When the O’s women’s team embark on their FA Cup campaign against Cambridge City Ladies this Sunday, two members of the matchday squad will take a trip down memory lane in a competition renowned for its poignant back stories.
Club captain Danielle Griffiths and midfielder Rebecca Hirst are not only talented footballers but proud alumni of the prestigious University of Cambridge.
Reflecting fondly on her university years this week, Griffiths said:
“Cambridge was both a dream come true for me as well as a world away from what I was used to! I was the first in my family to go to university and one of the few from my state school who were accepted into Oxbridge, so it was a bit of a step into the unknown!
“I read Law and although we had to work very hard, the opportunities available whilst at university were second to none and some that I would never have experienced otherwise. Obviously playing for the University football team was a highlight of my university days, as well as the annual Varsity games v Oxford (where we faced off against the likes of Sophie Le Marchand!).”
On Sunday afternoon, the skipper will be feeling a strong sense of déjà vu with the match taking place at Trinity College where she studied:
“It is now 10 years since I started my studies at Cambridge University and Trinity College
and I am so excited that I get to go back with the Orient girls to my old college in the Women's FA Cup!”
More recently, Hirst graduated from Peterhouse College with an English degree in the summer of 2017. Similarly, she reminisced about her playing career representing the university:
“I played football with a great group of girls in my second and final years. It got me to drag my head out of the books for a few hours a week. Cycling to breakfast as a squad after Friday morning fitness, past the bleak-visaged students making their way to 9am lectures, was always a good feeling. Going on tour to Seville was probably the highlight.”
Briefly, Hirst explained her decision to swap Cambridge for the capital:
“Two months after graduating, I moved to London to join the editorial department of an independent non-fiction publisher specialising in international politics and history. Shortly after moving to London, I joined Leyton Orient.”
Both graduates should relish a return to familiar territory and will be hoping they can replicate their academic success on the pitch this weekend.