Stirling University Women’s Hockey have had an exponential progression throughout all five of their teams over the 2018/19 season.
With the first and second teams participating every weekend in Scottish Hockey’s Championship League Division 1 and Scottish Midlands Division 2, respectively, in addition to four teams competing at various BUCS levels, this season has brought the most successful year in a long time – something which all 113 members should be proud of!
The 1st XI have numerous achievements to rejoice. Firstly, led by captain Lucy Inglis, they have managed to retain their position in their weekend league after a not so promising first half of the season by relocating from the bottom of the league to finishing in a respectable eighth place.
In BUCS however, they have completed the season unbeaten and promoted back into BUCS 1A – the top BUCS league. Furthermore, they have simultaneously gone unbeaten throughout the tough multiple rounds of the Scottish Students Conference Cup and after a tense semi-final penalty shootout Isla Wightman scored in the sudden-death round to put the team through to the finals against Aberdeen University.
With the full extremities of a strong and talented squad hitting the pitch they thoroughly dominated the game. At 1-1 with a disallowed goal from Lucy Inglis the game went to penalties. A special mention here goes to keeper Eloise de Leeuw, as the game went to sudden death.
With another fabulous save from Eloise, the celebrations began. Stirling University 1st XI had won the BUCS conference cup!
Iona Cruickshank started the season meaning business with her 2nd XI. All season she made it clear her team had something to prove, determined they were not going to narrowly miss out on promotion in BUCS once again (and boy did she follow through).
With a strong team mixed with several first-year newcomers who instantly formed a perfect bond with their new teammates there was no stopping them. They were the team to beat – and only one team could!
Nevertheless, in Catriona O’Donnell, Carolyn Russel, Megan Grant, and Ally Thorburn’s final year they were promoted – their resilience has proved key. Moreover, their determination did not stop here. They also finished 2nd in their weekend league which sets out a fantastic grounding for going one better in this league next year.
The 3rd XI did not stop the upward inclining streak passing through the club this season. They have continued to work with coaches from the men’s side of the club to develop new skills and apply effective communication on the pitch.
The 3s have 8 points in hand, and have significantly increased and decreased the numbers of goals scored and conceded, respectively, compared to last season.
The 4th XI made history this season by converting from a more social squad into BUCS. Although it was a difficult and challenging start with Sophie Marshall and her team being dropped straight into the deep end, the team have come so far over the year and will continue to build on their teamwork and ball skills in the next season to become serious contenders.
Second year Emma McLea must be commended for the tremendous amount of work she has put in within the 5th team. Most of these players have come to university having never played hockey before in their lives – Emma included.
“Over the past year the team has had an extremely successful season. Whilst playing in friendly matches against other University teams each player has improved massively. They have all learned new skills which they can confidently showcase, and each girl has learned something new at every session,” she says.
“As we go into next season, we aim to build upon our knowledge created this year and be the best we can be as a team.”
We’re bringing you season summary pieces for sports teams all across the university, so check back at 2PM every day for another edition of Bleed Green Round-Up.