Fiona Shuttleworth aspires to develop women's rugby after being elected captain of Cambridge University Rugby Union Football Club
Fiona Shuttleworth is eager to give back to a club that has provided her so much after being elected as women’s captain of Cambridge University Rugby Union Football Club.
The 22-year-old veterinary student at Pembroke College will succeed Kate Marks as skipper of the Light Blues, and will be looking to build on last year’s Varsity Match win.
The flanker only took up the sport at Cambridge, but now has two Blues to her name and that was a motivation to run for the captaincy.
“I’m really excited and hopefully we will continue another good season for the women’s team,” said Shuttleworth. “I feel like the past year particularly my knowledge of rugby and my skills have really improved.
“It’s just such a nice family atmosphere and a sport I really love, I spend a lot of my time there; I really wanted to give something back for a club that has done so much for me at university. It’s definitely the best decision I’ve made at university [to play rugby] so I just want to give a little bit back and I know it will be a lot of hard work.”
Next year is likely to be one of change for the Light Blues.
Many winning Blues are set to finish their studies, while a revamp of the BUCS system should see Cambridge in the super league.
“When we had the game against Cardiff Met, we were challenged and it made us see what we could do and where we could improve – it’s something we’ve been lacking purely because of the league we’re in,” said Shuttleworth. “That’s really exciting for next season - the challenges of going into a different league with more equal teams.
“We’re losing a significant amount of players and I don’t think that’s necessarily something to be scared of, I think it’s something to be excited about.
“We’ve had a huge interest this term with our second team and with colleges all getting together and we’re training as one big team.
“I think it’s just exciting that we can get women involved in a sport that they have probably before never even considered and to play at the level we play at with a high-level of commitment.
“I think that’s brilliant and something I really want to push for.
“It will be more people starting out. like myself, and picking it up at university.
“I want to be big on the drive for women’s rugby and hopefully make it more accessible and that more people will want to give it a go.”
Shuttleworth, whose twin Jenni also plays for Cambridge, had high praise for her predecessor.
“Kate has really got the ball rolling in terms of the women’s team at the rugby club and I really hope I can continue the groundwork she has set for us and continue the way she has pushed the club forward,” she said.
“My aim is to keep the momentum building and keep us moving forward.”
Shuttleworth’s fellow vet Alice Elgar will be the team manager.