Two Green Templeton College students played in the successful Oxford Women’s Rugby Varsity matches on Saturday 2 March as both the Blues and the Panthers emerged victorious.
The teams returned triumphant from Cambridge’s Grange Road ground with the first double win for the Oxford squad since 2004.
Reem Hafez (DPhil Public Health) played in the winning Blues team in the afternoon’s second match, whilst Jesse Van Der Grient (DPhil Zoology) had the distinction of taking part in both the Blues match and the Panthers’ victory!
In the first match, the Panthers took on the Cambridge Tigers in a high quality contest that demonstrated the huge amount of strength in depth that both squads possessed.
A frantic first half looked to be going Oxford’s way after repeated attacks led to a two try lead, before a breakaway try against the run of play kept Cambridge within touching distance.
Cambridge withheld yet more pressure after the break, before a quick tap-penalty gave the Panthers’ relentless efforts the reward they deserved, finally breaching the dogged Tigers’ defence to cross for a try. Two more late tries followed, to add the gloss to a comprehensive 29-5 victory.
There was no let-up in passion or intensity in the Blues match that followed, and both sides put in huge defensive efforts to go in level at 0-0 at half time, despite the Blues being camped in the Cambridge 22 for the last ten minutes of the half.
Cambridge emerged revitalised after the break, and they broke the deadlock within minutes of the restart.
However, this seemed to give Oxford the shock that they needed to up their tempo, and their attacking play gained a clinical edge that the Light Blues could not deal with.
A rampaging try scored by the Oxford prop-forward was followed by a flowing score out wide finished off by Hafez, and the result was put beyond doubt after a real team effort led to a third try. Oxford ran out thoroughly deserved 15-5 winners, ending an afternoon of performances the whole squad could be proud of.