On Saturday 2nd March OUWRFC Blues and Panthers faced CUWRFC Blues and Tigers at Grange Road in Cambridge. OUWRFC were delighted to return victorious from Cambridge for the first double win since 2004.
Panthers v Tigers was a demonstration of absolute guts and determination, the standard of play reflecting excellent squad depth from both sides. The first try came from Laura Soul (10) crashing over the line after a series of penalties. A great defence from the Panthers kept the Tigers in their own half, and the second try, from Esther Gosling (12), wasn’t long coming, but a breakaway from Cambridge’s 6 kept the Tigers in the game. Into the second half neither team looked like tiring. But, after a scoreless ten minutes, Panthers hooker Kelly-Anne Ferguson finally made it over the try line from a quick tap penalty, converted by Esther Gosling. A try from newcomer Libby Knowles (13), repeated quickly by another breakaway try, with a huge conversion from Esther, took the final score to 29-5.
With such a huge effort from the Panthers, the Blues had a lot to live up to, and Blues v Light Blues was always going to be a tough match. Cambridge were fighting back, having lost in the previous season to Oxford 28-8 after a succession of four consecutive victories against Oxford. The teams, well-matched in defence, were at stalemate for the first half. Oxford were camped out in the Cambridge 22 for the last ten minutes, but a solid and resolute defence from Cambridge kept Oxford from the try line, both Oxford wingers being swept into touch in turn before the whistle. Frantic will to win from both teams meant that attacking play was far from clinical, and Jessie Flowers at scrumhalf had her work cut out to control the pace. Big hits from Rona Mitchell (12) and Georgia Rought-Whitta (13) kept Cambridge on their toes, but they responded well. An early score from Cambridge on the wing in the second half gave Oxford the push they needed. Oxford fought back and scored almost immediately. The first was a forwards try from prop Jessamy Tyrrell (1), who charged through the line of defence to place the ball neatly between the posts. Set pieces tightened up into the last 20 minutes and Oxford had two more tries. A line out, maul, a couple of phases and then hands back out wide resulted in a try (Reem Hafez, replacing Tess Braunerova on the wing), but no conversion. The third try came from some hard work from the whole team, forwards tying in the defence, to allow George at 13 to streak through a gap in the line to make it 15-5 at the final whistle.
A well-deserved pair of victories for a committed and determined squad, proud to make it 6/7 for Oxford University Rugby.