With the bare minimum of 12 players, a somewhat depleted Cambridge team made our way to Bristol, to try and secure a crucial win to keep our position as top of the league. The game opened very evenly; both sides got the ball into a settled attack, and both teams’ defence successfully turned over the ball. Shots were taken but all saved. With no goals in the first ten minutes, the game promised to be very tight.
Then came a strong drive from Captain Miller who fired the ball past several Bristol defenders and the goalkeeper to take the light blues one up. Katie Lehovsky then found space in Bristol’s zone defence and converted to make it 2-0. Looking more settled, the attack started our running set moves, from which Julie found space around the crease to score.
Then Bristol’s strong midfielders gained possession from the draw and managed to score twice in quick succession off solo drives. With the momentum of the game turning, we needed to find some space in attack, and Sophie Tamblyn found it in the fan with 3 goals in quick succession from feeds around the crease. Hat trick in hand, Bristol called a time out to try and regroup but to little avail as Sophie then scored again from exactly the same move. Bristol managed to steal another goal from a drive before half time but our defence was successfully shutting down drives from their best attacker, massively decreasing Bristol’s attacking capability.
After a quick team talk at half time, and being a comfortable 7-3 up, the second half started well with goals from Lara Dillingham and another from Julie Wise. Although, as the game went on, it was getting progressively more scrappy and violent as Bristol tried to turn the game around. Head checks started flying, with multiple players ending up on the floor as defending became more physical. We called a timeout to get some ice for Lehov’s bleeding head.
The next period of play was tough and Bristol clawed back some goals as we waited for time to run out. In the last five minutes we managed to regain control and score three more goals to end the game 13-6. With the return fixture next week, a loss of less than 14 goals will regain Cambridge the league title.
Squad: Ella Benson, Lara Dillingham (1), Seren Everden, Helen Gildersleeves, Katie Lehovsky (1), Amelia Miller (3), Tori Molloy, Lottie Paterson, Bridget Shaffrey (2), Sophie Tamblyn (5), Erica Wallace, Julie Wise (1)
MVP Sophie Tamblyn