OURFC Women vs Gloucester Match Report, courtesy of Catherine Wilcock, Ellen O’Connell and Carly Bliss
As our third BUCS game of the year, we were looking to improve on our performance away at Exeter and come away with a win at home, however the opposition were current BUCS Champions Gloucester University.
The day started off promisingly with the sun beaming down on us and our warm-up intense and focused. Having won the toss, we immediately put pressure on Gloucester with a high drop-kick fumbled by their forwards. Scrum to Oxford. Excellent pressure from the Oxford pack and an unstoppable driving maul retained ball possession. When Gloucester did have possession, they conceded several penalties. Quick ball and fast feet meant Oxford were playing in the Gloucester 22 and strong running from Outside Centre Emily Stone almost resulted in a try.
Good kicks from the Gloucester fly-half gave them breathing space but the with fast ball created by the Oxford backs linking up with the forwards, Oxford ran it straight back into their half. Strong scrums and lineouts combined with the speed of the back line caused problems for Gloucester’s defence however some handling errors by Oxford and a very determined defence by Gloucester slowed momentum, resulting in a 0-0 half-time score.
After dominating in the first half, but failing to put any points on the board, Oxford’s overwhelming desire to score was all the more obvious when play resumed. This resulted in some fantastic rugby, with Oxford stealing Gloucester’s scrums and dominating in the lineout. Strong forward carries and the Captain’s tidy box kick were effective in constantly regaining territory. The cool, calm head and hands of no. 10 Catherine Wilcock saw the ball shipped safely out to the backs, leaving centre Heli Copley to dance her way through the Gloucester line to score Oxford’s only try of the match, with Wilcock nailing the conversion.
This half also saw Gloucester fight back hard, and now they took their turn to camp out down Oxford’s end of the pitch. Excellent defensive work by Jesse van der Grient held up a Gloucester try. Gloucester did eventually score, but failed to convert the try or execute a critical penalty kick.
Oxford’s teamwork excelled, as did their sheer determination to win. With outstanding defensive work, players and spectators alike couldn’t be more relieved when Katie Whiting kicked the ball into touch and the full-time whistle blew, signalling a hard-fought but deserved win for the home team.
Final score: 7-5 to OURFC Blues
Back of the Match: Catherine Wilcock
Forward of the Match: Ellen O’Connell