It was first-blood to Cambridge in the ‘Battle of the Blues’ this season as they used home advantage to great effect to beat arch-rivals Oxford in their BUCS Premier South Women’s league clash this week
Fiona Shuttleworth’s side laid down an early marker ahead of the Varsity Match clash at Twickenham on 12 December, when the Light Blues will be defending their title, as they romped to a 23-5 win that included four tries. Replacement back row forward Emily Cohen scored Oxford’s only points
The victory took the Light Blues into second place behind unbeaten Cardiff University in the Premier South table and enabled them to leapfrog Oxford, who had previously beaten Sussex University (29-10), Swansea (31-5) and drawn with Bristol (17-17).
Shuttleworth’s side, which included seven old Blues in the win over Oxford at Grange Road, ran league leaders Cardiff close in their opening game before going down to a 41-36 defeat. They then drew with Bristol (17-17) before crushing Swansea (44-5).
It shows both teams are building nicely towards their big date at the home of English rugby. Cambridge won a tense match 8-5 last year and will be hoping to close the gap on Oxford, who hold a 19-13 lead in the 32 match series to date.
THE WOMEN’S VARSITY MATCH – 1988-2018
P 32 Oxford 19 wins, Cambridge 13 wins
2015: OXFORD 0, CAMBRIDGE 52
2016: OXFORD 3, CAMBRIDGE 0
2017: OXFORD O, CAMBRIDGE 24
2018: OXFORD 5, CAMBRIDGE 8
Cambridge: Hannah Vandersluis (Peterhouse); Colette Russell (Fitzwilliam), Jen Atherton (Jesus), Bluebell Nicholls * (King’s), Ella Halcrow (Murray Edwards); Elisha Clark (St John’s), Kate Marks * (Newnham); Laura Bleehan (Girton), Emma Pierce * (St Catharine’s), Saffron Hicks (Selwyn), Charlotte Spruzen * (Queens), Laura Nunez-Mulder * (Emmanuel), Jenni Shuttleworth * (Churchill), Fiona Shuttleworth * (Pembroke, captain), Rose Scowen (Magdelene)
Reps: Abi Wilkinson (Queens’), Charlotte Manser (Murray Edwards), Cara Prowling (St John’s), Marj Heemskerk (Trinity Hall), Coreen Grant (Corpus Christi), Naomi Pygott (Peterhouse), Hannah Samuel (Girton)
Oxford: Connie Hurton * (Pembroke); Siobhan Pebody (St John’s), Zoe Nunn (St Catherine’s), Megan Carter (Lincoln), Maddie Hindson (Keble); Nina Jenkins (Keble), Helen Potts * (New); Esme Haywood (Brasenose), Hazel Ellender * (St Cross, captain), Shekinah Opara * (Keble), Meryem Arik (Somerville), Katie Collis * (Lincoln), Ailsa Clark (Worcester), Phoebe Haste * (Trinity), Hannah Cooper * (Worcester)
Reps: Jessica Abele * (Exeter), Melanie Onovo (Christ Church), Ruby James (Worcester), Emily Cohen (Jesus), Carla Schmidt (Balliol), Maddy Ross (Balliol), Clodagh Holmes (University)