AFTER an unbeaten start to the season, Chester FC's Women's Under-18s have been handed a further boost with a £350 donation.

The side, who are made up of 15 and 16-year-olds, are part of a Blues football renaissance with the club mounting a comeback with its first team in the mix at the top of the National League North and the women's teams flying in their leagues.

Now, food wholesaler Harlech Foodservice, who have established a regional office and distribution hub in Chester as they expand across Cheshire and North East Wales, have provided the money as the girls look to continue their strong start.

The Under-18s are top of the Cheshire Women’s Youth League in their first season and draw players from around Chester and into North Wales and although they’re younger than most of their opponents they’re giving nothing away in skills and spirit, according to joint coach Rob Lawton who runs the team with Bryson Kelso.

He said: "We needed to bridge the gap between the junior football the girls were playing before and the senior league where they could be coming up against women twice their age.

Chester and District Standard: Top of the league Chester Women Under-18s in training at Helsby Sports Centre.Top of the league Chester Women Under-18s in training at Helsby Sports Centre. (Image: Harlech Foodservices)

"If you’re only 16 and you’re coming up against women who are aged 35 to 40 then it can be detrimental to your development so we started the Under-18s this season and many of them are also getting experience with the Development side which feeds into the Chester Women side in Division One South of the North West Women's League.

"Because of the numbers of girls we had coming through we needed a pathway for them to develop but already a number of them are training with the Development team who were promoted last year.

Bryson added: "The women’s game is developing so quickly now and the Under-18s train in Helsby on a high quality all-weather 3G pitch while we play our matches at the King George V Sports Hub in Chester so the facilities are top class.

"Girls are starting to play at four or five years old and when they come through they’re going to be at another level but the squad we have here in the Under-18s is a really talented group.

"They play a four-three-three and they’re scoring lots of goals and playing really good football – about four or five of them are in double figures for goals already."

One of those is left-sided striker Erin Parr, 15, from Tarvin, who said: "I played for boys teams for a while but it didn’t work out and I wanted a better standard so I tried it here four years ago and it’s been great.

"The coaching is really good and the set-up is great. I’m really happy and want to progress through to the Development squad."

Another 15-year-old, Kesley Blackwell, from Flint, plays in central midfield and joined the club at the start of the season from Wrexham.

"I had heard that Chester were doing well with a good side and I’ve really enjoyed it. We’ve made a good start and we’re playing good football - we’ve just got to keep it going now," she said.

David Roberts, Harlech’s Key Account Manager for Education, who lives near Chester, has been impressed with the Under-18s side.

He said: "It’s brilliant that we’re able to support grass roots sport like this but there’s nothing amateur about the approach here.

"They’re a very talented group and I’m sure we will be hearing more of some of them in the future as the women’s game continues to grow and we’re just glad to be able to help them along the way."

Harlech Managing Director David Cattrall said: "In the past 50 years we have grown from small beginnings into a major North Wales company with bases in Criccieth and Chester and we couldn’t have done that without the support of our loyal customers across the region.

"Chester FC Women are clearly a well-established and deserving sports club and this is our way of saying thank you to the people of that community by sharing in our success and putting something back into an area which has supported us and where we have an important base.

"We have had a fantastic response to our setting up of the charity fund and over the coming months we will be looking at the applications we have had and deciding how we can best share out the £10,000."

Further information on Harlech Foodservices can be found at: