Oxford 1-9 Jersey
After about 200 emails to try and arrange this first-round Cup tie with far-flung Jersey, I soon realised why Katie Smith had been so keen to pass on the ‘honour’ of captaining Oxford’s ladies’ Masters (that’s a polite way of saying Over 35) team. In order to assist with our exotic visitors’ travel arrangements, the game was moved a day forward to the Saturday. Naturally, I had every confidence in the fitness of my squad, most of whom would already have played a league match earlier that day.
All did indeed go very well for at least the first five minutes. Despite Jersey’s very nice matching kit and considerably-better-organised-than-us warm up, we dominated and I was feeling positive. Age is indeed class… We were linking up like we’d actually played together regularly. Nadine and Sarah – perhaps our keenest Vets’ specialist players – used their fresh legs to great effect down the right and we looked dangerous. Then – somewhat against the run of play – Jersey won a short corner and scored.
After that, it all became a bit of a blur. Mostly a blur of red shirts in and around our D. Laura made some fine saves, and Katie won man of the match for her battling performance in the heart of the defence, greatly assisted by Lammey at centre mid. Even Tinny ran almost the whole length of the pitch from centre forward to come back and try and help get the ball out.
However, Jersey were just that little (okay, quite a lot) bit stronger (and younger?) than us and very good at scoring. We were 3 or 4 down by half-time. Luckily, super-sub Helen arrived at this point, fresh from her league game in Wycombe. This was particularly handy as my left knee had had enough by this point. With the injury list growing almost as fast as the goal tally, I began to realise that 2 games in a day is not such a good idea once you reach a certain age…
Helen’s injection of youth and determination, however, did help us get the ball up the right end of the pitch – where Tinny set up Lammey to pull one back for us. Tinny managed to entertain the spectators and win the DoD award with a couple more half-chances late on – and even a sprint at one point.
By the final whistle, I’d lost count completely but the umpires helpfully clarified that it was a 1-9 final score. At least it wasn’t double figures… And the adventures will continue as we now progress into the Trophy competition – next fixture on 6th November.
Thanks to all our Oxford players, our friendly opponents for travelling all the way from their island to give us a very enjoyable game (despite the scoreline), to our two very good umpires, our sizeable (maybe as many as 5?) crowd, the Men’s 7s for letting us have their pitch, and particularly to Mark for stepping in at the last minute to organise the subbing.