Connor Lloyd, wearing a blue mouth guard, swoops down with his stick to reach the hockey ball.
Connor Lloyd hit four in the first half for Edge Hill. © Ian Shard

Despite a reduced fixture list, there were plenty of talking points for Edge Hill University’s sports teams as the BUCS campaign neared its conclusion.

The men’s firsts hockey team warmed up for the Varsity clash this month with UCLAN by defeating their firsts 9-3, keeping their promotion hopes alive in Northern Tier 2 in the process. A four-goal first-half haul from Man of the Match Connor Lloyd, plus a brace from skipper Matthew Stacey and one from Will Bookless, gave the Greens a commanding seven-goal lead at the break. 

Sloppy defending let the visitors in to make the score a touch more respectable in the second half, although further goals were added by Ross Gordon and Levi Racz. The result leaves Edge Hill five points off top spot with three matches left, but with games in hand on the teams above them with remaining fixtures including the return against UCLAN and a clash with leaders Lancaster firsts.

Such has been the dominance of the men’s badminton squad this season that the only shock in them completing the first half of a hoped-for double is that it has come this late in the campaign. They did it in style, too, securing the Northern Tier 3 title by defeating nearest challengers Chester firsts 6-2 – their 13th successive victory in all competitions. 

Jodie Talbot jumps up and reaches her racket behind her in an attempt to hit the shuttlecock.
Jodie Talbot reaches for a wayward shot. © Ian Shard

Also in the same division, the seconds went down 6-2 to Manchester thirds, while the women’s firsts suffered a 7-1 defeat at the hands of Lancaster firsts in Northern Tier 2.

The men’s rugby union firsts claimed a hard-fought 12-7 victory at Manchester thirds in Northern Tier 4 that should have been a lot more comfortable than the scoreline suggests. Alex Gaughan crossed for the first try five minutes before the break, converted by Harry Deveney, with Shaun Tipping’s breakaway try proving decisive in what was a card-riddled second 40.

Manchester’s score came late on and they were then forced to hang on through seven extra minutes of added-on time before securing their third successive win. The result moves the Beavers up to second place with one fixture remaining.

Maria Cardova hits the ground while attempting to reach the volleyball.
Maria Cardova on the stretch. © Steve Walker

The women’s firsts volleyball squad suffered an agonising semi-final defeat to Manchester seconds, going down 3-2 in the Northern Conference Cup. Two-down in sets (22-25, 17-25), the Greens came back strongly to win the third and fourth 25-17 and 28-26 respectively, before going down 15-13 in the decider.

There was better news for Edge Hill firsts football team though, who have maintained their Northern Tier 2 status after securing a 3-2 victory at rock-bottom Liverpool John Moores seconds. 

While in basketball it was a long afternoon for the women’s firsts, who had to make do with only one player on their bench as opposed to the wealth of options afforded to a full strength home side as they were outclassed 95-19 at Bradford firsts in Northern Tier 2.

In other news, the Edge Hill swimming team recently competed in the BUCS Nationals Long Course Championships at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge. Impressive individual personal best performances came from Hannah Jones (50m freestyle and 50m fly) and Sam Trevor in the 50m and 100m freestyle – while Amy Richardson was placed in the top 20 in 50m fly.