Student Blog

Women in Sport at Downing

Welcome to Discover Downing! I really hope you’re enjoying browsing the website and seeing what Downing has to offer you. I’m Harriet, a second year Geography student, and I love all things college sport- I currently play hockey, netball and lacrosse for Downing. I’ll be updating this blog a couple of times a term to let you know what Downing has available in terms of sport, how to get involved, and especially what opportunities there are for women in sport, in both the college and University. I’ll also touch on issues surrounding barriers to sport, including from gender and school background.

When I got to Downing I knew I wanted to play hockey, as it was my favourite sport throughout school. Freshers’ Week at Downing is a great time to find out about all the different sports available to you. We have a societies fair, which features all the sports teams, and you can also meet some of the teams on the bar crawl at the end of the week. I have been playing hockey throughout my time at Downing, as well as netball, which I signed up for at the Freshers’ Fair. I hadn’t played netball since secondary school, but really got into the swing of it and loved the close team atmosphere. At the end of my first year I was appointed as the next Ladies 2s captain for 2016/17, which has been fantastic. I’m now the women’s hockey captain for 2017/18, and this year I have also taken up lacrosse (having never held a lacrosse stick until now!) and am loving it. My point is, any level of experience is welcome in Downing sport. We have women who compete nationally in their sport, and tonnes of beginners- all you need is enthusiasm.

Downing offers a huge range of sport. As well as sports you may have played at school- hockey, netball, lacrosse, rugby, basketball, tennis- we have some more niche options, such as Ultimate Frisbee, pool club, and even an annual croquet tournament for those of you feeling particularly fancy. Women’s rugby is a fantastic new addition to the Downing sports scene, as a joint team with Emmanuel College, which has fed players into the University squad. The full range of sports at Downing are listed in the annually published Freshers’ Handbook, which all incoming Freshers receive a couple of months before they arrive at Downing. Downing sport is mostly quite low commitment (except rowing!), with matches held on weekends, and with some sports holding 1 or 2 optional training sessions in the week. Ladies hockey, for example, trains once a week with Selwyn and the men’s team, and we play our matches usually on a Sunday afternoon during Michaelmas and Lent terms.

Many sports teams also host regular socials and annual awards dinners, which are a great way to celebrate the (inevitable) success of the team.

Sport at Downing is a fantastic way to try something new, keep fit, socialise and have fun. Opportunities for women are growing in College, as well as the University, so almost everything is now accessible, even for beginners. If you want to chat more about getting into sport at Downing, you can always get in touch with our School Liaison Officer (, who will be able to put you in touch with me!

Harriet Jackson

I'm Harriet, a second-year Geographer from Shropshire. I play netball, lacrosse and hockey for Downing, so I'm here to talk to you about all things sporty!