OURFC Women’s Blues played their first BUCS home match of the season on Wednesday afternoon against the University of Exeter. As The Varsity Match at Twickenham draws ever closer, playing on Iffley Stadium’s maximum width pitch in front of a home crowd made for excellent preparation for the squad.
Much like the week before against Cardiff Met, the match would test the Oxford defense, with Exeter providing an excellent squad of well-prepared players. The contest kicked off in perfect weather conditions, however, Exeter were first to make their mark – scoring twice in the first 20 minutes of the game. It took the efforts of the whole of the back line and a good offload game, finished superbly by Sophie Trott, to slot the first of Oxford’s tries in the far right corner. The much-needed points put the home team back in the game with the Blues holding off a dangerous looking Exeter attack until the final minutes of the half when a third try was conceded: rendering the half-time score board 17-5 to Exeter.
The second half saw fresh legs from the bench lifting the pace of the game with both sides looking dangerous on the ball – play swinging between the two 22‘s. Oxford’s offload game and go-forward saw numerous line-breaks, however, the Blues struggled to come away from the Exeter 22 with points. Exeter, meanwhile, were able to finish their opportunities well, coming away with three more tries in the second half. This didn’t dishearten the Blues, who have struggled to put points on Exeter in the past, and a second try came from a break by Johanna Dombrowski with 10 minutes to go – her fourth in as many games. The final minutes of the game were all Oxford as the Blues refused to lower their heads in light of the scoreboard. Final score 10 Exeter 36.
A special mention goes to Phoebe Haste and Johanna Dombrowski, named forward and back of the match respectively. Next week will see OURFC Women take on Bristol University at home, with a 6pm KO at Iffley Stadium.
15. Sophie Trott* 14. Violet Smart 13. Laura Simpson 12. Jo Dombrowski* 11. Affi Bunting* 10. Abby D’Cruz 9. Pat Metcalfe Jones* 1. Hazel Ellender 2. Carolina Matte Gregory 3. Hester Odgers* 4. Phoebe Haste 5. Jo Male 6. Hannah Cooper* 7. Caitlin McArdle* 8. Sophie Behan* (c)
16. Gwen Cartwright 17. Katie Collis 18. Anna Bidgood* 19. Susy Rees 20. Helen Potts 21. Alice Mingay 22. Lucy Fenwick
Sophie Trott (1T), Johanna Dombrowski (1T)