Sports Scholars represent Leicester at Universities Home Nations tournament

Posted by nats2 at Apr 24, 2017 10:45 AM |
Sports Scholars Abigail McLindon and Shauna Cossens were selected as part of the English Universities Squad for the elite Universities Home Nations tournament this month.

Whilst many students were enjoying a well-deserved break over the Easter holiday period two of our sports scholars were participating in one of the most prestigious University sporting events in the country, the University Home Nations tournament. Bringing together elite athletes from across English, Scottish and Welsh universities the tournament was a real spectacle of sport, pitting the best against the best. Abigail McLindon represented both the University and nation for the Women’s Hockey team, whilst Shauna Cossens did the same for Women’s Football team.

English Universities squad

We caught up with our talented scholars after the tournament to find out some more.

How did you feel when you were selected for the England universities squad?

AM: I was so delighted and it came as such a shock when the head coach Phill rang me to tell me I was selected to be one of the 16 members of the squad. It came as such a shock as i injured my hamstring really badly whilst at the trials and I felt a little disappointed in myself as I couldn't perform to the standard I knew I could, but the fact the coaches saw such potential in me really gave me a boost of confidence. The standard at the trials was also extremely high so I was really hoping that my injury wouldn't hold me back too much and I would be able to match the level of hockey displayed at the trials.

SC: I was honoured to be selected amongst a very talented group of girls. It was an exciting prospect to be taking part in a competitive tournament against other nations as this was something I hadn’t done previously.

How successful was your time as part of the English Universities squad?

AM: I had a really successful tournament, I was one of the few members of the squad who was selected to start both matches against Scotland and Wales and stay on the pitch for the full length of both of the matches which was a great honour. I was also delighted to have such great feedback after both matches. My own success in the tournament was made even greater by winning matches against Wales 3-1 and Scotland 2-1 therefore becoming Home Nations champions!

SC: Apart from missing a penalty… I would say pretty successful. I started the first game against Wales, playing 75 minutes and we managed to win 3-1. I then came off the bench for 15 minutes or so against Scotland the following day. The feedback I received from the coaches was positive and they have provided valuable advice to develop my game.

Abigail McLindon Hockey squad photo

Did the standard of players in the universities sport surprise you?

AM: I'd say the standard of the sports at the Home Nations tournament of not just hockey but football and rugby was extremely high and such a competitive standard. The hockey matches for me were probably the best standard of hockey I've played with and against which meant I had to really up my own game to match that of everyone else's. It was such an amazing experience to be able to play in a squad of girls who had so much talent and hockey knowledge.

SC: No I think I always expected it to be high as I have played football with a number of the girls on the squad previously. A lot of the players play in the WPL or WSL so the standard was bound to be good.

What was the most enjoyable part of the Universities Home Nations tournament?

AM: The tournament as a whole was something I thoroughly enjoyed and something I hope to be a part of again. I loved being part of such an elite and experienced squad of girls from universities all over the country which therefore has developed personal networks for myself. Aside from the relationship the England squad had as a team, the thing I also enjoyed the most is winning the tournament to be crowned the women's Home Nations champions of hockey

SC: Definitely being part of the team. The girls were great to be around and the banter was surprisingly good. Normally spending 24 hours a day with your team would become slightly tedious but honestly I don’t think I stopped laughing for 3 days. And of course beating Wales as that is always a pleasure!

Shauna Cossens football squad photo

How did you feel representing the University of Leicester as part of the tournament?

AM: I felt so privileged and proud to be one of two people to be representing University of Leicester the Home Nations tournament. I felt it was a great opportunity to promote Leicester as a sporting university able to compete among the rest.

SC: I felt proud to represent the University. It isn’t very often you have the opportunity to play in a tournament such as the Home Nations. Also most people wouldn’t recognise University of Leicester as a high flying university for sport but I think being selected shows other universities that we are improving. I believe there were only two players from Leicester competing in all three sports but I strongly believe we have the talent at Leicester to suggest more individuals could have been selected.

The Sport & Recreation service would like to extend our greatest congratulations to both Abigail and Shauna for their achievements. Their efforts not only pay homage to the University’s sports scholarship scheme, but also helped to raise the profile of Leicester as a sporting institution.

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