By Jack Wynne – Sports Editor
Jessica Newton, captain of the women’s football 1st team, has seen her side pick up some mixed results during their first season in the Northern 1A division.
After securing two trophies in the last campaign, the team have won three out of seven domestic matches and exited the cup at the last 16 stage.
Despite the indifferent form, Newton believes the team has adapted “really well” since earning promotion to a higher division.
“Everyone seems to have taken it in their stride and the fact that each and every one of them has put in 100% means the transition between leagues has been comfortable.”
Jessica believes the players have all done a good job of managing the expectation that came with winning the Northern 2A league last season.
“They have all just focused on this season and put in the maximum effort.
“The new players that have come into the team this year have got an insight into what we have done” she said.
Newton, who is currently in her 2nd season with the club, is happy with the mix of players in the side but thinks they will be able to make a big impact next season.
“This time, the new players are either in their first or second year so there is a lack of experience.
“I think next season everyone will be used to each other and we can push on in this league and hopefully improve.”
Last year, UCLan lifted the Conference Cup in dramatic fashion, edging the Durham University 2nds with a 5-4 victory in the final.
The hopes of making the final for a second consecutive season came to an end a few weeks ago following a comprehensive 7-0 defeat against the University of Edinburgh at the UCLan Sports Arena.
UCLan had negotiated Scottish opposition in the previous round, thrashing Robert Gordon University 1sts 5-0 and travelling over 600 miles to face the Aberdeen-based side.
Newton, 20, was disappointed not to progress further this campaign but admitted they came up against tough opponents in the last round.
“I think the quality of the other side showed,” she said. “They had not lost a game all season.”
Although the quality of the other side was clear, Jessica didn’t believe the opposing team was any better on the ball.
“I don’t think the other team was any more technically gifted,” Newton told Pluto. “They were able to train three times a week which did show during the course of the game.”
When asked what her highlight of the season has been Jessica said it was a privilege just to be the captain of the team.
“It has been great to take responsibility for the whole team throughout the course of this season.
“Making sure that everyone is focused and most importantly, enjoying their time with the team has been an experience which I have really appreciated.
“The fact that they all have the same goals and want to progress as far as possible makes my job even easier.”