Results: Hilary Week 1
Oxford vs Cambridge
Hilary Week 1 saw both the Blues and Roos come up against Cambridge. With 5 weeks to go until Varsity, these matches are a good idea of what to expect on Varsity day.
The Blues came into their match facing significant team disruption. With Emily Ostridge and Laura Hindley out for this game, and Catherine Lavender out for the rest of the season, the Blues had just one sub and an untried starting line-up. Those on the side-line unaware of this, however, would not have noticed. Oxford were quick out of the blocks, up by three after the first five minutes. Though initially pegged back by Cambridge, the momentum continued to swing in Oxford’s favour, helped by tips and intercepts from Izzy Picton-Turbervill and Kirsty McCann, in Goal Defence and Goal Keeper respectively. Incisive feeding from Isa Cooper, helped by an almost-telepathic connection with Captain Elsa Wakeman, saw the shooting circle open-up to Oxford’s advantage. It was neck and neck at the end of the first fifteen minutes. With the start of the second quarter came the real test. Oxford had started well, but could they be consistent? Both Ellen O’Brien, playing her first game in the Blues, and Becca Annells, playing out of her preferred position, led from the front and made vital contributions in the attacking end. Cambridge came out with renewed energy, making a key substitution at Goal Attack. Half-time saw Hannah Danbury enter the game at Goal Defence, and she quickly made her mark, with excellent rebounds and direct attacking play. The second-half also proved to be the time to shine for Wing Defence Cat Ellis, who picked up key interceptions around the circle edge, stifling Cambridge’s attack. 32-32 at the third-quarter whistle. The Oxford team had given the game everything they had, and now they just needed to find that little bit extra to bring the game home. Despite a valiant effort, Cambridge nicked a turnover late on to make the final score 44-42. Though a heart-breaking end to the game, the confidence gained from this performance with Varsity just a few weeks away will be invaluable.
Oxford 42 – 44 Cambridge
After suffering defeat to Cambridge earlier in the season, and with some illness and injury, they came in as underdogs. The first five-minutes set the tone for the rest of the game, with Oxford and Cambridge going goal for goal. Oxford’s defensive line-up dominated early on, with multiple hard-fought tips for Maddie Burnell and Ellie Peel, and some flying interceptions from Goal Defence Sophie Hubbard. The attacking units from both teams took the first quarter to settle into the game, with some scrappy play here and there, but Goal Attack Cecy Price was on hand to steady the team’s nerves, scoring from anywhere she was given the ball. At the end of the first fifteen minutes the score was tied 10-10. Cambridge came out fighting in the second quarter, pulling ahead by 3, but crucial turnovers at the defensive end for Oxford brought the half-time score to 19 apiece. The Oxford Roos utilised the strength and depth of their bench, bringing on fresh legs in the centre court and defensive circle, along with the introduction of Hannah Torrance, to add some height to the shooting circle. Despite the success of these changes, Cambridge held on, with particularly influential performances from their Centre and Wing Attack duo. At three-quarter time, there was still nothing between the sides. It all came down to the last quarter. With four minutes left on the clock, a crucial re-bound effort from Maddie Culhane and Sophie Hubbard led to the turnover the crowd had been waiting for. Oxford were one up, all they needed now was one more turnover and a chance to sink the winning goal. It came, in true Roos style, from a team effort. Captain Charlotte Walker called for a full-court zone, and Cambridge’s panic led to a stray pass, and the opportunity for Oxford to win the game. A composed passage of play from the back-line through to the attacking end was capitalised on by the Oxford shooters, bringing the full-time score to 41-40.
Oxford 41 – 40 Cambridge
Players of the Match:
Roos – Cecy Price (GA/GS)
Blues – Elsa Wakeman (GS and Captain)