Swinton Lions announced on their website the clubs decision to form a Lionesses team, the first big change made by the clubs new Development Director Damian Ridpath.
Meet Damian Ridpath 🖐🏻
He joins Swinton Lions as a Director of Development with immediate effect.
— Swinton Lions RLFC (@Swinton_Lions) March 7, 2020
The newly formed team will start training after Easter and the hope is to get the club to join a competitive league as of next season, with friendlies being arranged in the meantime and the venue for home matches will be announced in due course.
Since the announcement of the female team coming to Swinton, Ridpath said there has been a lot of interest from women wanting to join up: “Within 24 hours, we’ve had access to around 50 women.”
He went to explain that one the main reasons they decided to make the club is because they knew they’d get a lot of interest from locals.
He said: “We were aware that there was a gap in the market for Swinton and south Manchester areas for women so we thought we’d launch it and we’ve been inundated with the responses.
“I’m really delighted actually with the responses we’ve had, it’s been absolutely fantastic.”
👀 ICYMI | We revealed news of plans to launch a female section under the title, 'Lionesses RL'.
Who’s excited to watch our ladies team?
— Swinton Lions RLFC (@Swinton_Lions) March 10, 2020
The club are looking to move forward in a positive direction and Ridpath is confident that this is just the start of things to come for Swinton.
He said: “We’ve already been engaged in a number of conversations across a number of areas with partners and stakeholders, the future for Swinton is very, very bright.
“Every conversation we’re having are being received really positively across a range of ideas with the new board so it’s all looking really, really positive.”
The announcement on Swinton’s website on Sunday coincided with international women’s day and Ridpath believes the timing of the announcement was meaningful .
He said: “It was great to announce our women’s team on international women’s day. With the focus on women that day, it was a good opportunity to get the message out there and for it to engage with a captive audience.”
He continued to say: “It was just a no brainier, I’ve just come in as Development Director for the club and one of the first things on my agenda was why haven’t we got a women’s team and we put it right straight away.”
— Swinton Lions RLFC (@Swinton_Lions) March 8, 2020
Ridpath also expressed why he was pleased with his decision to join a club moving in the right direction.
He stated: “Yeah the direction of travel is upwards for Swinton, my decision to join the club was based on [the fact] Steve and I met through a mutual acquaintance and when I met the board, it was literally like meeting a new family, we just got on so well. I presented a vision to the board and in certain instances they shared that, we’ve enhanced what is already a positive mindset.”