A review of 2021 with SSFC Ladies head coach Ben Garrity
After 2021 drew to a close, we caught up with head coach Ben Garrity as he reflected on an eventful 12 months for SSFC Ladies. It was a year of change, success and promise, and Garrity has experienced a fine start to life in the dugout after taking the reins early in the season…
How would you sum up 2021?
2021 was overall a successful and memorable year for South Shields Ladies, and was also a memorable one on a personal level too, after I got involved with the side earlier in the year. When Scott Curtis and myself came in (in April), the Ladies were still in the County Cup competition and the league had been curtailed, so a League Cup had been created to try keep the Ladies playing through Covid.
2021 was a successful year for the Mariners, but what did the team achieve?
We managed to lead the Ladies team to the final of the County Cup, where we were defeated by Durham Cestria, and we also won the League Plate final, beating Sunderland West End, picking up a trophy after just a few games in charge. We had a very short break and then we were back working hard in pre-season, getting the lasses ready for the new campaign.
How did the side build on their end-of-season form?
With a few outgoings and a lot of incomings, pre-season went well. We played a lot of games and Scott and I got a chance to see exactly where the Ladies were at. We started our league season poorly, losing our first three games.
You were offered the head coach job early in the season. Was it a difficult decision for you?
Scott decided to leave the club due to personal reasons and I want to take a moment to thank him for all he did in his time here. We all appreciate it massively. The head coach job was then offered to me in a quick turnaround and I decided to take it on, which was a big decision for me, with only being 20 years old.
How have you enjoyed the head coach role so far?
In my time in charge of the Ladies, I’ve massively enjoyed coaching them twice a week and seeing things that we’re working on in training now showing on the pitch, which I’m sure you can see in terms of the results now starting to go our way. In the six games I’ve been in charge we have won four, drawn one and lost one to Norton in the FA Cup, so we ended 2021 very positively and on the right note, and slowly but surely climbing the league table back to where we want to be.