Leeds United: Catherine Hamill on big cup win, sibling rivalry and why she won’t take penalties

I was reluctant to share the result of our County Cup tie against Bradford Park Avenue with my brother Thomas over the weekend.

By Catherine Hamill
Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 6:45 am
Sarah Danby bagged a hat-trick during Leeds United's 13-0 County Cup win over Bradford Park Avenue. Picture: LUFC
Sarah Danby bagged a hat-trick during Leeds United's 13-0 County Cup win over Bradford Park Avenue. Picture: LUFC

Not because we’d lost. Far from it – all my Leeds United Women team-mates put a great shift in as we progressed to the next round of the tournament.

I hesitated because I knew exactly what his next question would be after I revealed we’d put 13 goals past them.

“Did you score?” he would say.

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Summer signing Sandra Soares-Martins scored twice inside 20 minutes as Leeds United stormed to a 13-0 County Cup victory over Bradford Park Avenue. Picture: LUFC

Thirteen goals and I didn’t score one of them. Of our starting XI from Sunday, all but three of us got on the scoresheet – but I think our goalkeeper Lauren Joyce, and Georgia Wattam who took over in net in the second half, have a better excuse than I do!

When Paige Williams won us a spot-kick just before half-time, I heard someone from the stands shout, “get Cath Hamill on the penalty!”

No chance. I used to take penalties in training and someone told me I was good at them, once. But of the three I’ve taken competitively, none have gone in. The pressure gets to me in a match setting.

When I told Thomas that no, I hadn’t scored a goal, he offered to take me to the park and show me how it’s done.

Leeds United goalkeeper Georgia Wattam Picture: LUFC.

He’s always teasing me about goals. When it comes to sibling rivalry, it doesn’t help that we both play in the same position, at centre-back. I’m yet to find the net this season, whereas he’s bagged quite a few.

I watched his team win 5-0 on Saturday and, at the final whistle, I almost made a comment about him not scoring. After Sunday’s game, I’m glad I thought twice as I might have regretted it!

It is difficult enough coming out after half-time on a cold January afternoon, but at least you get to run around. It was absolutely freezing watching my brother play, I could hardly feel my feet.

You appreciate supporters so much when they come to watch you in the cold. There’s a handful of fans who come along to all of our games, which is amazing. It’s a great chance to get a different experience of football as I think it’s nice to see the match up close.

Leeds United Women exchange Covid-friendly handshakes with Bradford Park Avenue ahead of County Cup tie Picture: LUFC

It’s fun to go to games with big crowds, but you’ll be sat so far away sometimes. St James’ Park is awful for it. I saw a clip of Cambridge United players celebrating their FA Cup winner on Saturday, and then the camera slowly zoomed out to reveal that the person taking the video was right up in the Gods.

How are you supposed to see anything from there?

This weekend, my Dad let me know about league results and who had come out on top of the Division One North table. I couldn’t really comment, however – it feels quite frustrating because there’s not a lot we can do about it at the moment, having not played a league game since October due to cup fixtures

I think Sunday’s County Cup game was a good way to ease back into things after the Christmas break, though, as it might have been a bit of a shock diving straight back into the league.

Against Bradford we could get familiar with the feel of the ball again, work on passing around players and try out some different combination plays.

It was a great performance and a wonderful starting point for 2022.

The win means we’ll travel to Harrogate Town to play the County Cup quarter-finals this weekend.

We haven’t played Town for a few years, and there’s been a few changes in their camp with the men’s side returning to the Football League.

I quite like not knowing what to expect from a team. If I don’t know how a team play, then there’s no chance I’ll overthink what threat certain players pose.

So when it comes to fulfilling my new year’s resolution of not letting nerves get the better of me, an unknown opponent is just what I need!