Bonnyrigg Rose women's boss Jamie Carter on club's “remarkable” nine-month journey as they gear up for Scottish Cup
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The current team were an under-18s squad this time last year but in April 2022 made the transition to establish a senior team. A 7-2 defeat to Linlithgow Rose in their first ever league game was a baptism of fire, however it was not a sign of things come. Carter’s team had an exceptional season as they finished second in the SWFL East at the end of 2022.
“It’s been one hell of a ride”, explained Carter. “We were an under 18 team at the start of last season and we only had 12 girls who could play at that level. We were counting on a few of the under 16s who had done really well, but for cup games they weren’t allowed to play for us. We made the decision right at the start of the season knowing we could get a couple of the older girls that had played for the club previously to come back to the club, so we decided to make the step to the ladies league and we have never really looked back.
“We have 18 signed players, and last season was fantastic. Finishing second in our first year was a remarkable achievement as well as reaching the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.”
The SWF announced that the regional leagues will undergo a transformation for the upcoming, shortened campaign with three leagues becoming four. Carter believes the change is positive as it now gives the club a clear pathway to reach the clubs aspirations.
“Our ambitions are to try and get promoted,” he told the Edinburgh Evening News. “It’s a transition season this year for the leagues we are in. There are four divisions at our level now and there is going to be a six-month season. We will have six months to try and get promoted to the league. That is the aim, but we are under no illusions that it will be very hard.
“It’s going to be a long hard season, we are playing 22 games, there is going to be virtually no Sundays free throughout that. You are going to get days like Easter Sundays where a lot of the girls go away with their family, but we need all the players available. It’s not going to be easy.
“It is definitely a positive development as now we get promoted into the league. Having a pyramid system from the bottom league all the way to the top is certainly positive.”
On Sunday the Midlothian side will travel up to Links Park to face Montrose at 12:30pm in the Scottish Cup. Carter admits the challenge will be difficult but believes the tie is a “free hit” for his side.
“We are under no illusions; Montrose are a top-quality side”, he said. “They are second in the SWPL2 and have just beat league leaders Gartcairn before Christmas to move within two points of them. They have aspirations to get into the SWPL1 so they will be a really good side. We are massive underdogs. We can just go up there and enjoy the occasion. Who knows what can happen.”