As part of a new weekly feature, we will be picking a highlight BUCS fixture each week to preview, follow and show highlights of as the 2019/20 university season unfolds.
This week, we will be at the University of Birmingham for their opening Women’s Premier 1 North fixture of the 2019/20 season against league newcomers Newcastle.
Newcastle University won the Women’s Northern 1A division last year, earning promotion to the top rung of BUCS lacrosse for the first time since the 2016/17 season.
The North-East side won nine out of their ten league fixtures finishing with an amazing +130 goal difference and reached the semi-final of the BUCS Trophy.
Meanwhile, Birmingham had a more difficult BUCS campaign last year in the Premier North, finishing 5th out of six, winning just two league matches, both against rock bottom Manchester.
They also made it to the BUCS Championship quarter-final with a win against Bristol before losing to eventual winners Durham and will be looking to get off to a good start against the newly promoted side.
Ones to Watch
Birmingham’s efforts this season will be bolstered by the addition of England international attacker Milly Home, who joins as a first year undergraduate.
Home was an instrumental member of the England Under 19 squad at the recent U19 World Championship, tallying 13 goals and three assists including an MVP performance against New Zealand as the team finished fourth.
Another member of the squad, Annie Montgomery, also has experience from the U19 World Championship with Wales and will prove a dangerous asset in attack for the home side.
Meanwhile, Newcastle have their own international representation with Louisa Brophy who was a member of the Irish Under 19s at the World Championship, finishing as their second highest point scorer (9G, 2A) and will be dangerous looking to score around the crease.
Team captain, Freya Cantwell will be looking to form a formidable partnership with Brophy with her characteristic drives and dodges from the top of the 11 that served the Toon so well last season.
And finally, new to the programme this year is exciting American Val Pelling who joins Newcastle after graduating from High Point, NC where the midfielder played D1 lacrosse.
Pelling had a breakthrough season in her senior year tallying 38 points (26G, 12A) as High Point won the Big-South Conference before losing to Navy in the NCAA tournament.
With both teams eager to get their BUCS campaigns up and running, and Newcastle keen to prove themselves again at the top level, it’s set to be a cracking game to begin our BUCS Match of the Week for 2019/20.
Match highlights and interviews will be available on Thursday along with the match report of all the action from Birmingham.