Club: Durham University Women’s Cricket Club
College: St Hild and St Bede
Degree Studying: Business Economics
6th November 2011
People assume that being a cricketer means that the winter is easy for you because there aren’t matches and, let’s be honest, most people’s opinion on cricket is shaped slightly by the Magners advert: How hard can it be? See ball, hit ball and maybe run occasionally!!
This is where people are sadly mistaken. The winter is when all the hard work is done and being part of the Durham University MCC Academy and training with the women means that I spend around 8 -10 hours each week at Maiden Castle. So here’s what my standard week is like:
Monday is a ‘training-free’ day so it’s a day where I have to crack on with work and attend seminars. It is always slightly hectic, with trying to do work and go to lectures, but don’t forget the early bed as it’s down to Maiden Castle for 7 am on Tuesday.
The start of Tuesday is signalled as I am woken by my alarm clock beeping at 6am! For a student 6am ‘wake-ups’ may seem foreign, but you get used to it very quickly. Before you know it, 7am has arrived and you are greeted with the site of the track and the prospect of several 800m runs before a core work out. As difficult as it is, you definitely reap the rewards. At 8am (ish) it’s time to head back, have a shower, have some breakfast and then off to lectures before finishing for the day at 1pm. The afternoon generally involves more work before sitting in the lounge with housemates for tea and games.
Wednesday is a day of no lectures, but this doesn’t mean that it is a free day!! I tend to try and do some of my seminar work for the upcoming week before heading down to Maiden Castle to have weights at 4pm.
Thursday comes around all too soon and despite only having one lecture at 5pm, there is still the small fact of seminars. So Thursday generally involves going to seminars and, like Wednesday, trying to get ahead with next week’s work. Thursday is a day when I am early to bed ready for the early morning alarm call on Friday.
Friday isn’t quite as early a morning as Tuesday because we train down by the cathedral, so at 6.25am the beeping starts up again. Friday’s session is a killer with hill runs, which involves sprinting up the hill and jogging back down it for 25 minutes with no rest. I can already feel the benefits of this, but at the time your hamstrings don’t like the early morning workout. Then after this it’s the short walk back before more lectures and then a deserved evening off.
Saturday is a day for a lie in and no cricket, then catching up on the weeks work and finishing any seminar preparation for next week that I couldn’t do on Wednesday and Thursday.
Sunday is another early start: 8am meeting down at Maiden Castle for a 9am start for women’s training. Then I go back to the house for lunch and then back down to Maiden Castle in the evening for more weights. Before you know it it’s Monday morning and all of it starts again.
1st December 2011
A month has passed since the last time I sat down to write a blog and it has been a hectic month! With the end of term rapidly approaching there is no let-up in both training and work.
The last month has been geared around developing fitness levels and core strength and stability, meaning there have been some gruelling sessions on the rubber crumb and some hill running down by the Cathedral. Only time will tell if the hard work has been worthwhile when we have fitness testing in the last week of term - you can certainly feel yourself getting fitter and stronger though.
The month off over Christmas will be used as a recovery period, with a lull in training. However, so that the hard work over the last term is not wasted, there will still be some running to do over the holiday to maintain a level of fitness.
Plus, when we get back there are the indoor finals so this is when we (hopefully) see the hard work pay off.
27th January 2012
The start of the new term couldn't come quick enough with the indoor finals at Lords on the 25th January - an occasion everyone was looking forward to. Especially the possibility of playing Loughborough if we both won our respective halves of the draw. Everything went to plan in the first three games and we won our half of the division as did Loughborough theirs. Then to the final where we were all nervous but excited at the same time - here it was the opportunity to play against ultimately the best team in the country full of England and England Academy players it was always going to be tough and unfortunately we lost. But just wait till the summer when we can have a rematch and hopefully the result will go our way then.
Now that the indoor season is behind us training is now focused on consolidating our outdoor skills and making sure that we have the ability to bat out all our 50 overs. So there is lots of fielding, batting and bowling under fatigue to try and make us stronger players especially mentally - which is where matches are, more often that not, won and lost.
The training with the Academy is back in full swing and after a week of fitness testing highlighted areas to improve on it is back into the hard graft for the next seven weeks. This term there is more emphasis on short sprints and turning building on our fitness that we developed in the first term and making it more cricket specific. The introduction of club nets definitely makes it feel more like it will be the cricket season soon - where we shall see if all the hard work has been worth it.
From: Maryland, USA
Sport: Women's Football
Right, so I'll be the first to admit that this blog business isn't something that I'm used to, but now seems like a good time to have a crack at it. Hope I get the appropriate mix of detail and story telling...
So, what to say about my time here in Durham without making this too long. First of all, Durham as a city is absolutely charming. It's a tiny city, and in fact, it's only considered a city because of old English law stating that for a place to be a city, it must have both a castle and a cathedral. Well, Durham has both of those, and they're really amazing. I've been around Europe a fair bit and have been impressed with various cathedrals and castles, but I have to say, I'd rate Durham's as one of the top I've experienced. The castle and cathedral are set a top a hill as well so they can be viewed from most places in town; it's really beautiful.
Durham's a really interesting "campus". Besides the fact that buildings are spread out throughout the city, there are buildings that you wouldn't immediately think of as being part of the university. A lot of the buildings I would have easily assumed to just be part of the city, but they're University offices instead. Speaking of the city, for the first two weeks I lived here, I couldn't make heads or tails of a map. It's not a very confusing city, at least I don't think it is, but when I'd look at a map I couldn't even pick out where I lived. Needless to say, I've started living without maps. Another thing about the city that you're never really prepared for is the hilly terrain. Hilly hardly does it justice. It's more like mountainous. I made the mistake of going on a long run when I first moved in. It started off great - sure I was going downhill the whole time. When I had to turn back it was brutal. I toyed with the idea of purchasing a bike, but when I saw the hills I knew I wouldn't get enough use of a bike, besides, I don't want to have to push a bike up hill along with my other stuff. So you get pretty accustomed to walking everywhere, and really there's worse things than walking, though I hear there's an adjustment period when people are used to driving everywhere back in the States.
I know it's not usually like this, but the weather here has been nothing short of amazing the past few months. In the second weekend of November we were training outside in shorts and a t-shirt. I don't think that's how the weather is supposed to be! Last year at this time, they had already experienced snow, but I won't complain about the lucky breaks we've had - especially when we do have to walk everywhere. We've also had minimal rain as well. Of course, now that I've put those two statements in writing, we're going to have horrific weather for the next 6 months were here. At least it'll be anticipated.
Durham's a pretty solid location since it's only about 15 minutes from Newcastle City Centre. Any train that goes from Newcastle to London (or visa versa) has to pass through Durham. Newcastle is considered the star of the North East. It’s a cracking night out (so I hear) and a pretty lively city centre as well. They also have one of the most popular Premiership football teams - Newcastle United. Even better is that Sunderland is just down the road as well, so if you get into football or derby (rivalry) matches, you could definitely catch one between Newcastle and Sunderland.
For the beer drinkers out there, not only are we in Newcastle Brown Ale territory, there's a massive amount of microbreweries in the North East. It's pretty incredible. I consider myself somewhat of a beer snob (when it's financially possible) so I thoroughly enjoy trying the different beers in the area. Durham has it's own brewery as well but I haven't been fortunate enough to make my way there yet...
Essentially, once you get over the culture shock of being in another country and not having all the same amenities, you're in for a cracking time. It's an incredible opportunity to travel around and see the world. It's cheap to travel around and there's so many experiences that aren't as readily available in the States. If you're coming here, arrive with an open mind and really immerse yourself in it!
Position Playing- Defender
Your Club (1st x 1 or other)- Vice Captain of Women’s 1st Lacrosse Team
College- St Hild and St Bede
Degree Studying- Modern Languages (Spanish and Italian)
6th November 2011
6.00pm: my Italian lecture finishes.6.05pm: I’m on the rubber crumb at MC, Lacrosse stick in hand, ready to start training. This is a typical Tuesday night for me. Playing university sport at Durham requires strict time management in order to balance the copious amounts of training that we do with attending lectures, meeting deadlines and of course, having a social life! Needless to say, I could not imagine university life here at Durham without being a part of the Lacrosse programme.
Receiving a scholarship to play lacrosse here was a huge honour for me as Durham undoubtedly has the best university Lacrosse training programme in the country. Playing alongside world-class players, receiving coaching from the highest level and having continual support from my very own mentor is far more than I could have wished for from university Lacrosse.
The support I received from Team Durham last year was an invaluable aid with my England training for the U19 World Cup and I was very lucky to have had continual help and extra training sessions with Coach Jess Adam. Her experience, talent and extensive knowledge were hugely beneficial, as were the fitness sessions with Cameron, and the strength and conditioning sessions with Jon.
Balancing work, sport and a social life is not an easy task when you are training five nights a week and spend most of Wednesday on a coach travelling to a far off land (Edinburgh for example). Nevertheless, I truly enjoy every aspect of the Lacrosse here at Durham and genuinely look forward to each and every training session. The laughs that we have at training and the lasting friendships that have been formed are something that I feel so lucky to be a part of and it is safe to say that they have completely shaped my university experience.
The feeling of winning BUCS last year and sharing this incredible feeling with the rest of my teammates is something that I will never forget. We had worked so hard together for so long and going up to receive that golden BUCS medal was the ultimate reward and an everlasting memory. I dream of winning again this year as do the rest of the team which is shown by the continual effort that is put in by each and everyone of us at training night after night. So Come on Team Durham, let’s do the double!
3rd February 2012
After finding out that our first match of the year had been postponed, our week of preseason in the first week of January was cancelled and most of us jumped at the chance to go on the University ski trip, after promising our coach that there would be NO injuries. One of our injured players even went out to continue the rehab with all of us in the snow. I know that this week’s break from our intense Christmas training programme did us a lot of good and we all started the new term feeling fit and raring to go.
The second term of lacrosse is always an important one, especially this year, with the BUCS title to defend. Hours went into practice, both early in the morning and late at night , most days of the week. Everyone was determined to give it our best shot. Sadly, we lost by a goal to Bristol in the quarters on Wednesday. This was shocking to say the least, especially when we were 4 goals ahead within the first 10 minutes. The truth is, we didn’t perform on the day and Bristol played exceptionally well. We are all genuinely gutted to have been knocked out, having experienced the sensational feeling of winning last year. We are already thinking of next year and will do everything in our power to regain our title.
With the defeat now in the back of our minds , we intend to win our final four league games and ensure that we win our Northern league. Loughborough beat us once last year meaning that we did not win the Northern league so we are now even more determined to win it this year. I know that winning the league title would help heal our BUCS wounds and it would be a great reward for all the time and effort that has been put in by every member of the squad this season. Come on Durham!
Position - Attack
Club - Women's Lacrosse 1st XII
College- St Hild and St Bede
Degree Studying- Biology
6th November 2011
Before term started I attended two weeks of pre season, which meant I not only was able to familiarize myself with the city, but also get to know the other players and our coach.
Pre-season flew by and before I knew it freshers’ week had begun. During this period it was hard to juggle training with everything else going on, but everything shortly settled down and I managed to establish some sort of routine.
As I am studying biology I do have a lot of contact hours, which means that I am usually dressed in my lacrosse kit, stick in hand, ready to run to practice after my last lecture. This is no issue, however, as training is always fun, but also productive.
The season has already begun and we are pleased with our 3 wins; as the month’s fly by we approach some of our bigger games, which is very exciting. I believe if we continue training and competing at the same level we hopefully are on course to do really well.