Cambridge Women's Hockey 2nd XI celebrate their 3-0 win over Oxford Carl Lomas

Sunday saw five teams from Cambridge University Hockey Club (CUHC) descend on Iffley Road to contest numerous Varsity Matches against their counterparts from Oxford University Hockey Club (OUHC). Three men’s and two women’s teams from Cambridge were seeking to match last year’s clean sweep at Wilberforce Road.   

The first action on Oxford’s home turf was the Men’s 4th teams; unlike the home side, the Cambridge fourth string side do not play regular hockey together, instead being amalgamated from the College League. This did little, however, to dampen the attacking flair exhibited by the visitors. Both sets of players were evenly matched, with man of the match Elliot Wilde pivotal in the centre of defence for the visitors. A solitary strike would separate the two sides, Daniel Eatough was left unmarked in the shooting circle and was able to slot home past the keeper to give the Light Blues a first victory of the day.

The first women’s outing would be the contest between the third teams. Oxford started as the better side, and were quick to involve their fast-breaking forwards, forcing goalkeeper Holly Hellawell into a number of good saves. Once Cambridge got into their stride, however, they were by far the better team. Sarah Wooding was excellent in midfield and her player of the match performance was capped by a goal courtesy of a first time hit from Katherine Curran’s cross. Lydia Michaelides played brilliantly in defence, ensuring that Oxford’s forwards were well marked and their pace nullified. The game finished 2-0; Izzy Shears steered home the second after the ball ricocheted around the circle for some time. Two wins from two did much to lift the mood of the raucous travelling supporters. 

Cambridge’s winning streak continued with the Men’s 3rd team also emerging victorious, although they found themselves behind for much of the game. For the first thirty-five minutes Oxford had the majority of possession, fashioning chance after chance with threatening through balls. Such attacking pressure was quickly rewarded with an early goal, bringing a brief period of quiet from the Cambridge fans. Half-time came just when needed for the Light Blues, who re-grouped and put together a much better performance after the break.  The equaliser came midway through the second half, setting up a tense finish. Just as it looked like the game would go to penalty shuffles, Cambridge found the back of the net to move ahead 2-1. David Gibson made the contest 3-1 as Oxford threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the Cambridge goal, desperately seeking an equaliser in the final minutes.

2nd team captain, Beth Barker, takes on an Oxford defenderCarl Lomas

The Women’s 2nd teams squared off in the penultimate game of the day, with the Light Blues hoping to replicate last year’s 4-0 win. The visitors started strongly, going ahead within the first five minutes through Colette Russell’s neat finish. Oxford could not get a foothold in the game, barely touching the ball as Cambridge maintained their attacking pressure and defensive structure well, culminating in a goal for Beth Barker as she intercepted a poor clearance from a Dark Blue defender. The pressure did not ease after half-time as the Light Blues scored a third through Sophie Glanfield. Oxford’s best chances came too late to change the result, and even then Morgause Lomas made some excellent saves to keep the hosts off the board. Four wins from four and dreams of a second consecutive clean sweep were within reach.

Just as in the Men’s 3rd XI game, the Cambridge Men’s 2nd team went behind early and struggled to find any rhythm going forward. The Dark Blues were menacing in attacking; each venture into the Cambridge half brought a significant goal threat. Nevertheless, Harry Leng scored a magnificent equaliser against the run of play to give the visitors a foothold in the game. Cambridge could not, however, generate any sustained momentum to build upon Leng’s goal, conceding the lead to Oxford via a short corner in the final few minutes as pressure told. The Dark Blues, keen to walk away with a semblance of dignity, did not sit back. Wave upon wave of attack was sent in the direction of the Light Blue goal. Insult was added to injury as Oxford added a third with the final action of the day, salvaging a modicum of pride for the hosts.


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Mountain View

In Conversation with: Ed Sides

Last year’s clean sweep may not have been repeated, but a 4-1 slate in favour of Cambridge constitutes a success for CUHC. Away from home, fielding an inexperienced fourth-string men’s side, and with the pressure of replicating the previous year’s success, all things considered Light Blue Hockey had a field day.

The Men’s and Women’s Blues will go head-to-head on March 4th at Southgate Hockey Club. An overall victory may have been secured by Cambridge in Oxford, but with the Blues Varsity Matches to come the job is far from done

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