DMU Women’s Football take on UoL in tough Varsity match

By Liv Messum

De Montfort University (DMU) has been competing in a variety of Varsity competitions throughout this week and last week, and the women’s football match did not disappoint.

Pictured: DMUWFC Committee

On Monday (MAR 28), DMU faced off against University of Leicester (UoL) to see who would win the title of Varsity women’s football champions. 

Coach Neil Butterworth said: “There is good spirit within the team and if we can match that spirit with high work rate and work for each other, then the team will be competitive.”

The team battled hard but suffered an unfortunate loss with an end result of 5-0 to UoL.

Neil said: “I think the team played very well and I’m very proud of each of their performances.

“I think if we had scored when we put UoL under pressure in the first half of the game, then the result may have turned out differently.”

DMU suffered from not being able to maintain consistent team selection due to a lack of numbers in training throughout the year.

Neil said: “The commitment to women’s football has been awful this year, meaning that our better players have been missing for matches and we have suffered heavy defeats.”

Captain Maddy Proctor added: “This year we’ve felt the effects of Covid, so numbers haven’t been as good as they could be.

“Hopefully in a year’s time we get that drive back, that motivation to want to play sport back that we’ve lost thanks to Covid.”

As a result of the lockdowns put in place in previous years, Maddy was the only team member who had previously competed in Varsity.

She said: “We’ve not had Varsity for the past two years so people this year were a bit more unsure of what it is, what it’s like, and what to expect.

“But Varsity is such a good experience, it’s not just your average football game. It’s the entire atmosphere, having the crowd there – you don’t get that with every football game.”

Captain Maddy Proctor showing off her skills

Maddy is currently in her final year at DMU, meaning that Varsity was her last match with the team.

She said: “Being on women’s football is probably the best thing I ever did, purely because it made me meet my friends that I’ve got now. 

“Without having that sport, I don’t think I would’ve made such good friends. 

“It’s also been great to have friends from different backgrounds, different ages, and to meet people from all over the world that I wouldn’t normally have made friends with.”

Even with the Varsity loss, both Maddy and Neil have high expectations for women’s football in upcoming years.

Neil said: “If the balance moves towards good commitment next season, then we can work at progressing players quicker and improving our chances when playing the league matches.

“I certainly hope this happens.

“Either way I will still be looking forward to coaching and improving those footballers joining the 1st Team next season.”

Colourful Songkran festival kicks off in April to celebrate Thai new year

By Jayden Whitworth

Songkran
Water-blaster: Water fights break out in Ayutthaya in Thailand in celebration of the Thai new year

This year’s Songkran water festival is just around the corner, with the people of Thailand gearing up for their annual new year celebrations – and Thai nationals in Britain hoping to join in.

Songkran lasts for three days and will start on Wednesday, April 13, and end on Friday 15, with up to ten days of colourful celebration after it.

Songkran is commonly known as a water festival with water fights and splashing an important part of the celebration, but with Covid-19 regulations in place these celebrations have been limited in the past two years.

The first day of Songkran is known as ‘Song Nam Phra’ which translates as ‘pouring water on monks’. This is the day most of the water fights and splashing events happen.

The second day of Songkran is known as ‘Wan Nao’, translated to New Year’s Eve and is an opportunity for people to spend time with their families and friends.

On the final day, the new year known as ‘Wan Payawan’ begins with street food, concerts, parties, and water fights.

Nakorn Supanurat, president of the Thai student society at De Montfort University, said: “There are two ways of celebrating, religious and celebration. 

“In term of religious, people go to temples to pray and bathe the Buddha. 

“Some people go back to see their family and watering their seniors’ and parents’ hands. 

“Songkran is kind of like Christmas.

“It’s a long holiday in Thailand so it would be the best occasion to get back home and see family.”

Leicester has connections and a large following in Thailand because of the Thai ownership of Leicester City Football Club, with the team visiting Bangkok back in 2016. 

But as yet, Leicester as a city offers little by way of Songkran celebrations.

Nakorn said: “I don’t think we have any celebration in Leicester, but there might be a religious celebration in the Thai temple in Loughborough.”

Heaving: People in Thailand flock to Si Lom Road to get a taste of the street food on offer

With the threat of COVID-19 still rife across the globe, Songkran in Thailand is set to be disrupted for another year.

Nakorn said: “Covid-19 and environmental campaigns these past few years has meant there is a lot less water splashing going on.

“Usually, the most famous place people gather is Si Lom Road and Khao San Road in Bangkok.”

Leicester Gujarati foundation continues to serve the community

By Ben Stevens

Community: A previous charity event held by the Shree Prajapati Association

One of the largest Indian community organisations in Leicester continues to serve the local area through hosting events and other charitable work.

The Shree Prajapati Association in Leicester hosts regular events and classes such as youth clubs and keep fit sessions for men and women and is well respected within the Gujarati community in the city.

The branch works with other Prajapati groups across the country to hold national events such as ‘Prajapati’s Got Talent’ earlier this month.

Yogesh Mistry, a member of the group, said: “We have always been very proud of our charity work and our work in the community.

“The events we have run have always been great fun and it’s fantastic to see people coming together to take part in them.

“It’s been hard to do what we normally do because of the pandemic but we have been holding a range of events both online and in-person.”

The Shree Prajapati Association in Leicester was officially formed in 1975 but its members were fundamental in forming the first Gujarati school in Leicester in the 1960s.

The foundation then began to slowly expand and in 1992 were able to acquire its own buildings for the first time and the site in Ulverscroft Road is still used today.

Many of the original members of the association had moved to the city from East Africa and India during the 1950s and 1960s and presently the majority of the members have connections to Gujarat in Western India.

Gujaratis have historically had significant ties with the United Kingdom.

The East India Company, which would ultimately become the basis for the formation of the British Raj, was founded in 1600 in Surat in Gujarat.

Student drama festival coming soon to Leicester

By Ben Stevens

Some of the UK’s best young drama students will descend on Leicester in April for a week-long festival celebrating the theatre industry.

The National Student Drama Festival (NSDF) will take place at the city’s Curve theatre from Saturday, April 9, to Friday 15.

The festival programme features dozens of different events including shows, workshops, discussions and other activities.

Workshops will be delivered by industry professionals and in previous years have been given by representatives from venues such as the National Theatre of Wales and the Young Vic.

Shows to be performed include ‘Attrition’ and ‘Great Mother’ which is set during the Nigerian Civil War.

Tickets for all events are free and more information can be found at https://www.nsdf.org.uk/

Leicestershire cricket club will welcome England Women’s cricket team this summer

By Jayden Whitworth

Leicestershire’s Uptonsteel County Ground is set to host England’s women cricket team later this summer.

The ground commonly known as Grace Road will welcome cricket fans for a one-day international between England and South Africa.

The match will take place on Monday, July 18, as part of the Royal London Series, with tickets now available and children getting free admission.

England Women will get a taster for the South African women’s cricket team as they face them in the semi-final of the World Cup at 2am this Thursday (MAR31) with the winner playing against Australia or the West Indies.

For ticketing details and further information visit: https://www.eticketing.co.uk/leicestershireccc/EDP/Event/Index/147