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Cambridge 5 – 2 Oxford
The Women’s Blues Lacrosse team continued their Varsity winning streak in Oxford on Saturday, winning 5-2 in a tightly-contested encounter.
The team started brightly, making light of a water-logged, muddy and cut-up pitch. Captain Ellie Walshe led by example, opening the scoring with a neat goal mid-way through the first quarter.
This provided the Oxford girls with a much-needed wake-up call. However, as the Dark Blues surged forward, the treacherous conditions saw Anna Harrison lose balance, slamming into Oxford’s Lauren Kickham, leaving her unable to walk off the pitch and causing one seasoned spectator to comment “Like Teflon, the Oxford pitch is slippery. The game’s half lacrosse, half soxy-boxy.”
The next quarter saw the second goal from Cambridge’s Laura Plant, who made full use of Vice-Captain Angharad West’s gazelle-like running to score a well-worked goal.
As Cambridge continued to assert their dominance over proceedings, Georgie Hurt made space to pass to Alana Livesey, who laid the ball off nicely to Plant. Plant then used her massive guns to tremendous effect, discharging a powerful shot which elicited a smart save from Oxford’s speedy goalie.
However, only moments later, Oxford clawed their way back into the game – against the run of play – with a stunning shot from Emily Sever. The teams went into half-time with the score at 2-1 in the Light Blues’ favour.
The home side came out re-energised from the break and equalised almost immediately. Picking up the ball in Oxford’s fan, Char Houston carried it to just past the half-way line, sending it to captain Claire Sutcliffe on the right wing, who neatly picked out behind-goal attack Leah Templeman. Cambridge all-star Georgie Hurt managed to obstruct Templeman’s drive goalwards, but this failed to deter Houston, who persisted in her attack and managed to find Lister on the other side of the fan. As Lister sprinted towards the goal she was checked to the head by Cambridge skipper Walshe; Lister made no mistake from the resulting penalty, slotting the ball home into the bottom left-hand corner.
Spectator Kate Morland, herself a former Cambridge Lacrosse Blue, chose this moment to make the insightful comment that “Oxford’s defence is quite good today”.
Cambridge surge forward again.
As the third quarter came around, Cambridge’s Hurt stepped up to the mark. Dubbed the ‘Hurt-locker’ by the travelling faithful, she certainly brought Oxford a world of pain.
A well-executed penalty saw the first of her three goals, which nudged Cambridge into a 3-2 lead. Moments after the next draw, Cambridge’s Livesey ran the ball from the half-way line, skilfully cradling the shaft one-handed, before passing it to Hurt who rifled it clinically into the back of the net to give Cambridge the all-important two-goal cushion, doubling her personal tally.
Some three minutes before the end of the quarter, Oxford’s Templeman made use of her cheetah-like speed to carry the ball all the way to the Cambridge goal. However, the ball was intercepted before Oxford could make anything of the attack, Livesey niftily breaking out of the Cambridge half to find Jackie Vullinghs behind the goal. Vullinghs sent the ball onto Hurt, who quick-sticked her way to a hat-trick and sealed the game for Cambridge.
The final quarter saw a series of well-saved shots from both sides, neither team being able to register a further goal and Cambridge having no problems in comfortably closing off a 5-2 victory. The highlight of the quarter was probably an ill-executed Oxford pass, which hit the referee square in the balls. Leggy Kingfisher Ellie Pithers commented “it was definitely my favourite part of the game”.
Elsewhere, the Kingfishers, the Women’s second team, took a 6-4 victory, while the Men’s Blues avenged last year’s crushing defeat with a satisfying 7-5 win. However, the Men’s Seconds and the Mixed team both lost, Oxford winning the encounters 22-1 and 13-5 respectively.
For The Tab’s photos from Saturday’s action, click here.