Jamal Thomas Rizvi reports on UCL’s unfortunate 7-0 defeat in Varsity Women’s Hockey
Kick off, or what I was later told is called ‘push back’ was at 6.30. I arrived at 5.30, meaning an extra hour in the cold, but also a sneak preview of the girls’ skills with their sticks and balls, in the warm up. UCL’s coach, David Vidler, was thrilled to be asked for a snippet to go into Pi, and responded with, ‘We have played King’s twice already this season,’ (when he says ‘played’ he means ‘lost to’) ‘They are the best in the league. But we are on a progressive streak and our form has been improving. Half of the team is last year’s Second Team so we’ve done well coping with students moving on.’ And with what was to come, those players that left would be glad they did; this match, although a lot of fun and a great atmosphere, was rather one-sided.
It didn’t start well either. We lost the coin toss. But it wasn’t a coin. It was a ‘whistle thingy’ according to Captain Ellie (she kind of sounds like a superhero when I put it like that). If it had been a coin we would have won the toss, because Ellie ‘always wins with the coins!’ Somehow though, I don’t think the ‘critical’ coin toss affected the game very much.
In the crowd, the girls were deafening while the guys were relatively silent. Maybe in their minds the guys were still in the library? After all, we at UCL do have to work harder than those at KCL. Or perhaps it was the alcohol consumption on the behalf of the girls that did it? It’s probably the latter come to think of it, as I spoke to a few Third Team Freshers, Emily Adams and Alex Miller, pre-match who said ‘Sorry if the quote is shit, we’re drunk. We’re buzzed right now (we’re not high). UCL have been working hard! Thirds have butties. Firsts train.’
So the overall score was 7-0 to KCL. I know you guys don’t want me to go into every excruciating detail about how we lost. That would just be depressing. Instead, let’s focus on the positives; and now I have to try and think of some…
Early on in the match, when we were only trailing 1-0 (that narrow deficit didn’t last for very long) Lydia Harper came close to equalising with a well worked free kick courtesy of Charlotte Scarr’s nifty skills down the left wing. Serefina De Felice created several good chances and her efforts were rewarded by the crowd serenading her with various different ‘Fina’ related chants. The keeper, Jordan Wathen, despite the fact we lost 7-0 was in fact, was one of UCL’s best players on the night. I feel without her quick reflexes and strong saves it may have been even more embarrassing. Who would have thought it could get more embarrassing? Plus she was one of my favourites because she looked rather warm with all her padding. I was jealous. The superhero that is Captain Ellie unfortunately did not come to the rescue, but her resolve and optimism was admirable, reinforcing to the girls at half time (and half time means 5-0 down) that it’s imperative ‘to keep our heads up!’ She did her captain’s armband justice.
All in all, I think the fact that our fans were the loudest when either a KCL chance at goal was stopped, or when we actually managed to get the ball out of our own half, sums up the match. Great support. Great team of girls. Just unfortunately, an ever greater King’s side.
All image credits: Carolyn Brown, Pi Photographer