Women's Blues - Wednesday 29th November 2017 - Laxmas vs Cambridge
As the MVP enters the M40, the OULC womens lacrosse team + coach Sally + ‘a random boy/man/our guest’ (?!) awaken from their post game naps. Following encouragement from captain and driver Zoe, the team crack open some cold beers (well those of us without concussed teeth) and reflect on the day….
A leisurely exit from Iffley meant the team felt well rested for the toughest game of the season as we headed to Cambridge to face the tabs - also unbeaten in the league and vying for top position. Aside from concern as to whether we would be losing our captain to anaphylaxis, our journey was uneventful. Which was lucky because it would turn out that arriving in plenty of time would be very important.
Our MVP arrived in Cambridge. Parallel parking complete after initial misdirection - ‘You’re heading directly for a tree’ - the team decamped to the pavilion. There was an inspirational team talk, which the author cannot report further on, due to having ‘gone to see her old college’. Arriving just in time to join the team leaving for the pitches, we began on our carefully crafted warm-up.
The warm up began. The timing of each section was crucial for optimum build-up. Jog around (ridiculously huge) pitch complete. Body warm up complete. Line drills. It was at this time that we noticed our glorious leader was spending quite a lot of time with the ref - only one ref visible? Now the murmurings began. Once again the mere thought of OULC women had repelled the pre-appointed ref. The tabs suggested an ex-tab captain with zero qualifications as a replacement. We declined. The tabs suggested Sally as replacement. We declined. Our carefully planned warm-up? Chaos. The ETA of the missing ref? Unknown.
Both Cambridge and Oxford teams retreat to the pavilion, fed up of freezing outside without an actual draw time. There are even hopes than pink boots might appear on the horizon to save the day. Alas we are informed that we cannot expect the ref until at least 13:30.
Original draw time.
We start our warm up. Again.
The match begins.
Oxford asserted themselves quick off the draw, with Bea Webber (Bea Webber, U19 England, The Abbey) slamming one into the net. The Tabs were intimidated and quickly retaliated with three goals in quick succession. Lambert and Bea Webber (Bea Webber, U19 England, The Abbey) pulled Oxford level, making it clear this game was going to be a tough one.
Draw control proved crucial and though defenders were mildly annoyed by an streaky orange streaking across the midfield they were undeterred. After some more lacrosse with great goal-work from Maddie, it was 5-6 at half-time.
Haribo Starmix, Sally’s motivational talks, and Zoe’s chat clearly worked their magic as Oxford put two away at the start of the second half. The umpire’s warning about some ‘aggressive’ play seemed to have fallen on deaf ears as Feenie mullered Miller for the duration of the game.
Highlight of the second half - for many, if not all - was probably the moment in which Kate sacrificed herself not only for her country ( see University of Cambridge live stream 33:50) but for Bea Webber (Bea Webber, U19 England, The Abbey) as she fell at the feet of the American opposition player. Thankful her pearly whites were still in place, she rose again after yet another collision with a hench bench. Nobody noticed.
After an effortless goal from Vicky Rees - seemingly unbothered by the teal Tabs and their rather muted megaphone - amongst others, the scoreline was 10-8 with 9 minutes to go.
Oxford called a time out. Back on the pitch we played the game we play best with Drewe slotting one into the back of the net. Drewe’s body rolled across the ground as smoothly as the ball but the goal was counted. Another draw, another successful possession and it was in Oxford’s attack with 5 minutes to go. Captain Zoe Thursz had a look in to goal but wisely took it behind and sent a beautiful feed to Ellie Lambert who quick-sticked it into the net.
10-10 with one minute to go. The crowds roared and excitement was in the air but before some of the Cambridge players could work out the flag system, the whistle had blown and the game was over.
A successful away day for Oxford with all to play for next term. Both teams remain undefeated with the league title decider and Varsity match at home next term. Not to be missed.
Duckie, Drewe, Kate