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Donnelly disappointed but not surprised

Rovers Ladies end their campaign in seventh place following the decision to end the 2019-20 season

26 May 2020

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Rovers Ladies boss Gemma Donnelly understands the decision to end the women's 2019-20 campaign early.

Following overwhelming feedback from the clubs, the decision to bring an end to the 2019-20 season was made in the best interest of the women’s game following the COVID-19 pandemic, with confirmation announced on Monday.

Donnelly, who oversaw the team's first campaign in the Women's Championship following promotion last term, admits that although there is a tinge of sadness that the season couldn't be finished, she also confesses that the decision didn't come as a huge surprise.

“There was disappointment when I heard the news, but with the phone calls that were taking place over the last few weeks, it was almost becoming inevitable that the decision was going to be made to end the season," she said.

“Unfortunately for us in the women’s game, in both the Championship and the Super League, we just don’t have that disposable income to start finding £250,000 for player testing.

“Who has those sort of funds available? From us as a club, that was never an option. We were never prepared to put the players and staff at risk because we weren’t in a position to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

“Let’s hope that we’re never in this situation again. Am I disappointed? Yes, but it’s also given us an opportunity.

“When the 2020-21 season does come around, it’s almost given us a second bite of the cherry."

The team finished the season in seventh place in the table, which will be seen as more the credible following a campaign of ups and downs.

And reflecting on the term, Donnelly feels her squad will have learnt plenty about the new league.

“Let’s face it, it was a tough season for us, newly-promoted to the division and adjusting to it," she added honestly.

“We’d been assessing and establishing ourselves in the league, and whilst we thought we’d be able to compete quite well with our original team, different circumstances would hinder us.

“We’d lost some good players, albeit we were able to attract some good players as well.

“But we did find it difficult to find consistency in our performances in the competition itself, which was so disrupted due to the weather, the cup competitions and a change of style in opponents.

“It’s an unusual situation we’re in but we’ve been given an opportunity to reflect in what is our ninth week of reviewing and planning for next season to implement changes to make us better.”

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