The women's first team footballers go in for a tackle.
The first-team footballers claimed the University’s Team of the Week accolade

The first day of the new British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) season produced some encouraging displays on a challenging first afternoon for many of Edge Hill University’s teams.

The women’s first-team footballers claimed the University’s Team of the Week accolade after seeing off Bangor University 5-1 in Ormskirk.

Annabel Ainscough, Molly Barton and Lea Winter were amongst the goalscorers for the hosts, with Katie Evans earning Player of the Match plaudits in a performance made all the more impressive with the team having lost many of their squad from last term. 

Their male second-team counterparts also got their season off to a flyer, securing an impressive 5-3 victory at University of Manchester seconds.

The men’s hockey players began life in Northern 2A with an impressive 3-2 victory at Manchester Metropolitan University firsts in blustery conditions. The Northern 3A champions have struggled to bolster their ranks in the off-season, but continuity proved key with Man of the Match Connor Lloyd (2) and Ross Gordon strikes thwarting the hosts’ efforts, who had twice pegged back the visitors before Lloyd’s second late on secured a first three points of the campaign. There was no joy for the women’s seconds though, who went down to a 5-0 home defeat to Liverpool John Moores seconds.

It was a disappointing start for last season’s Northern 1A runners-up Edge Hill Tigers, who went down to a 56-6 defeat in their rugby league opener at University of Liverpool firsts. The Tigs had little answer to a blistering start from the hosts, who raced into a 28-point lead before they could get on the board, Ben Legge crossing on his bow courtesy of Brad Calland’s pass, with skipper Nathan Taylor kicking the conversion from out wide.

It was a case of ‘so near, yet so far’ as all three netball sides succumbed to defeat in their opening fixtures. Ella Clague earned the plaudits of her team-mates in the seconds’ 36-20 home reverse to Manchester fifths, while the thirds ran University of Chester seconds close, with Beth Turnbull earning their Player of the Match honours in their 34-32 reverse. Meanwhile, Libby Bougler caught the eye in the fourths’ 26-22 loss to Salford seconds.

A new-look firsts basketball team, who won only twice in the league last term, got their Northern 3A season off to a winning start as they saw of Bangor firsts 62-59 on home soil, but there was no such joy for the seconds, beaten 53-32 by York St John seconds.

First impressions suggest that life at the higher level for the women’s firsts, last year’s Northern 3A champions, may prove more challenging as they went down 91-27 to Liverpool John Moores firsts, with injuries also proving a factor first-up. One of the Ducks’ players forced to miss out, Lucia Neri, commented: “I am annoyed and it was hard being on the treatment table and not playing, but we definitely can compete in this league. We are a completely new team with very few returning players. We just need to get used to playing as a team together and continue to build confidence.”

Badminton did at least provide one positive result, as status won out in the men’s seconds v firsts encounter, the ‘away’ side, last term’s Northern 3A runners-up, prevailing 6-2. Alas the women’s teams began with home defeats, the firsts going down 5-3 to Sheffield firsts, while the seconds failed to get on the board against Manchester seconds.

One new team established for 2019/20 is the women’s firsts tennis squad, who’ll be hoping to improve on their 12-0 whitewash at Manchester seconds next time out.