IT’S official. The gap is closing at Weymouth.

In the four years since Weymouth Women reformed, the Terras have increased their inclusivity by helping bridge the chasm in resources between their men’s and women’s teams.

The women no longer play at The Marsh, nor do they have separate kits from the men.

Sponsors have got behind the ladies and success on the pitch has followed.

Silverware came in the 2021/22 season, winning the Dorset League and achieving promotion to the South West Regional Eastern Division.

READ MORE: Weymouth Women shortlisted for national award

Since then, despite player turnover and some tough results, Weymouth recorded an eighth-placed finish in 2022/23 and are guaranteed to finish sixth this season.

That is despite playing high-calibre opposition in the form of champions Poole Town and Bath City.

So, how is it all coming together at the Terras? We spoke to passionate ladies’ captain Charlie Wilson to find out.

“It’s growing year on year,” she told Echosport.

“We reformed maybe four years ago now. We’ve been promoted since then and we’re going to aim for promotion the next couple of years as well.

“The club have supported us by really pushing to get some amazing sponsors. We’re so lucky to have Consol and The Closet and many, many more. I’d be here for ages if I listed them all.

“They’re the reason we can play and that we’ve got the time and money to go to these schools and get young girls into football.”

“It’s been good progress. We reformed so we started from scratch again. There wasn’t any baseline to build on.

“In the three or four years that we’ve been reformed, we’ve made some great progress.

“We’ve been nominated for this national award twice, we’ve been promoted and we’ve had some great FA Cup runs. You can’t say that’s not good.”

The national award Wilson touches on is part of the hugely successful Women’s Football Awards.

The Terras have been shortlisted twice in two years for ‘grassroots initiative of the year’, a staggering and considerable achievement.

Dorset Echo: Charlie Wilson, Weymouth Women's captainCharlie Wilson, Weymouth Women's captain (Image: MARK PROBIN)

Weymouth’s board have also recognised the huge growth seen on the women’s side of the club, backing them by offering the Bob Lucas Stadium as a home headquarters.

“When we first started up, we put our foot in the door and we said we were here to stay,” Wilson recalled.

“They gave us the nod and said: ‘Prove yourselves’, so we did.

“Over the years we’ve seen growth in support from the board and the club.

“We’re lucky enough to play in the stadium as our home pitch every week. That’s an amazing step and it should happen more locally.

“It puts us under the same umbrella as the men’s, the under-23s and we’ve got our development team.

“We did our kit launch all together with the women’s and men’s team. It is really nice to see that sponsors want to come on board but only if they can sponsor the men and women’s teams.

“For example, Consol who’ve done our matchday and training kit, they were really keen. That’s an amazing thing.”

Sponsors in the bag and with the ‘off the pitch’ element of the women’s club healthier than ever, results are beginning to improve on the pitch.

“We started the season really well, we were chuffed,” Wilson remarked.

“We had a bit of a lapse in the middle, we hit a little bit of a low with a few losses under our belt.

“We’ve definitely had the support of some amazing coaches that have got us back on track. We’re finishing on a high with some wins.

“This season’s been amazing. The girls and women we’ve got in this team, we’ve got some amazing friendships and they’re all really keen to push everything at grassroots.”

While progress has undoubtedly been made, there are areas for huge improvement.

Women are subjected to sexist abuse and the pay difference is more of a pay chasm, among other issues in the sport.

As Wilson eloquently points out, would top men’s players be expected to work second jobs to make ends meet? Imagine the outcry.

“The women’s game is growing. The women are getting more respect and all bits like that,” she said.

“But it’s upsetting to see that professional athletes have thought about giving up the sport because there’s not enough money in it.

“The women’s game has got a long way to go because you wouldn’t expect Harry Kane to work three jobs to be able to score a penalty at the weekend.

“Whereas, other female athletes can’t survive on the wage they get. I think that is upsetting but we have definitely come a long way as well.”

And so, by wearing the captain’s armband at Weymouth does Wilson feel more pressure to drive awareness of such issues?

“For sure, the responsibility does fall a little heavier on my head but I thrive off that,” Wilson adds.

“I absolutely love going along to under-12s, under-13s, under-15s training and going to schools to do assemblies and being at the forefront of it all.

“The women I’ve got behind me that come along and do it with me are all just as keen, so it shares that burden. I love pushing the grassroots side of things.”

Progress and growth of the sport at grassroots are two elements of the game that Weymouth Women are really driving.

If they have come this far in four years, think what they will achieve by 2028.

The possibilities really are endless.