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SWF Championship North: Buchan Ladies coach Mark Forbes takes positives from campaign

Buchan Ladies FC. Picture by Kim Cessford.
Buchan Ladies FC. Picture by Kim Cessford.

Buchan Ladies coach Mark Forbes believes they proved they can give any team ‘a good game’ but admits they struggled for consistency in SWF Championship North.

It wasn’t an ideal start to the season as Buchan lost the first four games, but a 9-0 win against Dundee City West in October boosted their prospects.

That victory was one of three on the bounce, including an impressive win 4-1 against East Fife – who eventually finished in second and are in the running for promotion to SWPL 2.

Buchan finished the season with seven wins and, despite a tough run of defeats at the end of the campaign, the Peterhead outfit finished Championship North in fifth place.

Forbes reckons the home win against a tough East Fife side was their best win and performance of the season.

He said: “That was a good result and a really good performance.

“It was a horrible day – howling gale and lashing rain, but we played really well that day.

“It was probably our best performance of the season.”

A win against East Fife proved they can compete against some of the best teams in the league, but Forbes admits it’s difficult to maintain that standard without squad depth.

Buchan struggled with player availability due to other commitments and injuries, which affected performances in the league.

“It’s been a hard season, coming back from Covid and lockdown. Fitness wasn’t what it was and players were picking up niggling injuries,” he explained.

“On our day, if everyone is available, we can give any team a good game. But consistency is the thing you need at this level.

“And we can’t really attract players like some of the rest of the teams in the league. We rely on local players looking for a team or young ones coming through the ranks.”

A new look to the SWF Championship?

Scottish women’s football will look different next season with SWPL teams moving under the SPFL banner, while the SWF Championship looks set to change.

It’ll be the second time in two full seasons the third-tier has been restructured, and has left clubs like Buchan unsure of what the future might look like.

The SWF Championship is currently split into two regional leagues, North and South, with the North section including teams from as north as Inverness and down to Fife.

Forbes said of the possible changes: “If it was to go to a national league, rather than regional, it’s going to be a big strain on clubs like us.

“You’d be looking at trips down to Glasgow and Edinburgh every second weekend. I don’t know how that would go, because it’s obviously more costly.

“I don’t want to sound negative, but it’s just all up in the air.”

However, no matter what happens next season, Forbes insists Buchan will still have a competitive women’s team.

Buchan Ladies in Championship North action against Montrose Women at Links Park.

The club currently has two squads, the one that played in Championship North, and a development team who play in the SWFL North/East.

“We’re definitely going to have at least one ladies team next season,” Forbes said. “It’s just if we commit to having the two – and that’s all just going to depend on numbers.”

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