The Title Race
Let Tab Sport take you through all the drama of the Division 1 college football title race.
Lent term sees the culmination of the football season in Cambridge, and the race for the Division 1 title is hotting up. We hear from the Captains of the four sides who are battling it out at the top.
Fitz are riding high at the top of the league with a 100% record. They came closest to defeat at Christ’s, where a last-gasp winner got them out of trouble in a 4-3 thriller.
Captain Donald Bogle said of last term: “We had a great run which has put us in a good position to challenge for the title. We’ve been fortunate to add a couple of excellent freshers to the squad whilst retaining last year’s crucial players up front and in midfield.”
On Fitz’s title chances, he was cautious: “We still have many of the big teams to play this term so we must at least maintain our level from before Christmas to have a shot at taking the necessary points and winning the league.”
From their performances this year, Fitz seem to have what it takes to go all the way. The question is, with no title in seven years, do they have the head for heights necessary to finish top of the pile?
Remaining fixtures: Queen’s (a), Caius (h), Homerton (a), Jesus (h)
Homerton look like Fitz’s main challengers and are only two points off the pace, having had an unbeaten Michaelmas. Having come so close last year, when they finished second to Downing, they’re determined to seize league glory. They’re led by Rafe Fletcher, who suggested that while the title is out of their hands, they still have a shot. “We’ve got a massive first game back against Downing. If we win that then we’ve got every chance of overhauling Fitz at the top.”
“The team performed well all last term. We showed that we can still play some really good football but that we can also defend well when necessary, such as in our goalless draw with Jesus.”
“We’ve got to try and get bigger matchday squads. We’ve had to play a couple of games with no subs and if that continues, it could backfire on us.”
Some huge games await Homerton, against both title contenders and sides desperately battling to avoid the drop. If they can get a result against Downing they’ll be nicely set for a final assault on top spot.
Remaining fixtures: Downing (h), Emma (a), Fitz (h), Caius (a)
Reigning champions Downing are poised to strike, being just three points behind the leaders. Some impressive displays have given them the belief that the title is possible, and they certainly have the experience. Skipper Rob Dunn let us know what he thought of the team’s chances:
“We gave 100% in every game last year. We ground out results in some really tricky games and showed true character.”
“It’s all in Fitz’s hands. We will be right behind them until the end though and will do all we can to stay in it. Our greatest challenge will be to keep up the standard of our performances from last term. I believe we can do it though, with the players we’ve got.”
You can’t dismiss last season’s champs, but they really need to hit the ground running against Homerton and Jesus to stand a chance.
Remaining fixtures: Homerton (a), Jesus (h), Selwyn (a), King’s (h)
Too many draws have left Jesus six points off top spot, although their unbeaten Michaelmas suggests they’re not to be written off. Skipper Niall Purcell let us know what he thought:
“In the first couple of matches against Caius and Homerton we dominated, played good passing football and simply paid for a lack of composure in front of goal. However, with time, it feels as though the team is getting into a rhythm and there’s a respect and camaraderie amongst the players which I’m confident will show through in the closing stages.”
On Jesus’ title hopes: “Frankly, it’s out of our hands. We need results to go our way over the next couple of matches to allow us back into the title race in earnest. However, if Fitz slip up it will set up a rather interesting finale. And hopefully our fans will continue to turn out in force and drive us on to glory.”
A realistic assessment, and though anything can happen in football, it’s a big ask for Jesus to overtake the three teams ahead of them. However, wins against Downing and Fitz could see them complete a memorable turnaround this term.
Remaining fixtures: Christ’s (h), Downing (a), Emma (h), Fitz (a)
How the league looks going into Lent