Cambridge ladies hockey team face Oxford

Lili Bidwell 20 January 2017

The recent CUHC ladies BUCS match ends in 1-1 draw against Oxford. Wednesday night’s BUCS fixture saw Cambridge University Hockey Club’s ladies take on Oxford in what would be their final opportunity to test themselves against the dark blues before the varsity match. An earlier, friendlier fixture between the mens first and second teams (which ended 4–1 in the firsts’ favour) gave way to a more hotly contested encounter. Spectators included the mens teams, enthusiastic players and friends of the Cambridge squad.

A high-tempo opening put Oxford under early pressure, and Cambridge quickly secured the lead with Molly Buxton scoring for the light blues from a penalty corner. For all their possession, Oxford struggled to sustain threatening play in the face of persistent defensive work. Harried when they were on the ball, Oxford’s efforts to equalise saw them send a speculative shot high over goal; when Cambridge recovered possession, Emily Thorpe dribbled past several opponents to take the light blues into a threatening position. Towards the close of the half Oxford began to hit back. The strength of their attacking play won them a penalty corner, which Cambridge defended at the cost of another.

Oxford’s second short corner came to nothing, allowing Cambridge to cling on to their lead. Before the half-time whistle, a third penalty corner was awarded to the dark blues, but Cambridge were unperturbed and Oxford, from a probing attack not dissimilar to those whichthey unsuccessfully attempted in the first half, were able to equalise with a goal from open play. From then on Cambridge fought hard to keep the scores level, and full time was called with the ball in midfield. Although the team were disappointed to have lost their lead having defended five short corners, the overall result (1 — 1 at full time), their sudden and cutting attacking play and maintenance of a slender lead sustained throughout much of this BUCS match will give them confidence going into the varisty competition. by threat and carried their 1 — 0 advantage into half-time.

Freezing temperatures did little to dampen the spirits of the crowd. Despite home-side encouragement, and whether as a result of fatigue or the stakes of the rivalry behind the competition, Oxford were able to win a further penalty corner in the second half, but again they failed to make opportunity count on the scoreboard. With a remarkably high press they made territorial gains and were awarded a fifth short corner. Although Cambridge continued to defend successfully, the ladies team looked decidedly less secure in possession than they had in the first half of the match. In a momentary lapse of concentration, the Cambridge defence slipped.