By Alice Hobson
We arrived on poolside, jealous of Oxford’s polo facilities, and unable to breathe in our new suits. “Don’t react, grab them first!” was Laura’s rallying cry as the starting seven jumped in the water. It sounds like the motto of a lad-on-the-pull, but is in fact a totally legitimate water polo attitude to take. It certainly paid off for us, and we came home with an 11-4 victory, our second win against Oxford this year.
The first quarter saw Cambridge take a comfortable lead, with Kate and Laura’s goals boosting us to 3-0. Oxford certainly did get the ball down and try to score, but Lucy was incredible at deflecting all their attempts. Having spent the past week facing terrifying Hungarian teenagers on winter training camp, she found the relatively gentle shots of the Oxford women easy to handle.
In the second quarter, Oxford came back with a goal in the first 30 seconds. Their luck was short-lived, however, and that was their only goal of the quarter. Laura and Kate shot two more for Cambridge, so the score was a nice 5-1 by the end. It was also Liv’s debut in a match, and she did amazingly!
In some ways, the third quarter continued just as the first two had – Kate and Laura scored goals. In other ways, however, it was a little different. After graduating, Robbo’s college grandmother, Rosanna, made the unadvisable decision to move to Oxford, and to play water polo. Robbo was overcome by feelings of betrayal, and fouled her grandmother, which resulted in her being sent off. Once Robbo was back in the game, what was left of their familial relationship continued to disintegrate, as she managed to take the ball from her granny. This quarter also saw a ball mix up, which resulted in us playing with a men’s ball. Partly because we have hands big enough to deal with Size 5 balls, partly because we were grabbing first, and partly because Kate and Laura were on a roll, the quarter left us with an 8-4 lead.
The final quarter brought in some new goal scorers, with Frances, Laure and Laura bringing the score up to 11-4. “But why did Kate stop scoring goals?” I hear you ask. Well, Kate and Lucy had swapped, and Kate was defending our goal against Oxford’s final attempts to equalise. Needless to say, they scored no goals.
Players of the match went to Lucy for some fabulous saves which made it much less stressful for those watching on the bench! And to Kate, who literally was just picking the ball from them in defence, they couldn’t keep it and she did an excellent job of communicating and telling people where they should be.
Overall, the match was fast-paced and fun, and a fantastic game to throw us back into a term of water polo!