As Varsity day loomed, the Leeds University women’s football teams knew that they had a big challenge ahead. Aside from the obvious close rivalry between the two teams, each Leeds University side was facing off against a Beckett team two leagues above.
The big day came accompanied with a torrential rain and an icy wind. Fittingly, the 1sts were the first to play, confident despite last season’s top scorer, Fiona Worts, sitting out with an ankle injury. However, coming up against a Beckett side who play in the Premier North league was always going to be a tough ask. Within 30 minutes, despite playing well, Uni were 3-0 down. A scoreline like this is always hard to come back from, and another goal just before half-time pretty much cemented a Uni loss. Unfortunately in the second half the going got much tougher, and a superior Beckett side put another 7 goals past University of Leeds. Despite this, the 1sts never let their heads drop and managed to grab a goal with what was literally the last kick of the game, restoring some pride. After this disappointing 11-1 defeat, Leeds Uni ‘woman of the match’ and defender Catriona Stobie stated “It was a tough match against a very strong Leeds Beckett side but from here on out we hope to take some positives away and look towards the rest of the season”.
Next up were the 3rds. Immediately after kick-off the team realised what a testing game this was to be, with Beckett scoring a goal almost straight away. The majority of the 1st half went the same way, with the Uni side struggling to deal with the creative Beckett attack who were almost scoring for fun. However, like the 1sts before them, the 3rds didn’t give up. The second half saw much better play from Uni, producing some well worked passes and preventing Beckett from scoring. However, as the match came to a close, Uni began to tire, and Beckett added a few more goals to their tally. The match finished at 16-0 to Beckett, but in all fairness, this was not reflective of the hard work and effort put in by the Uni 3rd team. A lot of the play created will give them hope for the upcoming BUCS season.
It was left to the 2nds to try and salvage at least one win for Uni. Unfortunately it was not to be, with Beckett immediately getting off to a good start with a goal after 5 minutes. Nonetheless, it was a good performance for the team, and Uni often linked up well to play some eye catching football. However they simply came up against a stronger team, and against lesser opponents it is easy to see the 2nds performing well in their league this season. Team captain Rachel Weaver said after the game: “Although we lost we can take a lot of positives from the match. It was the first time we played together and everyone put in 100% and played very well, and it was good preparation for BUCS next week.”
Overall, Uni women’s football did not have the best Varsity results wise, but there is much reason to be optimistic for the upcoming season.
Featured photo: Nancy Gillen