It’s appropriate in many ways that the university women’s football team is sponsored by the Stone Roses Bar. Ian Brown’s lyrics for the iconic Manchester alternative rock band are replete with themes of resurrection, adoration and, of course, glory. The girls of UYWAFC would probably take all three.
2008-2009 proved a season of frustration for the club, being unable to complete their BUCS League programme and then being humbled [outdoors at least] by Lancaster at Roses. But with past disappointments banished from memory and a new positivism instilled, the club are looking forward to the impending season and, hopefully, their moment of glory.
“We do not see the point in approaching the season with anything less than full confidence in our campaign for promotion,” said Jennie England, the first team Captain.
“The rigours of playing two games a week [the team participate in the Northern Universities League at weekends, in addition to BUCS competition] are felt more often on our academic than physical performances, nevertheless, from the coaching staff to the committee members and first and second team players, there is a strong sense of this club being on the verge of a truly successful season, perhaps with, for the second year running, the points from our games securing another York Roses victory.”
This relates, of course, to the club’s highpoint of last season, the wonderful moment of mathematical realisation and instant jubilation across campus on the Saturday afternoon of Roses when the team’s goals in the indoor football secured York’s overall success. Sadly, Lancaster exacted revenge 24 hours later, their expansive game proving superior outdoors in a 5-0 win.
Although the nucleus of the Roses team remains at the university, England appreciates that those who have moved on will be sorely missed, both on and off the pitch. “There are several absences that will be strongly felt, in particular the loss of Hayley Smith, who in her four years playing in goal showed immense commitment and saved countless games.
“Similarly, although only playing for the club for one year, Jess Gregson, a PhD student, and Caroline Braskén, an international student [from Finland, who recently hosted the Women’s European Championships].”
Action from the women’s football at Roses 2009. Photograph by George Lowther.
As a result, until these gaps in the side are plugged, much will depend on the defensive quartet, who, the President believes, are their greatest asset. The centre-back partnership of Carey Kalym and Sarah Stallard returns for the third year, providing the solid foundations for the midfield and strikeforce to test defences in both leagues.
The club line up alongside a number of northern sporting powerhouses in BUCS Division 3B, including Sheffield Hallam, Newcastle, Northumbria and a double dose of the Leeds universities. “Our mid-table finish in last year’s league will provide us confidence going into this season,” said the skipper.
“Although we were outclassed in some fixtures last season, we have no reason to doubt our ability to fight for promotion this year with perhaps our strongest competition coming from Newcastle and Leeds Met.”
The club are keen to inject their sides with as many freshers as possible, welcoming anyone who wishes to try out the sport in a number of week one taster sessions, organised by the team’s coaches Iwan Jones and Charlie Rowley.
“Although we are serious on our commitment to playing well, UYWAFC has a strong social side to it to,” added England. “Each Wednesday carries a different social theme, whether it’s a bar crawl ending in Ziggy’s, a film night, or meals or trips out; all of which contribute to the fantastic team spirit that was felt last season, and which we hope to eclipse this year.”
UYWAFC will be holding a taster session for players of all abilities on Sunday 18th October between 1.45pm and 4pm in the Sports Centre. The club’s training sessions are on Monday evenings (6.30pm-8pm, outdoor) and Thursdays (6pm-7pm, Indoor). Meet 15 minutes before the start at the Sports Centre.
FIRST TEAM BUCS LEAGUE FIXTURES
Wednesday 4th November – Leeds Met Carnegie Thirds (A)
Wednesday 11th November – Newcastle University Seconds (H)
Wednesday 25th November – Sheffield Hallam University Seconds (A)
Wednesday 2nd December – Northumbria University Seconds (A)
Wednesday 9th December – Northumbria University Seconds (H)
Wednesday 27th January – Leeds University Seconds (A)
Wednesday 3rd February – Leeds University Seconds (H)
Wednesday 17th February – Leeds Met Carnegie Thirds (H)
Wednesday 3rd March – Newcastle University Seconds (A)
Wednesday 17th March – Sheffield Hallam University Seconds (H)
If your club would like a season preview, contact [email protected]