Both Men’s and Women’s travelled away on Wednesday to Exeter and Portsmouth respectively, and came away with encouraging performances in defeat to strong opposition.
Although ultimately falling to Exeter 49-12, the Women’s Blues dominated the first half and led the game until the 30th minute. Oxford got off to a great start when ten minutes into the game winger Alice Mingay scored deep in the right side after a chip-kick from fly half Abby D’Cruz exploiting a weakness in Exeter’s defence. Exeter followed up quickly with a try of their own tying up the game. The next score for the Blues came from centre, Johanna Dombrowski, powering through Exeter’s defence. D’Cruz converted and the Blues stayed on top until the 30th minute when Exeter scored to take the lead.
Although the second half didn’t go as planned for Oxford, the Blues put in a massive shift against one of the strongest sides in BUCS Premier South, especially given that several players made their BUCS debut for the Blues including Immie Hobby and Emma Lalande. The energy and skill brought by these new players bodes well for the Oxford women and the future of the club.
Several players deserve special mention for their exceptional play including full back Emily Bamber, wing Georgie Ellis, and prop Hazel Ellendor who was dominant in the scrum. Back of the match went to Johanna Dombrowski for her tough defense and strong breaks and forward of the match went to Hester Odgers for her exceptional work rate and tackles.The women have just one league match left now when they host Cardiff Metropolitan University at the Marston Sports Ground on Wednesday 14th February, kick-off 1400.
For the second week running the men faces military opposition, this time the Royal Navy who were beginning their preparations for the forthcoming Inter-Services Championship and as such were at full strength last night. Whilst the Blues could call upon six Blues in the back division, the forwards had just one, Charlie Pozniak in the second row and he was joined by four Freshman in the pack. Despite the youthfulness of the Blues forwards, they stood up to their older and bigger opponents and will be much better fro the experience as they continue to develop over the next few weeks. Indeed it was the visitors who scored first when flanker Tristan Louveaux, who has an uncanny knack of scoring tries, crossed in the corner. The seaman hit back with three converted tries to lead 21 to 5 at half-time and extended their lead in the second period until the Blues hit back with three more tries, one of which had the entire crowd applauding as the students went the full length of the field with deft handling and running lines before Seb Haddock finished in the corner. Outgoing Captain added the other two tries in a Man of the Match performance, converting one.
Next up for the men is the visit of Crawshays Welsh RFC to Iffley Road on Wednesday 14th February, kick-off 1915.
Team Abhijeet Oswal, John Aaron Henry, Vincent Tang, Charlie Pozniak, Joe Murphy, Sam Miller, Tristan Louveaux, Ryan Jones, Dylan McGagh, Conor Kearns, Ed David, Sam Moorby, Dan Moor, Tom Stileman, Daniel Barley
Subs Max Bowman (on for Abhijeet Oswal), Eddie Gillow (on for Tristan Louveaux), Sebastian Haddock (on for Dylan McGagh), Rob Quinlan (on for Daniel Barley), Ollie Quinn (on for Sam Moorby), Robbie Oliver (on for Joe Murphy), Tobi Clarke (on for Ed David)
ScoresT: Conor Kearns (2), Sebastian Haddock (1), Tristan Louveaux (1) C: Conor Kearns (1)