Photo: cooper gary

Battling Warwick slip to defeat in opening BUCS encounter

Warwick 9-18 Oxford

Oscar Mayhew watched a new look Women’s Lacrosse 1st team fall at home to Oxford. Despite the defeat there were signs of encouragement.

Location – Cryfield Pitches

Star performer– Sarena Clarke – her blistering pace consistently relieved pressure from the Warwick backline and found spaces in the Oxford defence. Great debut performance.



Stepping onto the Cryfield grass for the first BUCS game of the season, Warwick entered their match against Midland 1A’s title-favourites Oxford full of endeavour. Although the squad has been overhauled due to a high number of departing players, an industrious pre-season filled with drills and fitness has prepared the side for a year surrounded by high expectations. Whilst this was not the result desired to kick-start the new season, Warwick’s battling performance was filled with positives to take into future games.

Initial optimism at the first draw was temporarily dented by Warwick starting the game without a goalkeeper, who was desperately searching for a throat guard in order to satisfy the referee’s safety concerns. Allowing the game to start with the Warwick side-line scampering for the missing equipment, Oxford raced into a lead, capitalising with three well executed goals before Warwick regained their full cohort.

Yet once the sides were evenly matched, Warwick’s play began to develop. Quick breaks and incisive passing from captain Emily Standen led to two superbly finished goals from Alice Jeffers as Oxford had their backs firmly against the wall. However, poor marking allowed Oxford to regain dominance in the game, with their first home proving a menace in Warwick’s backline as the host’s midfield began to look increasingly isolated and frustrated.

Initial optimism at the first draw was temporarily dented by Warwick starting the game without a goalkeeper

Refereeing confusion over a flailing elbow then brought a break in the play, leading to discussion on the side-line over the majority of the Oxford players wearing goggles. While not donned by any of the Warwick side, goggles have become increasingly popular in the BUCS leagues and although there may be reservations over their impact upon peripheral vision, their value to player safety has not been overstated.

As the game reached the interval, Oxford’s spells of dominance became more telling, as they found the net consistently. Fast Warwick breaks, particularly from Sarena Clarke on her debut, kept them in the game, with the referee calling a halt for half time at 10-5 to Oxford.

A galvanising team talk with emphasis placed upon doing the basics right initially did little to thwart an impressive Oxford side after the break, as they quickly added a further three goals to their tally, only kept this low through brave goalkeeping and some robust defending from Warwick. Yet after this spell under the cosh and with some wholesale changes, Warwick flourished. Clarke and Standen were again at the forefront of this resurgence, using their pace to exploit gaps in the Oxford defence as Warwick began to claw back at the heels of their opponents. Two precise finishes brought Warwick right back into the game once more, as Oxford struggled to deal with the home team’s pressure.

Standen was impressed with the resolve and teamwork of the players and the quality of the freshers’ intake.

Yet hopes of a comeback were soon dashed as Oxford’s superior fitness and match practice began to take its toll, making the most out of a temporary man advantage when the referee caught onto some Warwick swiping. The game drew to a close with Warwick firmly pinned in their own half as Oxford continued to extend their lead, briefly relieved by some great stick work and a precise finish from Gunisha Vig, leaving the final score 19-8.

Despite the loss, Warwick can look proudly upon their performance against an impressive Oxford side. For their first match of a long season, with the new influx of players still to gel, Standen was impressed with the resolve and teamwork of the players and the quality of the freshers’ intake. Effective communication at this stage of the season is always a telling sign of a team with great potential and there is no doubt that the season’s ambitions remain high. Next week’s fixture against Nottingham 2’s will provide a great opportunity to register their first win of the campaign.




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