Shaw eager to get started

Belles head coach Zoey Shaw is itching to get the new the new season underway as her side take on Blackburn Rovers in the first game of the campaign.

Blackburn romped to the title by ten clear points last season to successfully defend their FA WNL Northern trophy, and Shaw admits her side face a battle in Sunday’s season opener.

She said: “I don’t think the first game could have got any tougher, if I’m honest, but we’ve got to play them at some time.

“We’ll play them and we’ll learn and they will learn off us. We’ll have things to counteract some of the things they’ve got, so bring it on I say.

“Our preparation is going really well. The girls are fully in training now, and over the summer the levels of fitness and the physicality have shot up.

“It’s just about mastering the game because we’ve got a lot of youth in the squad at the moment, so we’re just making the most of our sessions and grabbing every little bit we can. The players have come in for extra sessions and we’re just eager for it to start to be honest.”

Despite being new to the role Shaw is very familiar with much of the current squad, having managed many of them in the development team before making the step up to the first team alongside them for the new campaign.

She said: “It’s no secret when you play us that we’ve got quite a young squad but I think we’ve got a very exciting squad.

“We may not have the depth in age, but what these girls are going to learn this season – not just from us as coaches and a club, but playing in this kind of environment and this league – will be massive for their development.

“If we can progress these girls as much as we can for next season, when we can really really start to establish ourselves, then I think we stand ourselves in good stead.

“I think the excitement for them and the task ahead they’ve got, they’re really really relishing. Individually they’re really up for it, they’re up for every training session, and for some of these girls stepping up from the RTC at 16 or 17 it’s a big step, but they’ve embraced it.

“Whatever we learn this season – as a team, as a club, or individually as players – it’s massive for us.”

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Our 2018/19 season opener against Blackburn Rovers will be played at Rossington Main on Sunday 19th August, 2pm KO.

Tickets will be £3 for adults and £1 for children and can be purchased on the gate.

The ground can be found at Oxford St, Rossington, DN11 0TE. Details on parking at the ground can be found here.

Belles drawn with Chorley in WNL Cup

Doncaster Rovers Belles have been drawn with Chorley FC in the determining  round of the FA WNL Cup.

The game is scheduled to be played on Sunday 2nd September at Rossington Main, 2pm kickoff. Tickets will be available on the gate.

The winner will progress into the round of 32 for the cup, with the losing side filtering off into the FA WNL Plate.

The Belles have appeared in the WNL Cup final on three occasions in 1994, 1996 and 2009, but it remains one of the few trophies missing from our cabinet.

New captain Whittle ready for season

Zoey Shaw has selected Izzy Whittle to take the armband from long-time skipper Leandra Little, while her deputy will be Olivia Cook.

Both players have experienced life in WSL and are hoping to help impart some of the good habits they have picked up onto the rest of the Belles’ new-look squad.

New skipper Whittle said: “We’re looking to continue the standards set by the first team from last year, in everything from starting training, finishing training, media, what we do off the pitch – we’ve been around them and watched what they do and done it ourselves, and we’ll pass that on.

“We really want to grab it with both hands and really give it a good go.”

Vice-captain Cook added: “It’s a great opportunity for us to take on this kind of leadership role.

“A young squad doesn’t necessarily mean a weak squad, and we have a lot of people who are willing to learn in an elite-level setup. We’ve got something to prove this season.”

Despite winning the WSL2 title last year, circumstances off the pitch mean this will be the Belles’ first season playing in the Women’s National League, and both players confirmed they are raring to go as the club takes on a brand new challenge.

Whittle said: “It’s going to be a tough league, with the likes of Sunderland and Sheffield taking the step down alongside us.

“Then you’ve also got some very capable teams already in there like Blackburn, who won it last year.

“So it’s going to be a challenge, but it’s one we’re all looking forward to. There’s a really positive mentality from top to bottom at the Belles, and a big part of that is that we don’t shy away from a challenge.

“We’ve got a very young squad so it’s going to be a steep learning curve for a lot of them, but that’s how you improve and it’s really positive to see younger players getting a chance to play competitive football.”

The Belles first game of the new season will be against reigning champions Blackburn Rovers, who won the Women’s National League Northern by ten clear points last season, only to lose their playoff against Southern champions Charlton Athletic.

That means the Belles are expecting a stern test against the Lancashire outfit, but Cook said: “It’s better to start with the biggest challenge first and see where you’re at.”

Whittle echoed that sentiment, saying: “It’s a team to compare ourselves to, isn’t it, because they were unlucky not to move up a league last year.”

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Our 2018/19 season opener against Blackburn Rovers will be played at Rossington Main on Sunday 19th August, 2pm KO.

Tickets will be £3 for adults and £1 for children and can be purchased on the gate.

2018/19 squad announcement

Head Coach Zoey Shaw has unveiled the Doncaster Rovers Belles first team squad for the 2018/19 season.

The new-look squad will be led by new captain Izzy Whittle, while Olivia Cook will serve as Whittle’s deputy.

Shaw said: “We have a long history of giving chances to young players and we’re proud to continue that as we go into our 50th year celebrations.

“All the staff and squad are really excited the start the new season. It doesn’t get much tougher than going up against Blackburn for our opening game, but we’ll get an instant indication of where the bar has been set in this division.”

Playing squad

Captain: Izzy Whittle
Vice-captain: Olivia Cook
Sheldon Ashton
Emily Batty
Zoe Belding
Chloe Bethell
Emily Burgin
Emily Cahill
Holly Dodsworth
Ashleigh Edwards
Chloe Gray
Aimee Hickingbotham
Nadia Khan
Georgia Marshall
Ellie Parkin
Lois Scholefield
Kirsty Smith
Imani Todman
Isabella Travillion
Abby Watkinson
Issy Williams

Staff

Zoey Shaw
Sally Needham
Amy Buxton
Julie Chipchase
Luke Gray

Belles launch new website

As you may have noticed, we have had a bit of a refresh here at doncasterroversbelles.co.uk!

Our makeover is faster, easier to navigate and more mobile-friendly than the old site, and we’re excited to start the new season and our 50th year with something fresh.

We’ve also updated our squad section and will be adding new sections throughout the season to make this the true home for everything Donny Belles!

Rossington Main to host opener

Doncaster Rovers Belles are pleased to confirm that our 2018/19 season opener against Blackburn Rovers on Sunday 19th August (2pm kickoff) will be played at Rossington Main.

The ground can be found at Oxford St, Rossington, DN11 0TE. Details on parking at the ground can be found here.

Tickets will be £3 for adults and £1 for children and can be purchased on the gate.

Blackburn are the reigning FA Women’s National League Northern champions, having taken the title by ten clear points last season.

Details on further fixtures will be confirmed in due course.