Carlisle United Ladies have made a strong start to their new league campaign with two wins from their opening two games. A three two win at Morecambe Ladies Reserves was followed by a seven one victory against Penwortham Town Ladies on Sunday afternoon.
The Lady Cumbrians are back on the road this weekend before returning to action at Creighton on Sunday 30 September when Blackburn Community Women are the visitors.
Ahead of those games United are delighted to report the appointment of the new club captain and vice-captain for the forthcoming season, with Emma Blenkinship taking on the armband. A dedicated United fan and regular traveller with the Route A66 West Cumbrian Supporters’ Travel group on a Saturday afternoon, Blenkinship is known for her exploits on the wing for the Lady Cumbrians on a Sunday and steps up having been vice-captain last season.
The club’s leading appearance-maker last term with 20 starts, Blenkinship picked up five Player of the Match awards to go with her three goals, second County Cup winner’s medal and countless assists. Her efforts earned two end of season awards with the League Player of the Match awards trophy accompanied by the coveted Players’ Player of the Year gong.
Speaking about stepping into her new role, Blenkinship said: “I’ve supported Carlisle United all my life so to be named as club captain for this season is a real honour. We finished last season on a high winning the Women’s County Cup and have started the league campaign with a great pair of wins. It’s a privilege to be able to put on the armband and represent the club in this way and I’m really excited about the season ahead.”
Filling the vacant vice-captain’s role is Ciara Bland, who joined the Club early in 2017 making an immediate impact on the team with two Player of the Match awards in her opening handful of appearances and a Women’s County Cup winner’s medal in her first season.
Originally from east of London, Bland came through the youth ranks at West Ham United Women to the cusp of their first team before making the move north for Uni. The tough-tackling midfielder followed up her debut season with another strong outing last campaign, adding another Women’s County Cup winner’s medal to her collection.
Speaking about being appointed as United’s new vice-captain, Bland said: “I have really enjoyed playing for the club these past two seasons. I feel this will be a big year for us in terms of progression and development and am really looking forward to being a part of that. We have a mixture of newer players and more established players which I think will gel really well making us strong contenders.”
Emma Blenkinship is once again this season sponsored by Route A66 West Cumbrian Supporters’ Travel whilst Ciara Bland is again sponsored by Lorraine & Graham Bland.
After the now traditional curtain-raiser of the Carlisle United Family Fun Day back in July, at which United Ladies players ran a fun speed-shoot activity and posed for pictures with the Women’s County Cup with blues fans, the Lady Cumbrians got back out onto the pitch for the first time this season in the SSE Women’s FA Cup.
Kerri Mallinson hit a brace and Chelsie Browbank was also on the scoresheet in a three one win for United at Workington Reds Ladies in a Qualifying Preliminary Round tie. The blues’ FA Cup journey came to an end in the First Qualifying Round against Bishop Auckland Ladies where, despite a spirited second half fightback, a Blenkinship goal wasn’t quite enough to force extra time in a two one reverse.
The North West Women’s Regional League Division One North season itself then got underway on Sunday 9th September as Tracy Gannon took her charges to Morecambe Ladies Reserves and returned with an opening three points. Gillian McGimpsey, Carly Stevenson and Blenkinship were all on target in a three two victory.
That was followed on Sunday afternoon with a seven one win over Penwortham Town Ladies at Creighton. Stevenson was on target with a hat-trick, Mallinson bagged a brace and Kirsten Shaw and Stacey Harkness-Grant were both also on the scoresheet as United moved up to second in the Division One North table.
The season continues this Sunday with a trip to Preston North End Ladies followed by a home tie against Blackburn Community Women on Sunday 30th. All home games are played at Creighton Rugby Club with 2pm kick-offs and all supporters are welcome to come down and show their support for the Lady Cumbrians.
Don't forget you can also keep right up to date with all of United Ladies’ news throughout the season by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, @cufcladies.