Celebrating Newnham Sportswomen

This year, Newnham has seen many students represent the University in their chosen sport and be awarded Blues. From hockey to fencing, gymnastics, badminton, sailing and waterpolo, our students have had an impressive year. We had planned to hold our first Newnham Sportswomen’s Dinner in Easter Term, inviting alumnae back to meet today’s Blues. Events have overtaken us, but we are delighted to celebrate our sportswomen online.

Thanks to Sitara Bartle (pictured above) for this piece celebrating Newnham’s Blues Sportswomen, and for all her work planning the Sportswomen’s Dinner. 

Bethan Moncur: University 1st Team Hockey

“I have absolutely loved representing the Women’s Blues Hockey Team during my three years at Cambridge. The team atmosphere has always been so welcoming and fun, and I could not imagine a better way to spend my time at Cambridge”

(Image shows Bethan scoring the winning goal for Cambridge; having drawn the Varsity match 3-3, then it went to penalty shuffles, which Cambridge won 2-0.)

Rosie Stevenson: University 3rd Team Hockey (goalkeeper)

Rosie is not only our JCR President, but also finds time to play hockey for the University. This image shows her in goal.

Florence Bradshaw: University 3rd Team Hockey

“After playing for the University 3rd Team as a one off during Freshers’ Week, I was immediately snapped up into the supportive and friendly nature of the team. From the late night training sessions, the early morning fitness sessions in the mist and the countless number of matches, I have loved every moment of playing with the ‘Bedouins’. My favourite moments of this year include the away matches that we have had. The car journeys to and from the matches were excellent bonding opportunities which often featured carpool karaoke and discussion of team tactics. The matches themselves were always filled with excitement and then the match teas afterwards where we always awarded DoD and MoM were an excellent opportunity to discuss the game and meet the opposition.”

Laura Wainman: University 1st Team Fencing

Laura reports “I have been fencing since I was 10 (effectively half my life!) and competed successfully at a regional and national level. The Women’s Blues team has been especially successful this year – 14 matches undefeated, reaching the cup final and the playoffs for promotion! I’ve also represented Cambridge in two Varsity’s (including reclaiming the foil trophy this year!). I’m really proud of how the team supports one another, both on and off the piste”

Agnieszka Pająk: University 1st Team Fencing

Agnieszka reports “The Cambridge University Fencing Club Women’s Blues remained undefeated in our league throughout the entire season; we were headed towards both the cup finals and league playoffs before having our journey cut a bit too short. Our performance at the Varsity match was truly stellar, loosing to Oxford 118-106 in a really close competition. As a finalist, this was my last year in the CUFC. I am so proud to have fenced with the best team I could’ve asked for (including another Newnhamite, Laura Wainman), being not only team-mates but also friends”

Elise Chang: University Women’s Artistic Gymnastics A Team

The photo shows Elise Chang on beam from the Gymnastics Varsity Match at the end of Michaelmas term 2019.

Elise reports, “It was a really good competition for the club, with Cambridge teams winning Women’s A and B and Men’s A, and for me personally, coming 2nd in the all-around competition and making the Blues score!”




Ursula Shaw: University 1st team Badminton

Ursula ShawUrsula Shaw and Becky Donaldson (also Newnham) have been badminton committee members this year. Ursula reports, “We’re three years into establishing the development squad (volunteer-run training offered to unsuccessful trial participants) and have been working on improving the fluency of player transition between the two squads and their social integration. We have had good feedback on how it opens access to more competitive play and reduces the college – uni ability gap. Unlike other sports such as rowing, we have BUCs matches every week – we’re 3rd in the Midlands 2B league, so I get a nice midweek escape up to another Midlands university for our away games. We lost this year’s varsity marginally, as Oxford made a very strong come back! I should also add that Helen Linwen Yan (1st year Newnham natsci) has been a godsend for CUBaC – we realised in the first month or so that she’s basically our strongest female player by a long way. She won all her games at varsity and we’ve learnt a lot throughout the year by watching her play. I hope and think that the captains will apply for a full blue’s recognition for her”


Sitara Bartle: University 2nd Team Waterpolo (2018/2019) and University 4th Team Sailing (2019/2020)

“I have had the privilege to represent the University in two sports which has been a pleasure and an honour. Firstly, in my second year, I joined the University Waterpolo team having previously competed in swimming at a younger age. It was great to be part of such an inclusive and supportive team, with so many talented athletes and many who were beginners to the fast-paced sport. In February 2019, I was fortunate to be part of the Varsity Match, on the winning 2nds team against Oxford and everyone was filled with pride to be victorious on home ground in the swimming pool on Parker’s Piece.

“Then in October 2019, having completed my Senior Dinghy Instructor course, I trialled successfully to be on the University sailing team. Sailing has always been a sport close to my heart, and it has been wonderful to train at Grafham Water Sailing club during most weekends and then compete in events throughout the country. University sports has made my life at Cambridge ever more exciting and I am grateful for the opportunities available. Below left is the picture of the team competing at the Imperial Icicle event during Storm Dennis…winds of 50mph and gusts did not hinder a Saturday morning and Sunday full day of sailing!”