Heartbreak as Beccles Ladies miss out on Wembley dream at final hurdle
- Credit: BT Sport
Beccles Ladies have done their town proud, despite their Wembley dream falling agonisingly short, according to their manager.
The team took part in the BT Sport Pub Cup on Sunday, travelling to Buckinghamshire for a series of seven-a-side games with their eyes set on the prize of a grand final below that famous arch.
They finished runners-up in their group after starting the day with a 2-0 win over Longman of Wilmington, then a 1-0 defeat to David Lloyd, before qualifying for the next round with a 0-0 draw against The Bedford.
The semi-final saw local opposition against Dereham's Railway Tavern, who play a division above the Beccles side and finished top of their group earlier in the day with three wins from three games.
After another 0-0 draw, Beccles Ladies progressed to the final of the Bisham Abbey heat following a 3-2 penalty shoot-out win.
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The final pitted the team against Golden Hind, the team beaten in the grand final in 2019, with the Birmingham-based side emerging 3-0 victors.
Manager Alan Runnacles said: "We might have lost 3-0 but when you put it into perspective, we were playing a team two levels above us in the football pyramid.
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"It was like Ipswich playing Manchester United but I'm still gutted we didn't win.
"Beating a team like Dereham in the semi-finals was very pleasing though and everything was very positive on the day.
"I'm extremely proud of the team."
The team, who play in Division Two of the Norfolk Women and Girls League, were top of the table when the pandemic struck.
Their season was scrapped, and they began the 2020/21 campaign with similar success, and the same outcome, with many of the team seeing limited game time over the last two years.
Mr Runnacles said: "We had girls playing their first game for two years, including Poppy Wilson who came back from an ACL reconstruction.
"To have her back for the new season is a great boost, and the rest of the team proved themselves more than able to compete at this level."
The team will next be in action on Sunday, taking part in the Beccles Hospital Cup on College Meadow at 11am, with all money raised going towards Beccles Hospital and the Teenage Cancer Trust.