Despite the freezing conditions, and the last minute search for an alternative pitch, the blues quarter final went ahead as planned. Keen to put the Varsity loss behind them, the blues were ready to return to the form they’d maintained all season. Due to the snow storm on the pitch, it was agreed that, at the ref’s discretion during a timeout 20 mins in, that the halftime score could in fact be the final score it the conditions didn’t improve. Also extra timeouts were allowed by both teams to de-ice boots. With that in mind, the pressure was on to lead throughout the game.
In conditions that couldn’t be anymore different from the warm weekend a few days before, the team rose to the challenge of the blizzard that began just as play was about to start. We won the first draw and after a couple of changes in possession, Katie Lehovsky converted our first goal. With fantastic speed and smart play we scored twice again taking the score to 3-0. Then Edinburgh began to get themselves back into the game, scoring three times as well in quick succession off some accurate feeds into the fan and off an unfortunate interception in front of goal. With the score now level, pressure started to build as the time ran down in the first half and then followed a passage of play with no goals. With the ball going down in attack, partly due to limited visibility, possession turned over frequently, as the defensive units on both teams held strong.
Then the snow stopped falling and the sun came out, and as visibility cleared, Lara Dillingham’s feed found Sophie Tamblyn in the crease to take us one up into the ref’s time out. With conditions looking better, it was agreed that the rest of the match would be played as normal. After this, momentum swung in our favour as our feeds started finding their targets. In the ten minutes left before half time, we scored three more times making the half time score 7-3.
After a much needed 5 minute sugar boost, play continued as the sun started to shine through the clouds. After a quick score from Edinburgh, our plays started to come together, including a couple of fast breaks that we had failed to capitalise on at varsity. Highlights including two strong drives from Bridget Shaffrey, an isolation on Lehov and a very wide angled shot from Lara meant we scored another 8 unanswered goals in the second half to end the match 15-4.
This puts the blues through to the semi-finals, against either Nottingham or Exeter, whose match was postponed due to snow.