In an incredible display of determination, five members of CSM Shinty embarked on a remarkable journey to represent the England Women's Shinty team at the prestigious Women's Camanach Association Challenger Cup. Natasha Cooper, Molly Shaw, Ella Martins, Zoe Baker, and Lara Cripps proudly carried the hopes of their team and country as they traveled for over 48 hours from Cornwall to the picturesque Kyle of Lochalsh, a testament to the unwavering dedication and commitment of these exceptional athletes. Though the final scoreline may not have reflected their efforts, the experience gained and the memories made during this incredible adventure were truly invaluable.
If you don’t already know what shinty is- it is an ancient Celtic sport thought to be the original version of Hockey, but it shares many similarities with Lacrosse and Hurling. Camborne School of Mines Shinty team is the only university team in England; however, the sport is far more popular in Scotland. Usually we play with mixed teams, and team sizes vary depending on the league rules anywhere from 6 to 12 players. There are several teams in the Cornwall area, and we often collaborate and play with the county team as well as now nationally. The club is open to complete beginners and it is an amazing feat that all our players have a maximum of 2 years playing Shinty, many of us not even knowing it existed before joining.
Although the final score of the game ended in a 16-1 loss, the experience gained during the Women's Camanach Association Challenger Cup was nothing short of extraordinary. The team faced formidable opponents, challenging themselves against some of the best shinty players in the world. Every minute on the field was a chance to learn and grow, as they analysed tactics, adapted to the speed of the game, and showcased their own skills.
CSM Shinty would like thank the Student Union for their support and funding. It is through their belief in the team's potential that this incredible journey became a reality. The English Shinty Association also deserves special recognition their guidance, support, and dedication to promoting the growth of women's shinty have been instrumental in fostering an environment of excellence within the sport. Additionally, the generous donations made to their GoFundMe page by friends, family, and well-wishers were truly humbling. The financial support provided by the community was vital in covering the extensive travel expenses, ensuring that the team could focus on giving their best performance on the field. Their contributions not only helped alleviate the financial burden but also served as a powerful reminder of the collective belief and support that surrounded the team. And finally, CSM Shinty would like to extend their deepest appreciation to the host team, Kinlochshiel Shinty Club, for providing them with an unforgettable experience during their time at the Challenger Cup. The warm hospitality, camaraderie, and friendly rivalry on the field made this trip truly memorable. The bond formed between the two teams will undoubtedly endure beyond the tournament, fostering a sense of kinship and unity within the Shinty community.
The journey to the Women's Camanach Association Challenger Cup was a remarkable feat for CSM Shinty, and we represented England with unwavering pride and determination. Despite the challenging scoreline, the experience gained, the lessons learned, and the memories created will forever remain a cherished part of their shinty journey. A huge thank you to everyone again! We are overwhelmed by the support and look forward to coming back stronger next year!