By Will Jennings and Ella Jerman
Following a dramatic apogee to the Floodlit Cup that saw Collingwood break Grey hearts by snatching a last minute winner in the final, both sides look set for strong campaigns with young and ambitious squads. Hatfield should also be a force, having lost to Grey in an eventful semi-final on penalties under the lights on the crumb.
With Van Mildert winning the Premier Division and a plethora of impressive teams looking to gel over the next few weeks, the college football scene looks to be in strong and competitive shape.
Collingwood A are aiming to win the women’s Premiership title for the third year in a row, but they face fierce competition. Trevelyan A only lost out on the league title on goal difference last season, while third-placed Josephine Butler A beat Collingwood A 5-3 in the Trophy final to prevent the league winners from completing the treble.
Playing rugby on the crumb may be an unenviable task, but Collingwood mastered it last season, marching on to victory in the Floodlit competition while also winning the Premier Division.
Impressive campaigns from Hatfield and St Aidan’s in the top flight also demonstrated the range of talent the college rugby circuit has to offer. Van Mildert’s strong finish last season only adds to the potential for more drama and tenacious tussles this year.
In the women’s game, Graidan’s topped last year’s table with a faultless record of eight wins in eight league matches. Milbut will be looking to mount a serious title challenge this year after losing just once last season to the eventual champions.
Grey A have a lot to live up to in the Women’s Premiership after last year’s success. They maintained a 15-match unbeaten run in their league campaign to top the table last year, scoring 62 goals and conceding only three. St Aidan’s A and St Cuthbert’s A will also be challenging for the top spot after finishing 2nd and 3rd last season respectively.
Meanwhile for the men’s teams, it would take a brave individual to predict the outcome of the imminent men’s hockey season after a strange year that saw Hatfield triumph in the Floodlit Cup yet get relegated from the Premier Division in the process.
St Cuthbert’s will once again be a team to watch following their league success last year, while Collingwood will inevitably present a threat after their impressive showing in both competitions.
Last spring, University A became Premiership champions after winning all but one of their 11 matches. John Snow A could be one of the teams to watch this season if they manage to maintain last season’s impressive record of 336 goals in just 11 matches.
With Collingwood B and University B achieving promotion from Division One, we will see a couple of college derbies in the Premiership this season too. Van Mildert C could be the surprise package in Division One after their promotion if they can replicate their 11-match unbeaten run which earned them promotion last season.
Collingwood A won the Premiership last season with 24 points, closely followed by St John’s A in second with 22 points. Last year’s runners-up will be confident they can clinch the title this year having finished the season with the Premiership’s most impressive goal difference of 55.
The standings were tight in Division One, with just four points separating the top four teams. However, it was St Chad’s A and Van Mildert A that managed to clinch promotion to the top flight.
With the outdoor season not beginning until April, John Snow, Collingwood and Grey will be looking forward to the indoor format beginning following their strong showings last term. The latter two sides were terrific throughout, reaching the final, but with Collingwood triumphing on the day.
Photograph: Durham University