Notts County Ladies vs Spurs Ladies in the FA Cup   Leave a comment

It seemed like an age coming but finally the first competitive game of the 2015 WSL season at Meadow Lane arrived this Sunday. And it took the form of a FA Cup clash with Premiership side Tottenham Hotspur.

Game faces on… (strap yourselves in because this is a marathon blog)…… here’s the day in words and pictures:

 220315_0057_0007First game of the 2015 season at Meadow Lane and the sun shone as the team warmed up under the watchful eye of Strength Coach Paul (Trump Skill 14) Campbell.

It was a peaceful scene an hour or so prior to kick-off but up high in Row Z skullduggery was afoot: whilst the Gaffer Rick (Trump Speed 15) Passmoor was sleeping off a heavy meal in the dugout……

220315_0031_0004….. assistant coach Colin (Trump Speed 12 [generous]) Walker was plotting to overthrow the Boss and was secretly practicing his interview technique.

The usual suspects we in as soon as the gates were opened….

220315_0035_0005… accompanied by … erm….’lamb-i-pie’??

Back on the pitch and Sophie (Trump Shooting 32 [ironic]) Walton ….

220315_0049_0006… dreams of scoring the opening goal in the FA Cup final.

One half of the ground in bathed in sunlight and nice and warm, the other half is in the shade and 3 degrees below freezing….

220315_0063_0008… and this is a shameless plug for JPro isotonic drink so Matt Lawson can get some freebies.

Reserve keeper Jules (Trump Shooting 37 [ironically higher than Sophie Walton’s score]) Draycott has changed her hair colour for the 17th time this week.

220315_0078_0009 Keeper Draycott is looking for a ‘hair colour’ sponsorship.

On injured reserve this week were Sophie, Laura-Jayne and Ashleigh.


Last minute preparations before kick-off see Marketing Humongous Matt (chickened out of having a Trump card) Rowland deploying ‘Goalcam‘ ….

220315_0114_0011…. Matt carries instruction for Goalcam installation so he no longer has to hold it up for 90 minutes (which he finds more difficult as he gets older).

It’s almost time!

The teams are announced and the crowd roar as they exit the tunnel and take the pitch….

220315_0164_0012…. either the mascot has a two-tone ponytail thing going on or that’s Carly (Trump Power 61) Telford behind her.

220315_0178_0013A final pose for pictures and…. … it’s GAME ON! COYP!

Strangely enough Spurs seemed to start the game with more confidence than Notts; County seemed nervous and a little unsure in the first few passages of play. The combination of the first game at Meadow Lane for many of the starters and the team needing to gel competitively was most likely the cause.

So it was with relief with which the Pies spectators watched Notts begin to string a few passes together. Debutant Rachel (Trump Skill 69) Williams caused Spurs problems early on.


A spluttering start to the game with Notts possibly holding on to the ball a little too long was compounded by Tottenham’s willingness to run and chase and close down like demented rabbits on illegal performance enhancers.

 And then Sophie Walton’s dream came partially true – she netted the opening goal in an FA Cup tie!
Ellen (Trump Power 66 [rubbish score – the girl is a footballing tyrannosaurus ]) White was battling everybody on the park and robbing a Spurs defender of possession slipped the ball in to the path of Sophie (Trump speed 64) Walton!
Hiding her sheer terror of being in on goal she sublimely passed the ball into the Spurs net and past keeper Toni Wayne.
1-0 NOTTS and in the background White hits a double-biceps pose in celebration with Sophie.
Curiously this didn’t seem to settle the nerves and County continued to play in ‘fits and starts’ without ever finding a rhythm in their passing. Sporadic play aside Notts still created enough good chances to be 5 nil up at the break, evidenced by Dunia (Trump Skill 84) Susi hitting the post with the ball rebounding to Jess (Trump Tackling 59) Clarke unable to get a clean contact on the ball before it was cleared.
Just before the break an Alex (Trump Passing 99) Greenwood corner and subsequent missed punch by the keeper resulted in a scrabble in the six yard box and the ball careening toward the empty net….
.. but with great lasp-gasp defending by Spurs number 12 Alex Keown the ball was cleared off the line…
220315_0401_0018Close but no banana for Notts.
The half time whistle went and Tottenham trooped off probably the happier of the two teams. Many fans (including me) expected a 4 or 5 nil thrashing but the plucky Spurs outfit really did put on a first half display that belied their lower league status.
Second half then….
… and County were still spluttering but flickered into flame more often than in the first half. And then…
…  making her debut at the Lane (unbelievable for somebody that’s been at the club for over a year) White picked up the ball on the edge of the Spurs box, feigned to shoot, went past the defender and crashed the ball into the back of the net and past the forlorn Spurs keeper.
220315_0433_00192-0 NOTTS! Ellen White showing text book form to score County’s second goal.
220315_1136_0051YES! A year’s worth of side-lined injury frustration gone in a second!
Look at those clenched fists!
220315_1143_0052Fierce! I’m bloody intimidated.
Whilst Notts might not have been a silky smooth purring machine in their play the defense was as mean as ever and only allowed Tottenham rare visits to the edge of their 18 yard box, each one being closely supervised by the imperious Fern (Trump Tackling 89) Whelan and partner in the back four Amy (Trumps Tackling 96) Turner.
220315_1092_0048Spurs striker corralled by the stingy Pies defense.
I may be wrong but I believe that this….
220315_1381_0065… scuffed shot from distance was just about Spurs best chance on goal.

Back on the offensive Greenwood took possession 30 yards out and crashed the ball against the crossbar with the keeper….

220315_0550_0023… stranded like a Pirate without his wooden leg.

In a lull in proceedings ….

220315_1393_0066Rick (Trump Speed 15) Passmoor gives odds of 5 to 1 on Jules Draycott’s changing her hair colour before the end of next week.


… and Turner quietly steals a few extra yards on the thrown in whilst Passmoor distracts the ‘referee’s assistant’.

County began to build pressure with several chances going begging as Spurs inevitably begin to tire.

220315_0515_0022So close….

220315_0569_0024… White heads across goal…

220315_0446_0021… Turner turns the screws.

220315_1329_0062Rachel (Trumps Power 97) Williams shows she needs her Trumps Skill score upgrading.

220315_1105_0049Jess Clarke had one of her quietly influential games  without scoring.

But it wasn’t until the very end of the game that County hit their third goal. With just a minute left on the clock, substitute Fiona (Trump Power 88) O’Sullivan bagged her first goal when she peeled off her defender to latch on to a ball popped up into the six yard box by Leanne (Trump Passing 87) Crichton and finish with a deft little header past the – stranded like a kipper in a smoke house – Keeper Wayne.

220315_0647_0025O’Sullivan peels and scores.

Game over at 3-zip but still just enough time for O’Sullivan to claim her second of the match and Notts 4th.

The striker worked hard to beat the spurs keeper with a lopping header into the far corner of the net.

220315_1480_0068O’Sullivan points the way to the quarter finals and Aston Villa at Home.

Full time and a win for Notts…

220315_0789_0033.. the huddle is a victorious one…

220315_0779_0032… then it’s time to pose for pictures…

220315_0803_0034… sign shirts…

220315_0830_0037… give autographs…

220315_0733_0028… plug sponsors…

220315_0741_0029… and stretch out.

Unfortunately there was almost a nasty incident when this reporter …

220315_0751_0030… suggested that Manager Passmoor now made all his team selections and formations based on the Trumps Cards stats! Passmoor was heard vehemently denying that he’d ever seen a Trump card.

220315_0842_0038Rick writing a cheque for this fan’s Dunia Susi Trump card in case he needs to play her next week. Rick – they’re £2 from the Club shop!

And there was just time for:

Ellen (Fierce) White…

220315_0764_0031… to explain to Matt Rowland what biceps are!

For Rick…

220315_0859_0040… to pose with a Panda…

And for Fiona O’Sullivan to do this…


See you all again at the lane on the 29th for the game against Chelsea – kick-off 5pm.

(C) Drew Smith Photography

Disclaimer: Just in case I should ever write or post anything inaccurate, stupid or downright misleading I’d like it to be known that those inaccuracies, stupidities and misleading statements and pictures are mine, and mine alone! 

…. everything else is Matt Rowland’s fault.


A pretty good week for women’s football…   Leave a comment

It was a pretty good week for women’s football this week.

It began 2 days ago with the FA announcing that in August this year the women’s FA Cup Final would be held at Wembley for the first time ever. Not bad, it only took 44 years from when it was first contested to get the upgrade.


I’m positive the venue will be suitably packed for the game, no matter which two teams get there….

1L0A6994_0074….. but of course we can expect record crowds with Notts in the final. :)

Following on from that the FA announced that it had been working with BT Sports to ‘increase’ the amount of coverage and broadcast time for the Women’s game on TV and would be continuing to broadcast live select FA WSL Div 1 games and cup compertitions.

Notts County Ladies vs Chelsea Camera in faceBT Sport is one of the founding partners of the women’s football commercial programme alongside Continental Tyres, Nike and Vauxhall. Well done guys.

Notts County Ladies vs Chelsea BT Sports

At last but certainly not least England’s women won the Cyprus Cup by beating Canada 1-0 in the final. Arsenal’s Lianne Sanderson bagged England’s winning goal seeing England lift the trophy for the 3rd time in it’s history, beating Canada on each occasion.

DL8D6409_0391Mr Sampson delivers the goods. Same again this summer please Mark.

(C) Drew Smith Photography

Disclaimer: Just in case I should ever write or post anything inaccurate, stupid or downright misleading I’d like it to be known that those inaccuracies, stupidities and misleading statements and pictures are mine, and mine alone! 

…. everything else is Matt Rowland’s fault.

Rain, Wind and ‘Happy Hat’.   Leave a comment

I once skied on the Hintertux glacier in Austria in the middle of December. During a snow storm driven by glacial winds my chair lift stopped half way up an exposed face of  the mountain. That was a cold day. Gresham Park in Wilford Nottingham yesterday, host to the match between Notts County Ladies FC and Reading Ladies, was almost as cold as that day on the Hintertux. Only yesterday we had… ‘Happy Hat’ (and ‘Goal Cam’).

NCL FC vs Reading Ladies friendly_0109This is ‘Happy Hat’. Krista the NCLFC physio is leading a campaign to have it worn for every game this season. Or at least until the Fashion Police arrive.

The game was the first and last home friendly game as County warmed up ahead of their opener at home against Chelsea. The bad news is that we may not see Sophie Bradly in the season opener. She is still rehabilitating the knee injury she picked up last season.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0001Sophie Bradley may miss the season opener – we wish her a speedy recovery.

The pre-match warm-ups had to compete against the icy cold and driving wind and rain.

NCL FC vs Reading Ladies friendly_0091Arty-farty 8mm shot with oodles of post production – for those who care.

The game kicked off with Notts perhaps facing their toughest test to date in the pre-season friendlies – Reading Ladies FC finished 3rd in the FAWSL Div 2 last season notching up some impressive results.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0219New signing; number 18 the admirable Leanne Crichton, battles in midfield.

But Reading hardly had time to wipe the rain from their eyes before County were 2-0 up. Rachel Williams opened the scoring with a well met header and Fiona O’Sullivan doubled County’s lead only a minute or so later with a clinical finish through a tangle of feet 6 inches from the goal line. :)

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0046Rachel Williams Celebrates Notts’ opener.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0051Fiona O’Sullivan get’s County’s second….

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0053… it was a poacher’s goal. She doesn’t miss from there!

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0078The Reading sideline looked on with gloomy dispositions.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0079By contrast the Notts sideline looked much happier, stylish and less like the 7 dwarves.

Notts were playing some decent football despite the weather’s best attempts to spoil any kind of passing game.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0290But Ellen White needs to put on a little more weight – she was blown over by the wind several times during the game.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0095Reading went further behind when Ellen White, now playing with weighted boots, pounced to make it 3-0 to Notts.

NCL FC vs Reading Ladies friendly_0162Rick (Happy Hat) Passmoor clutches at two buoyancy aids as the water levels begin to rise at Gresham.

Reading, to their credit, never stopped battling and enjoyed spells of possession in the second half that threatened a goal.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0213  But they never really looked like getting back in to the game….

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0194… against a well marshaled and tactically superior County side.

Fiona O’Sullivan notched her second and Notts fourth as the light began to fade.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0528O’Sullivan and new signing Danielle Buet (whom had a stand-out game) celebrate the goal with an impromptu game of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’. Here they can be seen both choosing ‘Paper’.

The Reading sideline became even gloomier in the late afternoon gloom.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0148Here the away team manager points out that O’Sullivan should have chosen ‘scissors’.

As the flood lights came on (which actually made it seem darker) the wind picked up.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0409Jess Clarke is almost blown off her feet.

And there is just time enough in the dying minutes of the game for Aileen (can’t stop scoring if she tried) Whelan to make it 5-0 to County.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0554Goal Machine Whelan looks set to carry on where she left off last season.

The ref blew the whistle for full time and with all thoughts of a ‘warm-down’ forgotten the squad collectively ran for the sanctuary of a hot shower.

It’s a mouth watering prospect to have Ellen White back fit and scoring freely, Fiona O’Sullivan banging them in from two feet, Aileen Whelan still scoring for ‘fun’ (stupid expression) and currently the best striker not starting for England, Jess Clarke in the line-up.

And to finish….

…. Matt (Marketing Gargantuan) Rowland field tested his ‘Goal Cam’ project in this match. The results, which can be seen on the NCLFC website, speak for themselves.

NCL FC vs Reading 22nd Feb 2015_0538 Matt Rowland – dressed sensibly for the weather conditions – goes to retrieve ‘Goal Cam’. When the club is attracting 10,000 per home game he’s been promised a drone quad copter. :)

(c) Copyright Drew Smith Photography.

The Twitter-sphere!   Leave a comment

I had no problems with websites. I cautiously tiptoed in to the world of blogging. I was dragged by my heels on to Facebook. And this week I went kicking and screaming in to the Twitter-sphere. @DrewSmithPhoto

Here’s my first week in words and pictures:

This year (2015) I decided to bring more resource and focus to bear on my photography courses (check ‘em out here #shamelessplug ) and it was in conversation with a fellow photographer and business woman that she suggested ‘getting on Twitter’ to tie in my courses with my other social media.

DL8D5970_0286I guess I was feeling a little lethargic and reluctant to start learning another social media platform (‘come on, how hard can Twitter be?’ my inner bully chipped in).

So I signed up and signed in to Twitter. Now what the hell was I supposed to do with it? Typically, like most blokes, I didn’t bother reading up on anything, instead …….

XRunner Wipeout 2014 Jump 0888….. I just leaped in to my first Tweet.

Then and only then did I start looking at ‘Re-tweets’, ‘Favourites’, ‘Replies’, ‘Followers’ and ‘Followed’ and all that other malarkey.

Luke and Bones 01I soon got to grips with the bear bones of the thing though.

After my 4th tweet somebody was following me (but in a good way; not like a stalker or axe-murderer or anything) and some of my tweets had been re-tweeted. I Googled a few Twitter strategies and looked at just what use ‘favouriting’ a tweet was (still not sure).

The Photography Show Show GirlSuddenly I felt I was getting abreast of this new media.

Next time I looked (must stop looking so often) I had 8 followers – whoo hoo! I started to wonder what I needed to do next to keep them happy and attract new followers. Should I build a gold statue of myself for them to worship or send them chocolate chip cookies through the post?

Chinese New Year female tai chiBut then an epiphany; I realised I just needed to get in touch with my inner-self.

I simply needed to Tweet about those things that interested me and hopefully anybody following me would find them interesting too.

Wooden doorA doorway has open for me in to a new world.

So, if you like my lengthy ramblings here in the Bloggers-sphere, feel free to hear a lot less from me on Twitter by following me there too; @DrewSmithPhoto

American Football – Loughborough Students vs Sheffield Sabres   3 comments

For those of you not linked in to my Facebook page (and I don’t blame you :)  ) I’ve been shooting the Loughborough University American football team for the past 3 home games. It’s been great fun and very challenging. Now I know for most people just watching American football and trying to understand what is going on can be very challenging!

Loughborough vs Sheffield_0072

The challenging bit for a photographer is getting know to whom the ball is going to be thrown at any given moment by the quarterback on a pass play. A pass play (we’ll keep this simple) is when a quarterback throws the ball to a team mate who is usually downfield of him.

Loughborough vs Sheffield_0221

I was out with a couple of my students on one of my photography courses the other day and we were talking about shooting this sport and one of them asked; ‘how the hell do you know where the ball is and who its going to?’

Loughborough vs Sheffield_0361

My response was; it really helps to know the sport. In almost any sport this allows you to anticipate what might happen next and be in the right place at the right time to get the pictures that you might otherwise have missed. ‘Okay’ they said ‘but specifically how do you know who is going to catch the ball?’

BUAF Loughborough vs Stirling_0204

Well, to answer that question lets look at some different methods of trying to achieve this; for example; in the case of a quarterback throwing to his wide receivers – you have at least 3 choices. For the sake of argument lets assume the photographer is using a 400mm telephoto lens. This is one of those big lenses the camera dangles off the back of and looks like you can see next Tuesday with it. This would be a heavy piece of kit and perched on a monopod, not something you can hand-hold and whiz about or zoom in and out with:

Method 1. focus on the quarterback and then wait to see where he is throwing it, look up from your camera viewfinder to see where the ball is going and then refocus on the intended receiver about to catch the ball. This is very tricky and works only on very long passes that spend a lot of time in the air traveling to their intended target.

Loughborough vs Sheffield_0250

Method 2. try and track the ball in flight as it leaves the quarterback’s hand. This would theoretically deliver some very good shots. In practice this is almost impossible to do as the ball travels to fast on most occasions. Do-able for long passes when the action is a good distance away.

Loughborough vs Sheffield_0028_1

Method 3. choose the wide receiver that you think is going to receive the pass before it’s thrown and focus on him. This is the easiest option but if you choose incorrectly you have no picture. This is where knowing the game really comes in; in certain situations its possible to anticipate what is going to happen next and is often worth guessing to get the shot.

Loughborough vs Sheffield_0189

Of course if you are not using a 400mm prime lens and instead have a zoom then you can zoom out and back in again as necessary to see where the ball is going and this makes life much simpler. For example; using a 70mm-200mm won’t get you as close in to the action as a 400mm but its much easier to run up and down the field of play to keep up with the action because the lens will be much smaller and much lighter.

BUAF LS vs Durham_0125

Of course you won’t necessarily get the same image quality in your shots because zoom lenses, especially the shorter zooms, tend not to create the same degree of compression that produces the wonderful isolation of the subject.

BUAF LS vs Durham_0242

But no matter which lens you decide to shoot with knowing the game and also knowing what might change in a game according to how well each team is doing, will help you be in the right place at the right time to capture better shots.

Loughborough vs Stirling_0012

You can find my photography courses here at Drew Smith Photography Courses.



National Badminton League at the Albert Hall!   Leave a comment

Yeah, well I got this totally wrong!

In the latter part of last year a certain Physio named Krista, whom I work alongside for Notts County Ladies F.C., mentioned that she was involved with the University badminton team. Of course, I immediately said I’d love to shoot the sport and she said she’d let me know the dates nearer the time of their next game in January.

So there was I thinking ‘local leisure center’ badminton when last week Krista emails me to say she’d got me ‘photographer accreditation’ for the game on the 26th. ‘Accreditation’? For a leisure center knock-about?

The penny slowly began to drop when I arrived at the venue that evening – The Albert Hall, Nottingham! Parked outside, feeding cables in to the auditorium, where two ginormous television lorries. Sky Sports were covering the game! So not the local leisure center then?

Here’s the evening in words and pictures:

DL8D7736_0060So rule number one; try not to get in shot of the TV cameras and get thrown out. This means finding the people in charge and asking where you can photograph from and where you can’t. The University had a plethora of helpful friendly people that told me how not to get thrown out.

DL8D7794_0117Here is just one of the many friendly Nottingham University staff that make this whole thing possible. Although she’s slacking off here phoning in a Pizza order.

1L0A8755_1581This is the Albert Hall, playing NBL badminton to a full house.

DL8D7752_0076Prior to the match between Nottingham and Loughborough they let a number of children come on court and thrash a shuttlecock back and forth. They had great fun and those crafty organisers built the fan base of the future.

DL8D7773_0098The capacity crowd was ready to go and had been issued with those inflatable tube things you bang together. And this cheeky trio had smuggled in a couple of pink honkers – which they honked at strategic points in the games.

DL8D7788_0112Now, bear in mind that this was my first time shooting badminton and therefore have no idea who anybody is. But this is a recognisable tableau in TV coverage; the main presenter is paying scant attention and looking for his next question on his list, the guy talking is in a world of his own and the guy far right not talking is wishing the other guy would shut up so he can.

DL8D8507_0825The game gets underway and the crowd are loving it. Nottingham seem to be winning (I think). I begin to realise that the ‘best’ pictures are those that don’t have the shuttlecock in frame. In fact the overheads that do have the shuttlecock in view are pretty boring. How odd.

DL8D8589_0904See! Great dynamic body shape and not a shuttlecock in sight – it’s already on the other side of the net!

DL8D8267_0586Seems the only time it works well is when it’s a reaching low to the court kinda shot – then it’s okay.

DL8D8598_0912The game progressed – certain strange things happened that I didn’t understand, like the ‘power play’. I think this is where a player is allowed to serve two shuttle cocks at the same time and one is filled with exploding custard or something like that. Anyway the ‘heart beat’ music played during the power play point was tres atmospheric and really got the crowd involved.

DL8D8631_0945This was not the only time music was used to good effect; when dangerously slippery sweat needed mopping up, the girl perform the task accompanied by the ‘Benny Hill’ chase music….

DL8D8575_0890…. much to the hilarity of the crowd. It was funny. :)

DL8D8650_0962And the pranks didn’t stop there – at the end of his game Kieran Merrilees slipped an electric shock ‘buzzer’ in to his hand before shaking hands with the chair umpire!

DL8D9119_1428An epic night of badminton concluded with Nottingham University running out emphatic winners.

DL8D8452_0768I’d met a lot of wonderful and friendly people…

DL8D7770_0094… managed to dodge the cameras and not get thrown out….

DL8D9196_1505…. but still get right in the thick of it….

DL8D9188_1497… but just missed out on bombing this selfie!

I had a great night and thought the whole evening was fantastic – I’ll be back again if they’ll have me. Thanks Krista! :)

(C) Drew Smith Photography

Hidden Nottingham (crouching fish eye)   1 comment

Saturday morning last weekend was spent wandering and lurking in the hidden back streets and lanes of Nottingham City center.

I discovered places and shops I’d never seen before or even knew existed. Of course this was all an excuse to use my 8mm lens again. i kinda get what it was made for now, but I’m still learning what it likes best for meals. :)

Here are some pics from the day.

Reclaim shop


cobbles and bricks

Grate and window

Magazine shop 01

Stairway 01

Street Carol

Wall Art

Wooden door


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