To mark her second spell at Gillingham Ladies, Ashlee Hincks could not have wished for any better. Six outstanding goals as part of a 15-0 victory with her team in the FA Women’s Premier League Cup and breaking a club record to boot!
“It was a great team performance,” Hincks said “It’s always hard in Cup games, especially against lower league opposition, we could not take anything for granted. I think the scoreline shows itself but we could have had double that with our performance.”
Hincks’ bagful of goals reflected an outstanding debut, not only that, but the Gills forward broke a club record for the number of goals for any individual player in a match. A stat that made the day even more special: “Wow – there you go what a start. To be honest as striker/forward it’s always good to get on the scoresheet.”
With the Gills adding valuable minutes under their belt after a less than ideal pre-season schedule, Hincks acknowledged the team are really beginning to gel.
“I’ve played with Lauren and a few of the girls before.” she revealed, “I think we’re starting to get a relationship together. I think we’re good and as every game moves on we’ll progress and the link up play will get better. Simon’s been working in the final third and around the box – can we get a few touches in rather than firing shots from outside and we tried that a lot today.”
A postive 90 minutes for the group and a welcome return for Hincks who begins her second spell at the club. Now a more mature player with experience of playing at WSL side Chelsea, the Gills forward has bags full of potential to help lead the club during this season of transition.
Hincks said: “I was here five years ago – back in the day but I’ve settled in well. It’s a completely different squad from last season but I think everyone is starting to gel now but it’s key we keep it consistent in the games going forward, they’re not going to be like today and it’s going to be very hard so I think it’s important we stick together.”
The test of re-building a team comes thick and fast for Gills with three games in seven days, there’s very little respite for Hincks and her team-mates. Next for the Gills is a mid-week trip to Brighton, a game considered by many as a “grudge match” but Hincks was clear to point out Thursday’s league game is like any other.
“I think it’s important we treat the game as a game – not a grudge match. There’s going to be a bit of that but it’s important we go into the game and take out that side- forget about who’s gone where and whose left. We’ve got to concentrate on our performance as a team and forget Brighton and who’s there.”
Hincks’ mature response reflects the leadership a player of her experience will bring to the club and the leadership side of her role is something she anticipates with enthusiasm: “I do have experience, I’ve played at a higher level and I want to try and bring as much of that in without being patronising because you can be.”
“For me, I prefer to lead with my performance on the pitch. I’m not necessarily a big talker but I like to go out there and roar people on with my performance and stuff like that.”
Gills will be back at home next Sunday with all fans invited to take part in a historic game as Gillingham Ladies play their first league home game at Priestfield Stadium.
“It’s very exciting.” said Hincks “I think for the women’s game it’s amazing the men are supportive as much as they are this year and I think it sends out a massive message to other teams, not just in our league but in WSL 1 and 2. Playing at the men’s game is huge and it’s massive for the women’s game. I hope we do well and do Gills proud.”
As such Hincks encouraged Gills fans to come along and be the team’s twelfth player as the take on Keynsham next Sunday at 2pm.
“It’s going to be an amazing game. For the community, for the Gillingham/Medway area I think it’s massively important we get as much support as we can. So if anyone’s free – come to the game!”
We couldn’t have put it any better, Ashley. Come along to Gillingham Ladies’ Housewarming at Priestfield Stadium on Sunday 7th September and see how the girls get on against Keynsham for FREE!