Rachel should have been on World Cup stage

Two-goals: Rachel Williams is England class, says Jon Buckley
Two-goals: Rachel Williams is England class, says Jon Buckley
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DONCASTER Rovers Belles’ boss John Buckley feels England boss Hope Powell made a big mistake by not picking Rachel Williams for the recent World Cup in Germany.

The former Belles’ star, now playing for Birmingham, scored twice in the Blues’ 3-0 win over Belles on Saturday as the inaugural WSL campaign resmied following its 10-week break.

“Rachel was the difference between the two sides by a mile,” said Buckley. “She is such a clever player and so strong on the ball.

“She has played international football before and I would have given the England squad something a bit different had she been there.

Williams’ brace saw her retain her place as the league’s top scorer, whilst the win saw her big-spending side go seven points clear at the top.

But having played against both sides, Buckley’s money is still on Arsenal - who have two games in hand - for the title.

“I thought Birmingham were good but I thought Arsenal looked a better side in the second half when they beat us at home in the first half of the season.”

Despite the Birmingham defeat, which saw Belles drop to second bottom, Buckley says he was pleased with Belles’ efforts.

“It was never a 3-0 game,” he argued. “There was only one goal in it for me.

“They said that we were the best side they’d played this season based on the evidence of our second half display. One of the pleasing things about the game was our fitness.”

Buckley made several signings in the window and was pleased with the contribution of all the newcomers, who include centre-back Rhonda Jones, who has 88 caps for Scotland.

At the other end of the age scale were teenage strikers Jess Sigsworth and Beth England, who total just 33 years between them. “I’ve known about Jess since she was 12 when she played for one of the club’s junior teams,” said Buckley.

“She was then drafted into the England Academy at Sheffield and has played for the Under-19s. She was up against two full England internationals on Saturday and caused them both problems.”

The Keepmoat Stadium is to host the Rugby League Challenge Cup semi-final between Leeds and Castleford on Sunday week.

The game will be screened live on BBC 2 and if it comes close to emulating either of the two televised quarter-finals at the weekend, it will be a cracker. The stadium should be full with a cracking atmosphere.

It is the second time since the stadium has been chosen to host a semi-final. It has also staged two international games and if things go well for the semi it can only enhance the chances of the town staging one or more of the 2013 World Cup matches.