The University of Manchester Women’s Hockey Club (UMWHC) is the largest women’s only sports club, with five squads competing in Wednesday BUCS leagues against other universities, and a further four teams competing in a weekend league against local Manchester teams. The teams span a wide range of abilities and have all experienced success in their leagues this year. UMWHC is run by a committee of 15 second and third year students from all teams, with the aim of organising and developing the club for current and future members.
UMWHC is a competitive club, always striving to put the best team performance possible out on the pitch; the results this season have proved this. The most notable performance came from the fifth team, winning eight out of the nine BUCS matches played, finishing with a great goal difference of 32 to secure promotion. In contrast, the first team had a difficult season, facing opposition such as Loughborough and Birmingham University second teams. They fought well but faced relegation by the end of the season. The other three teams displayed some strong performances, which allowed them to finish mid-table and retain their positions in their respective leagues for next season.
In addition to the BUCS matches, all the girls spend some of their time on the weekends playing local Manchester teams in weekend leagues. Following a big restructure this year of the teams UMWHC put out, the second, third, and fourth teams ended up competing against teams that were one, or even two, leagues above their previous positions. The girls took this as a challenge, and instead of being demoralised when the usual winning streak was not replicated, they used the improved competition from the opposition to hone their skills and improve team chemistry. This translated to stronger performances against other universities to help secure the many successes and rack up the BUCS points.
After the hard work put in by all of the girls at Wednesday BUCS matches, there is always a greatly attended weekly social on a Wednesday night. All the teams come together to share celebrations, or on occasion, commiserations, for the earlier results with other members of the club. This ensures great friendships are made across all five of the teams, contributing to the great sense of community and togetherness. Being a large club, there are many traditions that have been established over the years, such as the games played at the socials and enjoying a cider black or two at Squirrels Bar. Throughout the year there have been a wide variety of social events put on in addition to weekly AU nights. Particularly unforgettable nights include the Christmas ball and the pub quiz.
As a club, 54 of the girls are running in the Great Manchester 10K run, the largest single society turn out of all AU clubs. We are fundraising for the EY foundation to raise money to help young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, find alternative routes to employment, education or even to help them set up their own businesses. It is a fantastic charity and the first time UMWHC has been fundraising for them. So many girls taking part shows the importance of the club to its members; they are willing to put in extra work and commitment out of season to help the club in its fundraising efforts. Overall, it has been a fantastic year for UMWHC, and I have enjoyed being a part of it.
If you are interested in playing hockey for university contact us via Facebook. Trials for next season will take place at the beginning of the new academic year.