Last Saturday saw the Green and Gold begin their respective Premier Division campaigns, in front of a vibrant crowd at DRSV. The Ladies 1s played out a dramatic 3-3 draw against Loughborough Students, while the Men’s 1s were resigned to a 4-1 defeat against Old Georgians. I was able to have a chat with Men’s goal scorer Louis Tipper and Ladies defender Emma Stewart to discuss Saturday’s action and preview their game(s) against Hamstead & Westminster.
How do you think you fared for the first game of the season?
“I think we did really well, all things considered. They were really strong team, who won the league last year and have got a really strong team again this year. So to lose 4-1 is a reflection of a match that we played really well in and one where we held a good account of ourselves. So I’m happy with the boys and with our performance.”
It was a really nice feeling to celebrate in front of them
How did it feel to score against league holders Old Georgians?
“Yeah, it was a great feeling, it was really nice because we had quite a big crowd there. We made a big deal of the first game week and double header of the season, with the girls team playing as well. So we had quite a few guys and girls down there watching. When the crowd went up and roared [after the goal], it was a really nice feeling to celebrate in front of them.”
What do you think you could have done better against Old Georgians?
“I think for us, it’s really important that we win the transition moments. [Old Georgians] were really quick at reacting when they needed to turn defence into offence and vice versa. So I think that’s a speed of transition that we need to be able to keep up with, if we want to beat teams like them and get results.”
During my interview with captain Max Anderson, last week, he highlighted the challenge of playing with a new group of players every season, as well as the importance of hitting the ground running at the start of the season.
How do you think the new squad is adapting to playing with each other?
The freshers are adapting really well and I think they’re showing it on the pitch
“Yeah, I think we’re learning to play with each other better and better everyday. As Max said, we have got a lot of new guys in, but that’s the nature of uni sport. We’ve always got quite a young squad but the freshers are adapting really well and I think they’re showing it on the pitch. They all played really well for their first week of the season and we’re just learning to play together as a team every week. So I’m excited to see what we can do this year.”
What sort of game are you expecting against Hampstead & Westminster on Saturday?
“I think it’ll be another tough game there. They’re a side that [are] consistently top five, top six in the in the league, so they’ll be strong as ever. Obviously we won’t have the support of our crowd there as well, so that makes it a little bit tougher too. But [in relation to] how we played on the weekend, if we can bring that same form into next week, I think we’ll be just fine.”
Finally, Louis was full of praise for a certain Green and Gold debutant…
“I think I would just highlight that our keeper on the weekend, Jamie Butler was absolutely brilliant, best player on the pitch by miles.”
How did it feel to be out there for the first time this season?
“We were all quite nervous, I think. It’s come around quite quickly this year because we’ve had quite a short pre season. But we were all up for it and we showed that by starting the game so strongly. We came out quickly and played really well at the start of the game.”
How did you regroup after going behind for the first time at the end of the third quarter?
Everyone individually showed a good mentality and stepped up in the last quarter
“We all knew that in the third quarter we didn’t play well at all and that the performance was pretty flat out on the pitch. I think that everyone individually showed a good mentality and stepped up in the last quarter because we knew that we didn’t deserve to be in that position, with the talent that we have on our team. “
“We felt that we deserved to get something out of that game. So we fought really hard in the last quarter because we knew we had to switch it up. We did well to manage a comeback at the end.”
What was the atmosphere like for the first home double header of the season?
“Yeah, it was great, it’s always nice to play in front of a home crowd. I think, especially for us because we’ve had big games in the past where we’ve become accustomed to a home crowd, it actually helps to get us excited rather than nervous. And the home support is always great.”
How will you look to improve against Hampstead & Westminster on Saturday?
“Well, I think it’s a very different game we’re going into because we’ll be playing against experienced and very strong players. It’s actually something to look forward to because while there are no expectations for our side, we have the capability of playing as well as we can.”
I think we have a bit of a personal stake in this
“We played them away twice last year and it didn’t go well at all, for either game, so I think we have a bit of a personal stake in this. We don’t want to feel the way that we did last year because they weren’t great games and it’s such a long way to travel. I think looking to improve on our performance from last week is a great place to start and hopefully that can bring us a result.”
What is one of your personal goals for this season?
“I want to make sure that my performances are as solid as possible, as I play a lot of minutes as a full back, which is quite an important position.”
“Also, helping and communicating with the team, as a third year and my last year in the team, such as the captain [Maddy Axford] and vice captain. Helping them lead the squad, as well as getting the first years up to speed with how things are done and supporting them through their first year in the team.”
To round things off, a final word from Emma…
“We’re all really looking forward to the season and we’re really up for it. The team has been enjoying it so much, playing with each other, so we’re looking forward to the year.”
Both sides will travel south to face Hamstead & Westminster on Saturday, with the Ladies 1s kicking off at 4pm and the Men’s 1s playing at a slightly later time of 6pm.
Featured image courtesy of UoN Sport. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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