14 Nov 2019

Oxford skipper Hazel Ellender faces a race against time to be fit for the Varsity Match after picking up an injury to her left knee in the morale boosting win over a strong invitation side.

The loose head prop damaged ligaments in her left knee and is set to have a scan to fully assess the damage. The Twickenham date with Cambridge is less than a month away on Thursday, 12 November.

“I twisted my knee and the early diagnosis is slight damaged to a cruciate ligament. I’m hopeful that there is still enough time to get it sorted in time for the varsity match,” said Ellender.

The Dark Blues skipper was delighted with the way in which her team reacted to their recent BUCS Premier South defeat to Cambridge at Grange Road and is confident they are back on track to upset the odds next month.

It was an historic day all round at Iffley Road with the men’s team celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first game against Major Stanley’s XV and the women making their first appearance against the invitation side.

“It was great to get the chance to play against a group of ex-Blues and the Stanley’s XV was very strong. They certainly gave us the kind of test we need before Twickenham,” added Ellender.

“It was also good to get a game of that quality at the Varsity Match kick-off time of 11.30am. It gave the girls the chance to work on their match day preparations and routines for Twickenham.

“The defeat at Grange Road certainly hurt, but it will have no bearing on what happens on the big day. I told the girls to take a couple of days to reflect on that performance and I’m confident we will come back stronger for the experience.”

All the points in the game came in the first half with centre Zoe Nunn and wing Clodagh Holmes crossing for tries for the students.  Pat Metcalfe-Jones added both conversions, while the invitation side mustered two tries.

The second half was all about strong defence for the home side – a quality they will need at Twickenham once again.

Oxford Women’s XV: Clodagh Holmes (University); Helen Potts * (New), Zoe Nunn (St Catherine’s), Pat Metcalfe-Jones * (Christ Church), Maddie Hindson (Keble); Nina Jenkins (Keble), Sile Johnson (St Hugh’s); Hazel Ellender * (St Cross, captain), Anna Bidgood (University), Esme Haywood (Brasenose), Carla Schmidt (Balliol), Katie Collis * (Lincoln), Emily Cohen (Jesus), Ailsa Clark (Worcester), Hannah Cooper * (Worcester)
Reps: Shekinah Opara * (Keble), Jo Male (St Edmund Hall), Melanie Onovo (Christ Church), Phoebe Haste * (Trinity), Meryem Arik (Somerville), Connie Hurton * (Pembroke), Siobhan Pebody (St John’s), Maddy Ross (Balliol)

Major Stanley’s Women’s XV: Emily Stone * (Richmond); Imogen Duffy * (Richmond), Katarina Martinovic * (Richmond), Johanna Dombrowski * (Wasps), Georgia Ling * (London Irish); Catherine Wilcock * (Preston Grasshoppers), Tess Braunerova * (Richmond, captain); Sydney Sopher * (Bath), Susy Rees * (Unattached), Cecilia Peker * (Hampstead), Affi Bunting * (Oxford Ladies), Leanne Robinson * (Shelford & British Police), Liz Richards * (Cullompton), Charlie Willett * (Richmond), Sophie Behan * (Rosslyn Park)
Reps: Miranda Dechazal * (Shotton Steel), Jess Wynter-Bee * (Old Bristolians), Violet Smart * (Richmond), Ann Cooper * (Broughton Edinburgh), Honor Murison * (Unattached)
*Denotes Blue