Women’s Football: Confidence building ahead of Varsity

MEGAN HUGHES looks back at the team’s performance so far, and finds reasons to be optimistic for Varsity.

megan hughes Women's football womens blues womens football cambridge

With Michaelmas and the promise of another successful year in the league ahead of them, the Blues began this season’s campaign with an intensive pre-season schedule, for the first time ever. Pre-season wasn’t the sole new addition for the girls; they were lucky enough to secure the funding of their new sponsor, Quilter, who are keen to support the players and the team in their pursuit of victory.

On the back of this preparation and the sponsor’s backing, the Blues went into their first game with a confidence and an enthusiasm which saw them battle hard to clinch a draw to a decent side away from home. Having incorporated several talented new players into its ranks, the next few weeks saw the players begin to harmonise well, and correspondingly saw a series of victories for a Blues side boasting a solid defensive line-up and a voracious attacking unit.

With clean sheets becoming a regularity, the team quickly placed itself in contention for a successive league victory on the back of last season’s promotion. The Blues had an unfaltering response to an unexpected draw against the league’s stragglers, Oxford, on a day when set plays just didn’t quite come to fruition and successive shots ricocheted off the crossbar; they have readily launched themselves into preparation for the rest of the season lying before them.

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Already this year they have braved the glacial conditions to train on a pitch more permafrost than grass (meanwhile, the men’s Blues team sunned themselves in La Manga). Braving numb toes and stinging foreheads, the girls have ensured that they will go into next week’s game against the University of Birmingham’s women with a steady self-assurance and a coherent playing style.

If their pre-term energy and desire to take the title is anything to go by, the women’s Blues are hardly a team to be underestimated, and they’ve got a score to settle. A mere few days before the long-relished Varsity clash (taking place at Fenner’s on 23rd February) they face their age-old rivals Oxford once more in the league, and this time, the players are positive: they will not lose.

This year’s new team coach, Jon Mackenzie, arrived with an unparalleled enthusiasm and a magnetic tactic board. After a term in the role, he certainly appears to have confidence in the girls’ chances of success, not only in their league campaign but more significantly in the upcoming Varsity match. In recent years the Blues have been marginally found wanting by the Oxford line-up, but there’s a feeling amongst the players, in their changing room, and on the pitch; this year, they will turn the tide, and they will beat Oxford.