‘We battled so hard’: St Mary’s University footballers full of pride despite BUCS loss

St Mary’s University footballer Ellen Thomas insists she is ending her student sporting career on a high, despite seeing her team fall at the final hurdle at BUCS Big Wednesday in Sheffield.

BUCS Big Wednesday saw 104 student teams descend on the Steel City to compete for 50 gold medals across 14 sports with Sheffield Hallam University playing host.

Thomas, who originally hails from Liverpool, captained the St Mary’s side who saw their dreams of trophy success fall at the hands of Leeds University in a 4-0 defeat.

But despite their disappointment, pride soon replaced despair for the 22-year-old, who had become one of the first St Mary’s captains to lead her side to the culminating event of the year-long BUCS programme.

“We battled so hard,” she said. “All the girls gave it their all but unfortunately decisions just didn’t go our way today.

“Leeds had four chances and they made sure they put them away, but we didn’t capitalise on ours so that is the way it went.

“We didn’t deserve to lose by such a large margin at all. They got through our defence a couple of times when they really shouldn’t have, but the second half was a lot more positive for us.

“It was a much bigger reflection of how we can play and we only wish we had played like that in the first half.”

The St Mary’s girls finished the season on top of the South Eastern BUCS league, having won 24 points from 10 games ahead of second-placed Canterbury University.

Leeds, who themselves won BUCS’ Northern league, proved too strong for the Twickenham-based university, but Thomas, who studies Sports Science and Nutrition, insists her teammates can hold their heads high with what they have achieved.

“It’s been a really successful season for us as we won the league,” said the final year student.

“Getting here for us is a big achievement in itself as we are one of the few St Mary’s teams to have ever got this far.

“We were so happy to reach the Trophy final, but it would have been nicer to have had a closer scoreline at the end of the day.

“BUCS is such an important aspect of university life for us. Wednesday’s are always a massive day for us and we look forward to it every week.

“It has been a really special season and such a good experience for us all, we just wish it could have ended differently.”

British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, organising leagues and competitions for more than 150 institutions across 52 different sports.

Partnered by Deloitte, BUCS supports athletes from a grass roots level through to Commonwealth and Olympic Games hopefuls

Image courtesy of Joseph O’Connell, with thanks

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