It has been a remarkable first half of the season for St Aidan’s Women’s A. Having finished 4th in the league last year, they now sit three points clear at the top of Division 1 with an unbeaten record for the season and a staggering goal difference of +30. The teams consists fully of College players and none of the squad represent Team Durham at any level. A prolific strike force and solid defence have long been the ingredients of many brilliant football teams. Yet what has been the key to their unprecedented success?
Captain Katie Gardner is modest in her assessment of their position. Gardner said “I think we have always been a good football team. However last season, we never really had the confidence. We had some early defeats which were disappointing and it set the tone for a lot of our season. At the end of last season, we vowed that we would go into this year with a positive attitude and belief. We went into the first game of the season against Collingwood B, with the whole squad confident in the team’s ability. As a result, we beat Collingwood B 8-1. From then on, we haven’t looked back”.
In such form, Aidans look certain for promotion to the Premiership. However Gardner is not assuming that it is a formality and is fully aware of the importance of their next few fixtures before Premiership football can become a reality. “We have had some great results this seasons but our next two matches are the most difficult of the season. Cuths A (3rd) and Hatfield A (2nd) have both been impressive this season. Until we get good results in those two games, we can’t get carried away thinking about promotion.”
However, few have been able to stop the Aidans juggernaut this season. Only Collingwood A have beaten them this year, winning 3-0 in the Floodlit Cup. Gardner admits that was a disappointment but it did not prove to trigger a run of bad form for the team. Aidan’s went on to pick up the maximum 12 points for the Michaelmas term and maintain their unbeaten record. They also progressed in the Trophy at the expense of Premiership side Ustinov A, a magnificent win that has only served to boost team morale even higher.
With four games to go and two trophies to play for, the possibility of an “Invincibles” double-winning team writing itself into Aidan’s history books is still on the cards.
Photograph: Emily Benton