Ecstacy for the women’s Blues Izzy Poles

An imperious performance carried CUAFC women’s Blues to a resounding victory over rivals Oxford in Monday’s Varsity match (01/05). Cambridge dominated throughout, combining midfield panache and attacking punch to lethal effect. Neve Mayes grabbed the headlines with three superbly taken goals, but it was the quality of the collective that shone through in a classy performance.

Cambridge impressed in the early stages, slicing through the Oxford defence with accomplished passing play. Two chances fell for Mayes, but the striker was yet to find her finishing touch, firing wide and nodding over. Clever set pieces provided a further outlet for the Light Blue attackers, producing an early chance for Erin Davies. Oxford failed to heed this warning, and the following corner brought the Cambridge opener. Isobel Boothroyd received the ball short, gliding between two defenders and clipping the ball toward the back post. As Oxford struggled to clear, Mayes diverted the loose ball into the path of Abbie Hastie, who slotted into an open net to give Cambridge the lead.

The Light Blues showed no signs of relenting, and quickly capitalised on an inspired attacking spell. Wingers Natasha Thornton-Clark and Lucy Fell found space in-behind, and the incisive passing of Davies unlocked the Oxford defence. Racing through on the left-hand side, Thornton-Clark looked set to double the lead, but a strong save denied the forward. Fell’s turn to run in-behind came minutes later, and the Oxford keeper was left hopeless on this occasion. Reaching the byline, Fell looked towards an arriving Mayes, who guided her precise cross into the back of the net.

Brimming with confidence, Mayes doubled her tally shortly after the halftime break. Receiving the ball on the left-hand side of the box, a superb first touch guided Mayes beyond her marker, and an exquisite curling effort found the top-right corner. Completing a stellar hattrick, Mayes extended Cambridge’s lead to four soon after. Striking across goal from the right-hand side, her effort cannoned off the far post before nestling in the Oxford net.


Mountain View

Men’s Blues suffer Varsity heartbreak

A chance for a fifth fell to Thornton-Clark, but a desperate goalline clearance robbed the winger of a well-deserved goal. With their lead secure, the attacking impetus faded for the Light Blues, and Oxford enjoyed their best spell in the closing stages. Only resolute defending denied the home side a consolation goal. Alexia Dengler, outstanding throughout, crushed dangerous Oxford counters with a series of crunching challenges, while goalkeeper Emilia Keavney mustered a fantastic save to deny an Oxford header seemingly destined for the far corner.

The final whistle sounded, and the Light Blues celebrated a monumental win in front of the travelling Cambridge fans. Recapturing Varsity bragging rights after last year’s defeat, the win offers a fitting conclusion to an excellent season for the women’s Blues.

Varsity POTM: Neve Mayes (Cambridge)