After a slightly stressful meet, fearful of having lost a player, an excited Oxford women’s Blues squad travelled down the M5 to Bristol fresh from their win against Gloucestershire University the previous Wednesday. Featuring a mix of new and returning players, Oxford got stuck in within the first five minutes with good intensity. After the kick-off, Oxford found themselves with possession in Bristol’s 22 and were attacking well. Unfortunately, a quick turnover ball from Bristol and the speed of their outside centre gave them their first try. However, Oxford kept up the intensity throughout the first half with some good breaks down both wings and some great attacking work from the forwards which led to the ball being held up over the try line. Throughout the match, Oxford’s work around the ruck meant they were able to successfully ‘jackle’, forcing a number of turnovers. While Oxford’s tackles were low and clinical, Bristol’s offloading game meant that they were able to get behind Oxford’s defensive line to score some well deserved tries.
Resetting for the second half, after some inspirational words from both the coaches and the captain, Oxford went out with a determination to win the second half. Unfortunately, a number of injuries took some of Oxford’s key players off the pitch. Despite that, the Dark Blues continued to defend well with some good scrummaging from the forwards followed by quick hands and great lines to get the ball out wide by the backs. A number of breaks from the Blues continued to put pressure on the opposition but Bristol’s scramble defence was well organised and with their offload game continuing to trouble Oxford’s defence, the final whistle blew with the score at 43-0.
Forward of the match: Anna Gibson (Exeter) Back of the match: Apphia Bunting (New)
15. Sophie Trott 14. Affi Bunting 13. Heli Copley 12. Carly Bliss 11. Millie Rose 10. Catherine Wilcock (Captain) 9. Iona Harrap 8. Elmarie van Heerden 7. Leanne Robinson 6. Carolina Matté Gregory 5. Sophie Taylor 4. Harriet McCay 3. Cecilia Peker 2. Pat Metcalfe-Jones 1. Jenny Smith
16. Gwen Cartwright 17. Beth Candlin 18. Anna Gibson 19. Mollie MacGinty 20. Imogen Duffy 21. Gemma Robson