Varsity Netball: Oxford take the crown

Cambridge are narrowly beaten by Oxford in Varsity Netball, as CHLOE MAINE reports.

Blues Cambridge Emily Coulter Georgia Archer-Clowes Gina Dalgleish Lara Jackson Liz Dalgleish Netball Oxford Varsity

First quarter – Cambridge 12: Oxford 16

Both teams went out hard from Oxford’s first centre, with each scoring from centre in the first 5 minutes of the game. Excellent attacking play by Cambridge under the pressure from the Oxford defence ensured near perfect conversion from the centre pass, and Cambridge were very much in the game after 15 mins hard netball by both sides.

Second quarter – Cambridge 21: Oxford 28

This quarter was even more closely fought than the first. Now both teams had had the chance to settle into the game, players were getting more physical and fighting for every ball. Laura Spence was putting the Oxford goal-shooter Nat Redgrave under significant pressure in the D, forcing a number of balls off the backline and making a particularly impressive clean interception right under the post. Strong play in bringing the ball up the court with sharp drives and quick-fire passes from Liz Dalgleish and Georgia Archer-Clowes ensured that Cambridge capitalised on turnovers. Cambridge were unlucky to lose the quarter by only one lost centre pass but spectators were already commenting that both Oxford and Cambridge were playing the best netball of their seasons.

Third quarter – Cambridge 29: Oxford 39

Half-time saw a substitution with fresher Emily Coulter of Selwyn taking on the Oxford WA, who had been causing damage in the first half with her speed on and off the circle. Emily stepped up to the challenge; having already competed for Cambridge in Athletics, she gave the Oxford WA something to worry about with her speed at the midcourt. Gina Dalgleish and Lara Jackson dominated the attacking circle, frequently leaving the Oxford defence trailing behind with their rotational movement and making the crowd roar with applause as they netted goal after goal from all over the circle. Again, Cambridge stayed in the game.

Final quarter – Cambridge 35: Oxford 53

Cambridge did themselves proud in the last quarter by never giving up – they fought to the end in true CULNC style. It can honestly be said that the score did not reflect how closely the game was fought throughout. Congratulations both Oxford and Cambridge – you did yourselves proud!