After closing the gap on Trent in the Basketball and Netball, Uni will be looking to take the lead for the first time this Varsity series in the Hockey on Friday. With the crucial fixture only days away, Impact caught up with the women’s captain, Celia Butler, to gain an insight into the season so far and the final preparations for the biggest match on the hockey calendar!
The team have faced a momentous challenge this season after being promoted to the Premier League and having to face such renowned teams as Loughborough and Durham. Despite the daunting task ahead of them, they managed some fantastic performances to come 5th and retain their deserved place in the league.
When asked what the best moment of the season was, the answer came without hesitation. Beating Loughborough! The girls beat the acclaimed sporting University 3-2 in a tense and nerve-racking match and were so overjoyed with the result that they were calling their parents during the cool down, unable to wait to regale them with their achievement. But the fantastic and surprising performances did not stop there. After a crushing 4-0 defeat to Durham early in the season, the team showed their grit and determination to come back and beat them 3-2 just over a month later.
Of course, the season has not been without its downfalls, with the snow disrupting performances and injuries plaguing the team. The captain herself has faced a long line of injuries, spending the majority of the win against Durham in the back of a St John’s Ambulance after a nasty blow to the thumb. She is currently nursing a hamstring injury, making her a doubt for the Varsity meeting on Friday.
Despite this obvious set-back, the team has a great deal of strength in depth. One of the key players to look out for on Friday include the sweeper, Helen Ferguson, whose been a solid presence throughout the season and is not afraid to put any part of her body in front of the ball, including her head! Other prominent players include the centre-midfield, Katherine Baker; England player, Jo Hunter; and Becky Eaton.
The team are raring to go and intend to end their season on a high with a win against Trent at Varsity. They’ve faced the Trent team once already this season in a friendly which they won 2-0. However, with last year’s embarrassing and surprising defeat hanging over their heads, Celia has urged the team not to become too complacent. The team will need to focus on playing well and proving to everybody why they belong in the Premier League.
When asked how a Varsity win would compare with the win against Loughborough, Celia stated that it was definitely up there but that it was on a different level. The win against Loughborough was about national pride, whereas a win against Trent at Varsity would be a matter of local pride. But, don’t let this downgrade the importance and significance of the match. The team have been anticipating this match since the start of the season and are determined to take revenge and get another point on the board for Uni in the 2011 Varsity series.