FOOTBALL: RUPERT MERCER finds out what this season holds for the Blues, from football captain Paul Hartley.
The Blues will be hoping for a strong performance this season after missing out on promotion and the Varsity win in previous years.
The Blues’ BUCS campaign will get underway with a visit to Northampton, and after the disappointment of the previous two season’s second place finishes, promotion will surely be at the forefront of the Blues’ minds this year.
Achieving that goal will by no means be easy for Blues skipper Paul Hartley. Competing against Leicester, Bedford and Coventry will make this one of the toughest league campaigns they have faced in the recent past. However, the large number of returning Blues, 12 in all, will make for very healthy competition amongst this year’s squad. The return of two previous Blues captains, Jamie Day and Alex Rutt, will also give Hartley plenty of experience to draw upon.
The league campaign will reach its climax as the 128th Varsity Match draws in. Plans are busily being made behind the scenes to once again have the fixture coincide with the boat race by playing at Fulham’s Craven Cottage. Having out-played, but ultimately lost to Oxford last season and lost out on penalties in 2010, the Blues are desperate to turn the tables this year. The focus will be on combining the passing football of previous campaigns with a newly found ruthless streak.
The Falcons, meanwhile, have had contrasting Varsity fortunes of late with three consecutive Varsity victories. Eight of the victorious 2011 team’s starting XI are returning to Cambridge this year, which not only makes a sustained Falcons league challenge a real possibility but also underlines the strength-in-depth in the University squad. As a result, a sense of optimism is evident throughout CUAFC; a hard earned 1-1 draw for the Blues and an impressive 6-0 victory for the Falcons in the first pre-season games have served to bolster this belief.
The new season will, ask some tough questions of the Blues after last year’s disappointment but with an intense preseason behind them and a promising first round of trials the camp seems positive this season will be different.