Sunday 27th November 2016 ko 14.00
FA Women’s Premier League- Midlands Division 1
LOUGHBOROUGH STUDENTS WOMEN 1 (Colledge 68)
LONG EATON UNITED LADIES 4 (Newton 2 62 Moulton 40 Pashley 74)
Att 12 at Holywell Pitch 4, Loughborough University
For somewhere a two-hour drive from Oxford I don’t half see a lot of Loughborough University! It is of course entirely logical that a football enthusiast should see a lot of Britain’s leading university for sport, starting with the Paddock Pitch for Loughborough Students’ game with the now sadly defunct Woodbourne Sports. Then there was the more straightforward visit to the Holywell Stadium for Longborough University’s match with Heanor Town. Last time I discussed the relationship between town and university, but those games, and this visit hints at another relationship altogether.
This Sunday saw the relationship in close focus, as Loughborough Foxes Women played in the same division in the main stadium while the students’ team played on the altogether more humble surroundings of a pitch next door to the beach volleyball court.
The difference between the sides is unusual, the Foxes are the team of the university while the students are the team of the Students’ Union. That’s in contrast to the situation in just about every other university where all sport tends to fall under the auspices of the Students Union. In fact, during my time playing (badly) for the University of North London’s 5th XI half the battle was fighting the political parties for funding! Mind you being a geography undergraduate did come with the implicit advantage of it being assumed that my sense of direction would be bad enough to spare me driving the minibus!
25 years on from that, the two games played saw Loughborough Foxes, top of the table beat Rotherham United Ladies 7-1. My game saw Loughborough Students lose 4-1 to Long Eaton in a game made all the more remarkable by the visitors turning up with just 11 players and no recognised keeper! There weren’t many there to watch, a few friends and a Long Eaton eccentric who sang a song (solo) for each Long Eaton player!
The students are bottom of the table, the fourth tier of the women’s game in England, but were far from disgraced in this tie. As is often the case, the difference was that Long Eaton were that little bit more clinical, but as the sun set and the temperature dropped this was a satisfying game to watch.