed their spirits were good

She said: "So this current group of girls need to grit their teeth and do a job for the whole club by fulfilling our fixtures, and retaining our Premier League place for the generation of players coming through the system."

But in the meantime, with the women's transfer window closing at the end of March, she has her chairwoman's hat on for a major recruitment drive.

"A lot of the players we've approached have been put off by the results, but I'm urging anyone who's interested to think more about the opportunity we can give them."

"There'll never be a better chance for any aspiring player to compete in the Premier League."

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