Cirencester Town Ladies’ Helen Tuckwell says the 2023/24 season has been an enjoyable one both on and off the field, following their near perfect start to the campaign.
At the halfway point of the season, Ciren have only played seven league games and have been victorious on every occasion – with their only defeat coming in the Women’s FA Cup at the hands of Gloucester City.
Speaking to Severn Sport, Tuckwell says that whilst the season has been a joy to behold – it hasn’t come as a total shock to her.
“On and off the pitch, this season has been very enjoyable – winning always makes things feel sweeter, so there is a very good vibe around the squad.
We recruited intelligently before the start of the season, which has given us greater strength and depth in our squad.
We trust each other and now have players in all areas of the pitch that can change the game for us!” Tuckwell said.
“The start hasn’t been surprising, but equally it was not expected as we just focus on each game as it comes.
I watched from the sidelines as we won the last consecutive eight league games last season and went on to finish as the highest scorers in Division Two, so to hit the ground running in Division One and win our opening seven games is a fantastic achievement for the club.
Our last loss in the league was against Whitchurch in December 2022, so the victory against them in our final game of 2023 to stay top at Christmas felt good!” Tuckwell added.
This season has been a memorable one already for Tuckwell, as she made her return to football after suffering a freak long-term injury nearly two years ago, which saw her lose feeling in the nerves in her left leg.
Despite suffering the injury, Tuckwell has remained an avid supporter of her teammates and admits that their support of her makes her appreciate her return to playing even more.
“The last 19 months has been a journey that I never anticipated being on,” admitted Tuckwell. “Staying involved with the club has played a significant part in my recovery and just to be included in the game day squad makes me smile.
Being given game time and playing alongside the teammates that have supported me so much during my recovery is a privilege and these are the moments that make me happy,” Tuckwell added.
Cirencester Ladies return to action in January, when they play host to 3rd and 2nd in the Division Two table in consecutive weeks (Cheltenham Civil Service Ladies & Whitchurch Ladies) and Tuckwell admits that whilst her side remained focused on challenging for the title, her mindset has changed due to her long-term absence.
“The Gaffers Dan [Ray] and Annie [Karen Messenger], and the competitive players in the team would say winning the league is the main focus, however as a group we are also very focused on continuing to develop as a squad.
Before a game our team talk is simple, focus on the game plan, work hard and support each other. I know we do not underestimate the challenges we will face in the New Year as there are some very good teams that we are yet to play in Div One, so there is a long way to go!
Personally though, before my injury, I would set targets and standards to achieve. Now, my mindset is very different.
I listen to my body, be in the moment and support the team as best I can, on and off the pitch. Recent experiences have shown me that a different approach can be just as effective!” Tuckwell said.
Cirencester Town Ladies start a busy second half of the season on Sunday 7 January with the visit of Cheltenham Civil Service to the Corinium Stadium.