Newcastle Women’s firsts started their season with a disappointing 13-7 defeat to a strong Edinburgh side. It was destined to be a tough match from the off, with Edinburgh having beaten last year’s BUCS champions, Sheffield Hallam, the week before. The first team line-up was drastically altered, with Eloise Churchill, Sophie Sowerby, and Sarah Poyntz all making their debuts for the Uni.
Newcastle got off to a promising start in the first quarter, with Quayle winning the swim off, giving her side possession. Unfortunately, they failed to capitalise on this, with Edinburgh’s keeper saving all of their shots. Newcastle’s determination was eventually rewarded with a goal by newcomer Sowerby, briefly giving them the lead, before Edinburgh quickly countered with a lucky lob from their centre forward which drifted into the net. Two successive goals from Edinburgh followed as they took advantage of being a man-up, due to an infraction committed by Newcastle, bringing the score to 3-1 in Edinburgh’s favour by the end of the first quarter.
Savage defensive work by Edinburgh continued in the second quarter, making life difficult for the home side. This was especially felt by centre forward Churchill, who was outnumbered in the pit, but more than held her own. An impressive turnover by captain Emma Little gave Newcastle another opportunity to score, as they formed an arc at Edinburgh’s end, but the shot grazed the crossbar.
Savage defensive work by Edinburgh continued in the second quarter, making life difficult for the home side.
That failure to convert was duly punished by the visitors, as they mounted a series of attacks. Uni keeper Jess Newman was called upon on a number of occasions to keep the score at 6-1 by half time.
Following a disappointing second quarter, Newcastle re-formed and attacked with vigour, opting for a full-pitch press under the instruction of head coach Andy Little. This put Edinburgh under pressure and made for a high-octane third quarter. After losing the swim off and conceding two goals Newcastle fought back, using a man-up to pass the ball around the arc, resulting in a goal from Poyntz. More goals followed soon after, with Charlotte Blyth scoring from the wing and Sowerby adding a second goal to her tally. This was a marked improvement for Newcastle following their slow start and it seemed like they were back in with a chance. Both sides fought strongly for the duration of the third quarter, with more goals from both teams bringing the score to 11-6.
A re-invigorated Newcastle side started the fourth quarter strongly, with Sowerby completing her hat trick. Two goals from Edinburgh in the closing minutes made the final score 13-7, a somewhat unfair reflection of Newcastle’s efforts, a thought seconded by captain Emma Little, who said that despite the final score, “it was a good first match”. Coach Andy Little, who commended the “good work of all the girls, despite a slow start”, echoed such sentiments.
All in all, it was a promising start for Newcastle, who showed real potential. Given the time to properly bond, they could be real contenders in the northern league this year.
Newcastle will face both Loughborough and Durham next weekend, where they hope to build on last week’s performance.