THE girls of Corsham AFC took to the pitches at Leafy Lane on Saturday to show off their football skills in front of supporters including Chippenham MP Michelle Donelan and new kit sponsors Redcliffe Homes.

The U12 team joined Corsham’s boys for a mixed game of football to celebrate the growth of the women’s game and its support and the club’s ambitions for the future.

Simon Bray, who has been at the helm of AFC Corsham for the last two years, said: “Unfortunately Chippenham girls were unable to make it but we held a mixed game between the girls and the boys which was thoroughly enjoyable and ended 8-6.

“Michelle came along and watched the whole game despite the weather and handed out some medals after the game and we also had Mandy from Redcliffe Homes, who agreed to sponsor the kit this year.

“When I first started as chairman, we only had a couple of girls playing at the club. I have a 12-year-old daughter now so I was keen to start up a girls’ team and two years later we have about 30 girls from the age of five right up to the age of 12 playing and we want to continue that growth.

“It is very important for us and I believe if you keep that hunger alive and keep them buzzing, they will continue to play. We also had a meeting with Corsham Town Football Club last week who are looking to develop a women’s team in the next two years, so that provides something for the girls to aim for and we certainly have the talent.”

The club, who took the girls to the Women’s FA cup final between Manchester City and Birmingham City in May, has also set its sights on acquiring a new full-size 3G pitch within five years.

“Corsham AFC currently has a quarter size 3G pitch but it needs updating. It is a long process but we want to be where Chippenham and Melksham are today.”

The club, who have met Ms Donelan on a number of occasions, hope that her support will go a long way.

Ms Donelan said: “I was delighted to watch the Corsham young team play an exciting game of football last weekend.

“It is crucial that all sports are as inclusive as possible, especially games like football, which offer great exercise and fun for all.

“Grassroots football is at the heart of our local

communities and it was inspiring to see so many young people and families getting involved.

“I love the inclusive nature of AFC Corsham, they are the blueprint for a local football club.

“The club are looking to improve their facilities and have great plans, so I urge all local businesses and people to get in touch and support if they can.”