With the league season finishing, the top university football teams have turned their attention to the Aldi Women’s National Championship.
The competition sees the top twelve sides go head-to-head in a knockout competition, with their league position only determining their first opponent. The winners of this Championship will be crowned the top women’s side in university football.
The top two sides in the Premier North and South are given a bye straight to the quarter finals, with each league’s third-placed side facing the opposite league’s bottom-placed team. The teams who finished fourth play the sides who ended their season in fifth, again from the opposition league.
Eleven heaven for Northumbria
Northumbria enjoyed a successful campaign in the Premier North, earning six wins in ten games, and scoring a league-best 36 goals. This works out at just under four goals a game.
Several of their results certainly were eye-catching, with their 8-1 home win over Loughborough the most impressive.
However, all of these results were blown out of the water with their latest scoreline, achieved when they played host to Portsmouth in the first round of the Aldi Women’s National Championship.
Portsmouth definitely had a season to forget in the Premier South, losing all ten of their games whilst conceding 47 goals.
There was only going to be one result when the two teams faced off, with Northumbria putting Portsmouth to the sword. They reached double figures in an 11-0 win.
Northumbria now face the tough test of Essex in the quarter finals, the side who finished second in the Premier South.
To make matters worse for Portsmouth, they had to endure a 352 mile trip back to the north east.
Bath have little trouble in making it to the Aldi Women’s National Championship quarter finals
Bath’s season in the Premier South is the perfect example of up-and-down. Their win and loss record is identical, with four in each of the columns. Two draws means they ended with 14 points, in a respectable fourth place.
Their 2022/23 season was respectable, but not anything to write home about. They were clincial in front of goal, scoring a league-best 31 goals, and had the third-best defence in the league, only conceding on 19 occasions.
However, four consectutive losses between mid-October and mid-November meant challenging for the top two spots was never an option.
They rounded off the season by going on a five match unbeaten run, although they were held to draws in their final two matches.
In round one they faced a Stirling side who finished fifth in Premier North, with only two wins to their name.
Bath will feel they have the opportunity to build on the potential shown throughout the season following a comfortable 3-0 win. They face Loughborough in the next round, this season’s top Premier North team.
Durham and Cardiff Met also go through
The other two fixtures in round one always went the way many would have predicted, with the teams with the higher finish progressing to the quarter finals.
Cardiff Met, who finished third in the Premier South, played host to Leeds Beckett, the bottom team in Premier North. In a professional performance, the home side, who finished one point below Essex in second, piled more misery onto Leeds Beckett, who lost every league game, with a 2-0 victory.
The other cup tie saw Durham handed a walkover by the University of South Wales, meaning they progressed automatically into the quarter finals.
In the next round, Durham will play Bristol, who finished top of the Premier South. Cardiff Met will play Nottingham, missed out on the top spot in the Premier North due to goal difference.
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