Oxf*rd predicting this fixture as ‘the most exciting afternoon of BUCS action in Oxford this term’, and ‘one hell of a match’ certainly proved correct. With both teams unbeaten, having drawn to each other 10-10 before Christmas, and only a couple of league fixtures left, this match was going to be crucial in deciding the BUCS Southern Premiership League. An Oxf*rd win would have almost certainly resulted in a second place finish for Cambridge. With this in mind, Captain Miller had spent the previous week trying to ensure the pressure didn’t get to the team.
Luckily, the weather was kind and the rain stopped in time for the first draw. Oxf*rd managed to get possession from the draw and made their way down into our defensive half only for it to be turned over by some strong defending in midfield. A burst of speed from the Light Blues safely transitioned to ball into attack where we tried a few of our new set moves. With high pressure from the dark blue defence, the drives were on and Lehov clinically put the ball in the back of the Oxf*rd goal.
Oxf*rd answered almost immediately, in what set the tone for the rest of the match. A few strong Oxf*rd attackers managed to find breaks in the Light Blue defence, not helped by a series of defence players slipping in the mud around the goal. In attack, a fast transition and strong drives ensured we stayed ahead after a few feeds allowed the strong Oxf*rd defence unit to come away with the ball. Keeping our heads though, we scored our fifth goal to make it 5-4 with less than two minutes left in the half. A team effort then held out an increasingly frantic Oxf*rd attack until the whistle went.
We knew the game was far from decided, our main aim was to get possession from the draw, something we had struggled to do. The draw sucked in eight or nine players in an attempt to pick up the ball. Excellent work from Bridget meant we came away with possession and Sophie Tamblyn scored from a great feed, taking us two ahead. From then, the game was even with each goal answered by the other team. Erica Wallace put in a tremendous effort face marking one of Oxf*rd’s best attackers, ensuring she couldn’t score off her signature left hand crease drive and goalie Helen Gildersleeves made some fantastic saves. With this disrupting the Oxf*rd attack, we managed to stay just ahead of Oxf*rd. A yellow card left us a man up for two minutes, and although we didn’t score, the clock was starting to run out.
With five minutes to go, the score was 8-7 and Oxf*rd called a time out. We knew this was going to be the last push, and the older, more experienced players used the time out to calm us down, ensure we kept our heads and didn’t throw the game away. As play restarted, the Oxf*rd defence put huge amounts of pressure on the attack, but this pressure left them open to one-on-one drives and Captain Miller put us two up. Then the attack clicked, and goals from Julie Wise, Katie Lehovsky and Sophie Tamblyn followed, bringing home a 11-7 victory. As a result, Cambridge are now top of the league.
Players of the match: Erica Wallace, Helen Gildersleeves
Squad: Ella Benson, Liv Cox, Lara Dillingham, Seren Everden, Helen Gildersleeves, Katie Lehovsky, Amelia Miller, Tori Molloy, Lottie Paterson, Bridget Shaffrey, Talia Smither, Sophie Tamblyn, Erica Wallace, Julie Wise
Goals: Katie Lehovsky (2), Amelia Miller (3), Sophie Tamblyn (2), Tori Molloy, Julie Wise (2), Erica Wallace