Goalkeeper Rachael set for a spot of fame

GOOD SPORT... Rachael Laws plays in goal for Sunderland. Below, A Question Of Sport captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell with host Sue Barker.
GOOD SPORT... Rachael Laws plays in goal for Sunderland. Below, A Question Of Sport captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell with host Sue Barker.

SHE’S more used to the penalty box than the ‘goggle-box’ – but a football star from South Tyneside is set to appear on one of the country’s best-loved TV shows next month.

Rachael Laws, from Hebburn, will feature on the BBC’s sports quiz A Question Of Sport at the start of December, and says she was “overwhelmed” after being asked to appear.

Question of Sport cast Matt Dawson, host Sue Barker and Phil Tufnell

Question of Sport cast Matt Dawson, host Sue Barker and Phil Tufnell

The goalkeeper, who plays for Sunderland Ladies – and won the Women’s Super League this year while on loan at Liverpool – filmed the episode last Tuesday, and is now nervously waiting for her TV debut to be aired.

Rachael, 22, is featuring in the ‘captains’ challenge’ part of the show, when team captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell, along with guests including footballer Paul Robinson, runner Eilidh Child and tennis player Dan Evans, will be seen taking penalties against her in the studio.

Rachael has described the experience as “surreal”, but admitted she is apprehensive ahead of her appearance on TV.

The former Hebburn Comprehensive School pupil said: “My family has always watched A Question Of Sport and I love the show, so I was a bit overwhelmed.

“When the BBC asked me to go on, I was on a high after winning the league with Liverpool, and I couldn’t say ‘no’.

“Both teams had to sit on a bench and answer true or false questions, and if they got one right, they could take a penalty.

“I met them all after the show, and they made me feel so welcome.

“It was a bit surreal to be there, considering I’ve watched the show since I was a kid.”

On the prospect of watching the show when it goes out, she added: “I don’t think I want to watch it!

“I think I handled myself quite well, but I don’t normally watch myself back. I probably will, but it won’t be as enjoyable as it was when I was filming it.

“When you’re there, you realise how funny it is.”

Rachael has been on the books at Sunderland for about 15 years, and was in goal for them last season as they won the National Premier League.

However, when Super League side Liverpool suffered a goalkeeper shortage, they brought in the Black Cats star on loan, and she helped them win that league – taking her second title in a year.

The 22-year-old has now returned to Sunderland, who have been selected to play in the second tier of the Super League next season, with the campaign set to start in March 2014.

She says she was delighted to be promoting women’s football on the BBC show, as the sport continues to grow in the UK.

Rachael added: “I think it is massive (for the sport).

“Women’s football has become absolutely huge over the past 10 years, and we couldn’t ask for anything more than to be involved in a massive show like that.

“I was pleased to be promoting women’s football in general, and hopefully people who watch the show will find out a lot more about it.”

Twitter: @danielprince18