Cardiff University Ladies 1s. Image Credit: Cardiff University Ladies Hockey Club

Promotion is ‘within reach’ for high-flying Cardiff University Hockey Team

Cardiff University Ladies 1s have dominated the season with nine consecutive wins and now move closer to the national league

PROMOTION hopes hang in the balance for Cardiff University Ladies 1s as they are set to play the team that is second in the league on Saturday, March 18.

A promotion for the Cardiff side would see them into the West Women’s Premier League, which is a step closer to the top tier of UK women’s hockey – the Vitality Women’s Conference West, which is a national-level England Hockey league.

The Cardiff side sit at the top of the South Wales Women’s Hockey League with second in the league, Swansea Ladies 2s, only a nail-biting two points behind.

It’s such a big match. It is make or break really.”

Charlotte Attridge, Captain of Cardiff University Ladies 1s

Cardiff University Ladies 1s captain Charlotte Attridge said: “It’s such a big match. It is make or break really. We’ve all got to go in positive and confident and play the best hockey we can.”

The match against Swansea is crucial in deciding who gets the promotion. A win in the league means three points on the board. If Swansea wins on Saturday, they would push Cardiff from the top spot – overtaking them by just one point.

Bouncing back

The Cardiff University team have trailblazed their way through the season, collecting 12 wins, one loss and one draw. 

However, they drew 1-1 in their most recent match against Whitchurch Saints 2s.

Cardiff University Ladies 1s v Whitchurch Saints 2s. Image Credit: Will Penrose

The squad are aiming to bounce back from the draw and secure the vital win against Swansea on Saturday. In doing so, they are focusing on improving their weak points from the games in which they drew against Whitchurch – working on their striking and short corner strategy.

Attridge said: “We just kept hitting it at the keeper rather than using the post and our short corners efficiently. For Saturday we are working on getting around that goalie and improving our short corners.”

Nine wins in a row

The university squad has made huge improvements since losing five players last season. Their captain, Attridge, attributes this to a strong sense of camaraderie on and off the pitch.

“As a squad, we’ve clicked better this season. We’ve gained a lot more confidence. There’s constant excitement going into every game,” said Attridge.

“We have all become really good friends. We go to meals together and spend time together off the pitch – so on the pitch, it’s translated into great play and wins.”

Prior to their most recent Whitchurch game, the Cardiff University team had won nine games in a row.

According to Attridge, their only loss at the beginning of the season – 3-1 against Penarth Ladies 2s – was essential in lighting a fire within the squad and changing the tides to make the epic comeback and collect nine consecutive wins.

Attridge said: “You can’t take it away from Penarth, they did beat us and they played well. But coming back from that loss we decided that we needed to be serious and committed, as promotion was and still is well within our reach.’”

Promotion hopes

The success hasn’t been easy to achieve for the side, as the university squad loses players to graduation every season. Also, their coach of seven years, Chris Hardy, is leaving to focus on his own hockey, meaning the future looks uncertain.

Despite the challenges, the team have dug deep and been dedicated, committing to a minimum of one fitness and two training sessions a week, as well as two games – sometimes they do even more.

Attridge said: “It’s been intense. We have had to rearrange some of the games, so we sometimes play three times a week. At one point we had five games in 10 days.”

Cardiff University Ladies 1s v Whitchurch Saints 2. Image Credit: Will Penrose

The promotion to the league above would not only be a great opportunity for the team to play at a higher standard but it would also draw more hockey talent to the university and Cardiff. It would also help the squad to attract a coach of the same quality as Chris Hardy.

The university squad feel confident that if they are successful in achieving a promotion, they will be strong competition for the West Women’s Premier League.

“We have the talent and the depth in our squad to compete in the league above. In pre-season, we beat Gwent Ladies 1s who play in the league above. We are hopeful and excited that we can meet the challenge if we do get promoted,” said Attridge.

The squad are feeling proud of their performance so far in the season and they are hopeful for a promotion, having won 4-0 against Swansea Ladies 2s earlier in the season – but they are not underestimating the Swansea side.

Attridge said: “I feel proud to be their captain and I will be even more proud if we got promoted.”

“It’s going to be a tough game. We have to put everything into it and play well and come away with a win. We can’t drop our standards in any way.”

  • Cardiff University Ladies 1s play against Swansea Ladies 2s at 12 noon March 18 on the Cardiff University Sports Fields