Matt and Fran looking menancingDik Ng

With under a week to go until the Varsity football matches kick off, Varsity spoke to the Blues captains Fran Steele and Matt Hawthorn about their seasons so far, their fast and technical style of play and, of course, Oxford.

The women’s Blues have had an excellent season so far. They are currently second in their league and have reached the final of the BUCS National Cup. Fran, their captain, says: “for us its been a very successful season”. The men have had a slightly more difficult season. Matt says: “We’ve had a mixed bag of results”. He says that the team “started the season with a few losses, built up some form going into Michaelmas, but dropped a few points here and there against sides we should have taken points away from, so at the moment we’re going down this year.” Nevertheless, he remains positive about their Varsity prospects: “looking back at the season we’ve had a lot of really strong performances.” They “beat the league leaders and probable runners-up at home”, so he says there are “lots of positives to take into the Varsity match.”

Fran is also, understandably, looking forward to the Varsity match: “I think we’re super confident, it’s never good to be overly confident. We know that Oxford are a great side but I think, on the back of the season we’ve had, we’re going in with full confidence and I’m really excited for the game.” Matt shares this confidence and is also wary of slipping into arrogance. He has good reason for this, stating: “we’ve had, I guess, the fortune of playing Oxford twice this year, with one win and one loss, so we know that we can beat them but also that its quite close, so we’re wary of going into it with too much confidence, but we’re confident.”


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Much of the women’s success this year has come from their style of play. Fran describes it as “simple football. We try and play through the thirds, and I think we’ve got some really exciting forwards this year that are gonna put the ball in the back of the net for us, hopefully.” She says that fans coming to the match should “expect good football, good intensity, good workrate on and off the ball and hopefully a lot of goals”, courtesy of the Blues lightning-quick wingers and sharpshooting strikers. The men also play the game in a beautiful way. Matt says: “We’ve played with Blatchy (our coach) for three years no, so we’ve kind-of been playing Blatchyball (as he likes to call it), which is a lot of fast-moving football, and hard workrate off the ball.” However, replicating their usual style of play in the Varsity match will be tougher than usual, as he admits: “It’s quite easy to get drawn into a longball game when we play Oxford, so we’re cautious of trying to stay away from that and play the usual football we play.”

Both captains emphasised how the overall strength of the team would be crucial against the Dark Blues. Fran said: “For us, I think, it’s got to go down to the strength of the team, I don’t think there’s one particular player to look out for across all the positions.” She added: “We’ve got great coverage even when we go to the bench, so yeah, team performance for sure.” Matt concurred, saying: “everyone in the team chips in here and there, everyone can have a match winning performance so it’s just whether we turn up on the day.” Both captains hope this strength across the board will be enough to avenge last year’s double defeat by Oxford, and bring the trophies back to Cambridge.

The Blues Football Varsity Match will be held at Leyton Orient’s Breyer Group Stadium on Sunday 19 March. You can buy tickets via CUAFC’s website by following the link in their Instagram bio