Cambridge women emerged as comfortable victors with a definitive performance against Oxford. For the first time in three years, Oxford did not get the double win.
Monday’s football Varsity at Oxford City’s Raw Charging stadium provided mixed results. The Cambridge women emerged comfortable victors, whilst the Oxford Men’s Blues won for the third year running. For the first time in three years, Oxford did not get the double win.
After a disappointing cancellation of the Football Varsity scheduled for March 19th in London at Leyton Orient, all teams had to refocus for a Football Varsity Round 2 on the 1st of May 2023. A thank you must also go to OUAFC Club President, Ore Jacobi, and CUAFC Men’s and Women’s Presidents, Ben Adam and Neve Mayes, for their swift rescheduling of the match.
With the women’s game first to kick off at 2pm, Oxford had the home crowd advantage with its supporters determined to see the team play despite it being term time. The game got off to a shaky start as both teams attempted to find their feet. Cambridge managed to keep the ball in their attacking half for the first 10 minutes until Oxford wrestled back control and built some promising attacks.
However, an injury to Cambridge’s centre back, Arden Dierker Viik, around the 25th minute saw play take a 15 minute break. She had broken her collarbone and had to be stretchered off the pitch. We wish her all the best with her recovery and thank the doctors in the crowd as well as the medics from the Oxford team who came over to help.
After the break in momentum, it was Cambridge who capitalised, scoring a goal as a result of sloppy defence from Oxford who failed to clear the ball out of their 18 yard box. Cambridge’s second goal came in stoppage time, just before the half time whistle, from a great piece of play down the right wing. Cambridge striker and Club President, Neve Mayes, tapped the low cross into the goal between the legs of Oxford keeper, Iona Ffrench-Adam.
After halftime, Oxford conceded 2 more goals off the boot of Neve Mayes. The Cambridge striker put in a fantastic performance, scoring a hattrick and named Player of the Match. The Cambridge midfield were also very impressive, especially with captain Frances Steele’s reliable distribution from centre defensive midfield.
Oxford made multiple substitutes in the second half after conceding. They brought on more attacking players and switched to a 3-5-2 formation in an attempt to get some more momentum moving forward. However, Oxford’s right winger couldn’t convert a 1 on 1 with the keeper. Their lack of shots on target meant they couldn’t score any consolation goals. Oxford were fortunate to avoid conceding further. To this, thanks must go to goalkeeper Iona Ffrench-Adam, who made some excellent saves despite playing with a broken finger and duly named Oxford’s Player of the Match by her teammates.
OUAFC President, Ore Jacobi, and Women’s Vice President, Ashley Chee, earnt their first blues, as great sight to see when they came on as substitutes in the final part of the second half – a fantastic and very well-deserved reward for all the hard work they put in this season to run the club.
The Oxford Blues were ultimately outplayed by Cambridge’s structured and effective build-up play. Congratulations must go to Cambridge for their clinical performance, their first Varsity win in 3 years.
Despite a doubtlessly disappointing Varsity result for Oxford, this doesn’t represent the season that the Women’s Blues have had. Led by captain Jess Cullen, the Blues have built up from a new and young squad into a gelled team over the course of the season. Despite most of the team never having played together before, they came second in their BUCS league and made the Cup Semi-Final. This Varsity loss does not and should not come to define what has, overall, been a successful season.
Unfortunately, despite a valiant effort from the Oxford Blues, the Cambridge Women played some excellent football and were clinical in front of goal. The final score of 4-0 probably didn’t reflect the good passages of play that Oxford were able to construct, but ultimately they couldn’t convert their chances.
Nevertheless, a thank you must also go to OUAFC Club President, Ore Jacobi, and CUAFC Men’s and Women’s Presidents, Ben Adam and Neve Mayes, for allowing the fixture to ahead, rescheduling the Football Varsity Round for this day.
Although the women’s result was disappointing, it was great to end the day on a high. They will undoubtedly also be determined to do better next year and get the varsity win once more. See you next year!
Image Credit: Nikola Boysová