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Tash Allderidge: Pride Park's experienced icon

Monday, 4 March 2024

Reaching 200 appearances for Pride Park, Tash Allderidge is as passionate today as the day she made her debut

Shaun Hardwick


Pride Park are a female only club with a major footprint in community football. The first team are currently in second place of the tier seven Derbyshire Ladies League Division One, and run a large number of teams for girls. Someone who has been part of the journey from the very first season 18 years ago is Tash Allderidge who made her 200th appearance for the club at the start of February.


In her period at ‘The Pride’, Allderidge has scored 79 goals since making her senior debut against Belper Town nine years ago. The club icon joined the club during their first season at the age of 10, and takes up the story of her journey with the Derby based outfit.


Photo: Shaun Hardwick

“I joined Pride Park in December 2006. Since then, the club has evolved and is now exclusively for women and girls, with eight teams currently, and recreational football for women as well as Wildcats for girls. Originally, our teams played and trained at various sites across the city and on different days, but since 2018 we have all trained on the same night at the same venue, where our first team and u18s play their matches, which has brought a feeling of togetherness to the club.


“I had trained at a local football group for quite a few years as the only girl. Coming to Pride Park, it was really nice to join a proper team and play football with a really friendly group of girls. The club has always had the philosophy of fairness and playing for enjoyment and I feel like I’ve seen that through all my years at the club.”


Whilst women’s football has never had as much exposure and finance at the highest levels, tier seven is somewhat different. Allderidge outlined what life is like in that respect at Pride Park.

“Our players pay to play - although the club try to make it as affordable as possible to keep it accessible but subscriptions only cover the essentials and costs, particularly for venue hire, keep rising. Ultimately, we have to be self-financing although we’ve been quite fortunate as a club with grants and as a team the support of our sponsors is invaluable. We do quite a bit of fund-raising as a team to help fund additional items, such as off field kit, filming matches, supplementary training sessions etc.”

Allderidge describes herself as a player who “brings a lot of energy to the team, playing as a box to box midfielder doing a lot of running, and am always getting stuck in with winning headers in the middle of the park. This season, a particular strength of mine has been my set pieces, after scoring some important goals from free kicks and a number of assists from my corner kicks.”


Playing for the same club for 18 seasons is some achievement, particularly being part of that club’s entire history. Allderidge outlined that the main reason for keeping her in the light and dark blue of Pride Park.


“I’ve always enjoyed playing for Pride Park because of the friendly team environment, whilst also being really competitive in the league. When playing for Pride Park Girls U18s, I did also play for Burton Albion Ladies for a season, helping them gain promotion to the Regional League. I did have the opportunity to continue playing for Burton Albion at the higher level, however I made the decision to continue playing for the enjoyment and stay with Pride Park as we began a senior team.”

Photo: Shaun Hardwick

Pride Park are currently having a superb season, with promotion to regional level football in tier six a distinct possibility. The club icon believes that unity and belief have been the main reasons for this success so far.


“We’ve had some really good team performances this season, and it’s been pleasing to see how all the players have been playing for each other. We need to make sure that we keep consistent with our performances, particularly because we have some really important matches coming up against teams around us in the league. We can’t afford to drop many points the rest of this season and these are the games which will ultimately determine whether we can finish top this year.


“In previous years, we’ve always had quite a slow start to the season and been disappointed with our performance and results at that early stage of the campaign. However, it was really pleasing that this season, we managed to break that cycle and hit the ground running with some good performances in a few particularly hard fixtures, which had put us in a strong position for the rest of the season.”


The strong team ethic that exists in the team has been a major component in their league success this season – successes that have achieved despite a crippling injury list.


“The most challenging part of this season has to be the number of injuries we’ve had. At times, we’ve been low on numbers for matches due to a large number of injuries in the squad - some of which have been quite severe and put players out for the remainder of the season. We’ve been fortunate to be able to recruit some more players throughout the season, to fill in gaps due to injuries, but it’s definitely been a big challenge this year.”


Photo: Shaun Hardwick

In terms of some of Pride Park’s closest challengers for potential promotion this season, Allderidge recognises the overall strength of the Derbyshire Ladies League’s top tier.


“The league has been competitive again this season, especially towards the top of the table where it’s close on points between a number of teams. Wirksworth (the reigning league champions) have impressed again this season with one of the best defences in the league. They have made it hard for teams to break them down and score against them, proven by the small number of goals they’ve conceded so far this season.”


With the season approaching its home straight, the Pride Park player outlined her aims for the weeks ahead.


“Personally, I would love to add to my goal and assist tally throughout the rest of the games this season. We are currently still in two cup competitions so it would be great to make a cup final this year. However, as a team, our main priority would be pushing to win the league, and possibly promotion, so we need to ensure we’re being consistent in our performances for the rest of the season.”

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