Whether it is on-field success or strong social showings, Oxford football has consistently proven itself to be one of the university’s premier sports clubs. This year, more than ever, the Women’s Blues and Furies are at the heart of its success. Competing in the BUCS league and cup, the women’s teams boast burgeoning memberships, impressive results and exciting longterm prospects. Whilst this year’s campaign is in its infancy, an impressive 6-0 triumph away at the University of Derby has only served to heighten the Blues’ early season excitement. Braces from Colleen Lopez and captain Caroline Ward confirmed an emphatic response to a season-opening defeat to Nottingham Trent the previous week. Helen Bridgman and Christina Gough were also on the score sheet to ensure Trent’s last-minute winner was all but forgotten.
The women’s second team, the Furies, took on Staffordshire University (Stoke) on Wednesday 21st October. It was a physical encounter in which the Furies emerged triumphant, strikers Mary Hintze and Habiba Daggash peppering the Stoke goal line throughout the game. Hintze took the first goal, receiving a pinpoint-accurate cross from Lucy Balasz. The right winger Balasz followed up with another strike, with a third and fourth soon following for the Furies. A second half come back from Stoke, left the final score at 4-1 to the Dark Blues.
With rapidly improving team chemistry and a string of talented individuals, a repeat of the 2013/14 promotion winning season is certainly high on the agenda. Emulating last season’s three- and five-goal thrashings of the club’s Light Blue contemporaries is an equally important aspiration. For the Furies, last term’s victories over Brookes and BCU are this year’s benchmark for success.
At college level, the women’s football set-up is equally impressive; a four-division collegiate league system and a fiercely fought out Cuppers competition is testament to that. Whilst the campaign proper has yet to begin, last year’s champions Worcester will be hoping to mount another serious title challenge.
Mili Malde, this year’s incoming captain for Wadham/Green Templeton Women’s, knows the strains and stresses of a new season better than most. Wadham/Green Templeton had a tough season last year, finishing second last in the Women’s 2nd Division with three points. Though losing captain and goalkeeping inspiration Diana Greenwald to an American PhD programme, Malde is hopeful that the surge in interest at the college freshers fair will translate into a crop of eager new players. “I’ve seen so many talented new players its difficult to know where to start, but fresher Louise Nolan, and a second year, Lea Kambskarð-Bennett have particularly caught the eye.”
The influx of new players and rise in participation in women’s football as a whole, ensures this season will be the most exciting yet.