How have they done?: The firsts and thirds have enjoyed brilliant starts and sit second in their respective leagues, within striking distance of the championship. The seconds are doing even better; they sit top of League 5B and have yet to taste defeat. New coach Peter Renton has definitely had a positive influence.
What next?: Sustaining this excellent form is the number one objective. There’s very little to improve on and if UYAFC end the season without any silverware it would be a travesty.
Star Player: Dan Cox (8 goals) and Connor Brennan (6 goals) are the hottest strikeforce in university football. The firsts have been further boosted by goals from midfield and even Chris Grayland at centre-back.
They say: “I’m over the moon with how things have gone this term – both on the pitch and off it,” said Greg Gardner, the President. “Last year it wasn’t until the New Year that we got our first win. This year – we’re flying.”
If they were a Christmas song: “All I want for Christmas is you” – and promotion.
Photograph by George Lowther
How have they done?: Pretty well, all things considered. Newly promoted to Northern Conference 1A after last year’s unbeaten season, the men’s team were defeated in their second match against Sheffield Hallam. They recovered well to win their next four games, although a loss two weeks ago away to Leeds Met has brought them slightly down to earth.
What next?: Currently six points behind leaders Sheffield Hallam with a game in hand, a strong second half of the season and they could be looking at promotion. Even if their form is not sustained, they have consolidated their place in the division and can therefore be very pleased with a successful campaign.
They say: Alex Redshaw: “We know we can do well in this division. This team has a lot of potential.”
Christmas song: “Fairytale of New York” – Drunken, violent and rude, but brilliant all the same.
Photograph by Jason Lozier
How have they done?: The women have been exceptional, winning all six of their fixtures to finish top of division 1B. The men’s team have recovered well from an early loss against Hull to move top of their table.
What next?: The women will have to compete in a play-off with the top team from Northern Conference 1A (likely to be either Bangor or Liverpool) and after a promotion play off with the bottom team from Premier North. If they win both they will play in the Premier division next season.
Star Player: Two: Louise Highton and Katherine Gracey both joined the team this year and have been the main reason for the team’s success. Both regularly compete in international competitions and the former is ranked 28th in the country for Epee.
They say: Captain Kat Chzhen: “Fencing is a fun individual sport but can also be played as part of a team. There are plently of competitions to attend all year round, and there is a great social aspect to the club.”
Christmas song: “Merry Christmas Everybody”. The women’s team have Slade most of their rivals.
How have they done?: The men’s firsts and seconds remain plagued by relegation anxiety, though the women’s firsts look well-placed for a promotion push and the seconds are safely in mid-table.
What next?: The men’s teams need improvement quickly to avoid another flirtation with the drop in the New Year, while the women need to find that little extra to challenge for honours.
Star Player: Newcomers to the team have excelled, including Henry Mellor, Matt Foakes and James Branton. For the women, the old guard of Andrea Pisesky, Imy Eldergill-Storm and Laura Pepper have stayed brilliant.
They say: Rob Newton, Male President: “We have a new coach starting in Roz Ramzi and I’m confident he can turn our fortunes around. He’s what we’ve been missing.”
Christmas song: “Mistletoe and Wine” – like relegation, it has a nasty habit of appearing every year.
Photograph by Justyn Hardcastle
How have they done?: There have been mixed fortunes for the teams so far. The firsts have found the going tough in League 4B but, despite currently lying bottom, a couple of wins could transform their season. The seconds and thirds have excelled and are in contention for promotion.
What next?: In a close division, the firsts need a couple of results to go their way to kill off relegation worries, starting against Newcastle this Wednesday. The seconds also need to beat Newcastle this week to keep alive their promotion push, while the thirds must overcome Sheffield Hallam to stay in touch with the leaders.
Star Player: Goal Keeper Jenni Williams and Goal Defence Sarah Smith make a formidable rearguard partnership.
They say: “We have the best defensive record in the division, but we haven’t been getting the results,” said Liz Cowell, the President and firsts’ Centre. “Nonetheless, one win under our belt and we’re right back in the mix.”
Christmas song: “Frosty the snowman” – it’s bloody cold in that tent.
Photograph by Jason Lozier
How have they done?: After being promoted last year to Conference 2B the men’s team have struggled with the step up in quality and are currently bottom. They’ve had to cope with losing key players to other commitments and, despite having lost four of their five fixtures so far, have beeen involved in some tight encounters. The women’s team have fared better: they are second in Conference 2B having only lost twice.
What next?: Survival is the priority for the men and their next two games against Sheffield and main relegation rivals Leeds seconds are crucial. The women’s team could push for promotion but only have two league games remaining to do so.
Star Player: Calum Fraser, men’s number one and captain, rarely loses and has played some excellent squash so far this season.
They say: Paul Atkinson: “There’s a good club atmosphere, but we need to kick on.”
Christmas song: “Last Christmas” – things were looking much better.