Showing posts with label University rugby. Show all posts
Showing posts with label University rugby. Show all posts

Tuesday, 26 March 1996

Birminghan University's captain looks forward to playing at Twickenham

TWICKENHAM! Home of rugby! Wow! On Monday it's only just starting to sink in that we'll actually be playing there on Wednesday - the third time ever that it's had a women's rugby match.

Rugby has been the fastest growing women's sport in Britain over the past decade. But people who haven't seen it tend to treat it as a joke. The reality is that although we might not go in for the stamping and raking you can see in the men's game, we are equally hard-hitting. It's not for softies.Ours is much more ball-in-hand rather than the kick-and-chase men's game. So in going to Twickenham for this final, I feel we are very much at the sharp end, not just of the game in general, but its standing in university sport.

These days it's more difficult than ever to combine university studies with high-level competitive sport. I'd never played rugby before university. My background is athletics. I've been a junior Welsh international in the heptathlon, high, long, and triple jump. But this season I've had to devote to rugby.

This Monday morning, one difference between us and the men's game is obvious to me. Here I am doing a mass of organisation - sorting out the hotel and transport - which my male counterpart wouldn't have to worry about.

Somehow I fit in a two-hour seminar on cardio-respiratory responses. I'm studying sport and exercise science and my finals are next term. Lunch is toast. Then more admin, and time to fill in an application to be a Nike sales rep. I'd love that.

Monday evening we train from 5 until 7.30. Everyone's finally realising that we are going to Twickenham.

Tuesday morning, more admin. Final arrangements over stewards etc. I'm getting more excited by the hour until at last we're off to London.

It's very loud in the minibus. Yes, we sing our own versions of rugby songs, but don't ask me for details. We're booked into a hotel at the Elephant and Castle. All I can say is that we're not on a big budget.

Breakfast on the big day is a roll and croissant. More would have been nice. Seven of us see the osteopath and masseur. I'm still stiff after being kicked in the back during Saturday's game.

Then off to Twickenham. There's a huge shout at our first glimpse of the top of the stand. None of us bar two has ever been, let alone played, here before.

We've not got much time to look around because we're playing at 12.30. The men's final is at 3.

We're playing Loughborough and there's no love lost between us. They knocked us out last year.

It's so disappointing. I have to go off 10 minutes into the game to get my leg strapped up after being kneed in my right quad. For the rest of the match I'm unable to play as well as I should. I'm the number 13, and this season I've been leading try scorer and kicker.

We're beaten 32-5, which doesn't do us justice. The second half we actually get more possession. But the dinner afterwards in the ground's Invincibles restaurant is superb.

Back in Birmingham we drown our sorrows in the union bar. I'm not altogether sober when I make it to bed.

Thursday and Friday I've got to knuckle down and finish off a practical and a project because on Saturday I've got another training session . . . with the England students women's XV.

Source Citation
"Education: From the sharp end - The captain of Birmingham university women's rugby team finally makes it on to the hallowed Twickers turf." Guardian [London, England] 26 Mar. 1996

Monday, 4 March 1996

Varsity rugby: Oxford make it eight in a row

OXFORD continued their dominance of the University women's rugby union fixture in beating Cambridge for the eighth consecutive time, 32-7, at Iffley Road yesterday.

A superlative first-half performance put Oxford into a 27-0 lead at half-time, and the match was as good as won. Oxford were indebted to their pack, who rucked and mauled with impressively good technique, reflecting the input of their male Blue coaches. Heather Lockhart, who scored three of the home side's six tries from the flank, was outstanding.

Outside, although Cambridge have a dangerous runner in Justine Curgenven, at centre, it was Jo Hudson, the Oxford captain, who led by example from full back and who was influential in setting up positions from which her side could take advantage.

SCORERS: Oxford: Tries: Lockhart (3), Cribb, King, Umarji. Conversions: Cribb. Cambridge: Try: Curgenven. Conversion: Hawker.

Copyright (C) The Times, 1996

Source Citation
"Oxford maintain their domination; Rugby Union." Times [London, England] 4 Mar. 1996

Saturday, 10 March 1990

Women's Rugby Football Union Student Cup

Oxford won the women's university rugby match at Iffley Road yesterday, beating Cambridge 22-0. They play Loughborough University at Southgate tomorrow in the inaugural final of the Women's Rugby Football Union Student Cup.

Copyright (C) The Times, 1990

Source Citation
"Cambridge suffer; Rugby Union." Times [London, England] 10 Mar. 1990

Friday, 11 March 1988

First varsity match: report

DAVID HANDS, Rugby Correspondent

Oxford University .....6 Cambridge University ..8

Twenty years ago I did some writing for what was then the Cambridge student newspaper, Varsity. It had the usual mixture of intellectual heaviness and appalling humour and there was a sports desk, whose approach might be summed up in the pseudonym of the resident tipster, Auspice, which I thought was funny then and still do.

During a series on captains of university sport I interviewed the captain of women's cricket who said, as I left, that at least I had not been patronizing about women playing what was generally considered to be a man's sport.

The point of this preamble is that yesterday, at Iffley Road, Oxford and Cambridge played the first women's rugby match between the two universities. They worked hard to organize it, they worked even harder during it and both sides and their coaches (male) deserve immense credit for an afternoon spilling over with enthusiasm.

It was the first time Cambridge women have won a match and they did so on this occasion thanks to a try from a five-metre scrum in the final minute by Sophia Pegers, their captain, which brought them victory by two tries to a goal. This is no place to talk about the skills of the game since most of the participants have been involved in rugby only for the last five months and many of them have had to start from scratch.

Suffice it to say that to Barbara Skelly, with a delightful outside swerve, belongs the honour of scoring the first try in what, it is hoped, will become a series. Morgan played intelligently at stand-off half for Cambridge but the tackling was the outstanding feature of the game before Spash, in what amounted to an interception, got away from her own 22 for the try which, with Campbell Smith's conversion, gave Oxford the lead they defended for so long.

There are no blues - yet - for - women's rugby, though Cambridge bad a Blue, Mark Hancock, captain of the men's team, to help Andy Mason, their coach. They also, in keeping with modern trends, produced a sponsor, Kent and Curwen, a clothing company which supplied their red and blue kit while Oxford borrowed their colours from the men's team.

Oxford, it may be added, won the first men's university match 117 years ago, so Cambridge's women have belatedly provided some compensation.

Oxford University: Try: Spash Conversation: Campbell-Smith. Cambridge University: Tries: Skelly, Pegers.
J Wilcox (Keble); L Murphy (University), S Willis (St Hilda's), L Jordan (Pembroke), A Spash (St Hilda's) (rep: N Robinson, St John's); C Campbell-Smith (St John's), H Bunting (St Hugh's, capt); L Simon (St Hilda's), A Botting (St Edmund Hall), M Wells (St Peter's), J Beardsmore (Merton). H Devine (St Hilda's). T Kimber (Brasenose), J Wells (St John's) M Jorgenson (Christ Church).

K Ward (St John's); E Brooks (Homerton), H Rickards (Homerton), A Bruton (Lucy Cavendish), B Skelly (Newnham); A Morgan (Homerton), L Carr (St Catharine's); K Harris (Homerton), R Maurice-Smith (Homerton), L Laver (Homerton), C Blackford (Newnham). A Waitt (Homerton), C Slater (Newnham), L Whitfield (St Catherine's), S Pegers (Robinson, capt).
Referee: A Midha (Swansea).

Source Citation
"Rugby Union: Cambridge make up for their men." Times [London, England] 11 Mar. 1988.

Saturday, 30 January 1988

First varsity match

Another milestone for women's Rugby Union will be passed on March 10 when Oxford meet Cambridge at Iffley Road. Female students at both universities have been playing rugby for scarcely two seasons and their progress will be watched closely in those provincial centres, such as Loughborough, where the game is already established. Copyright (C) The Times, 1988

Source Citation
"Rugby Union: Feminine touch." Times [London, England] 30 Jan. 1988.

Friday, 12 February 1982