Last Saturday saw the Varsity lacrosse match end with both positive and disappointing results for Cambridge’s women’s team. The women’s Blues played their hearts out but lost 5-8 to Oxford, while the Kingfishers triumphed 7-4.
The Blues match, which ended in a 12-6 whitewash of Oxford last year, saw the tables turned on Cambridge. Oxford started the match with an attitude ignited by the lack of Varsity victories over the last six years. Several quick goals came from the exceptionally fast and merciless Oxford attack, with particularly stand-out sprints from captain Beth Denham and midfielder Lucy Andrews.
Cambridge’s attackers answered back, but some scrappy midfield play and passes falling short of their normal accuracy meant Oxford were able to turn the ball around and exert more pressure on the Light Blues’ defence. Cambridge fought to keep Oxford at bay with some stunning saves by co-captain Erin Walters and outstanding defensive work from veteran Suki Ritchie.
However, the Oxford goals kept coming unanswered until a signature sharp attacking play from Georgie Prichard led to a goal for the Light Blues. This was followed by goals from co-captain Anna Pugh and ex-captain Alana Livesey, both of whom worked tirelessly with fresher Chesca Hirst in midfield, putting in excellent displays of fitness and grit.
Drama later ensued when both Pugh and goalkeeper Walters were knocked to the ground due to Oxford’s dangerous play and various time-outs were called to allow the teams to regroup.
A late effort from fresher Lara Pleydell-Bouverie was on target, and finally broke through Oxford’s goalkeeper Polly Roger’s incredible performance. It was no surprise that Roger’s saves throughout the match proved crucial for Oxford. As other strong attempts from attackers, including Dani Allard, were thwarted, Cambridge could not muster enough goals and lost 5-8.
In the women’s 2nds match, the Kingfishers started with all guns blazing. Goals from Raphaella Carruthers, Fran Posada-Brown, Ellie Jeffreys and Marina Lindsay Brown saw Cambridge lead 5-0 by halftime.
In the second half, Oxford fought back ruthlessly. They scored three goals within quick succession of one another. A fantastic display from goalkeeper and Scottish international Ari Midgen saw her make seven saves and intelligent clears well past the half-way line. This allowed Ellie Jeffreys to complete her hat-trick and make it 7-3.
Thereafter, Cambridge persisted with possessive attacking play, with Jas Sawyer instrumental in keeping the ball in the Cambridge half. She was deservedly awarded Man of the Match. Cambridge held on to the lead for the remainder of the match to win 7-4.
Marina Lindsay Brown
Photo Credit: Tom Porteous