Women’s Blues Hockey

first_imgThe Blues looked to kickstart their faltering start to the campaign bytaking on newly-promoted Cardiff in a top-tier BUSA South Premier clash.Oxford started brightly from the first touch of the ball, pressuring theCardiff back four via the new diamond midfield formation being trialled bycoach John Shaw in a bid to freshen up the tried and tested women’s system.The tactical shift bore almost immediate fruit, with a switch around theback through the pivotal Jo Sumpter resulting in a right flank advance. Thesprightly Jess Barnes, well served all day by the midfield, tore away fromher marker with a characteristic change of pace and fed Beth Wild whorattled home an unerring across goal shot to open the scoring. BuoyantOxford were still tested by the immensely talented Cardiff spine but quicklylearned to frustrate their talismanic players and dominate proceedings.Despite conceding a succession of short corners, Cardiff couldn’t find ariposte, largely due to the imperious form of Jess Hughes and the composeddefensive duo of fresher Jo McNaught-Davis and captain Vicky Anderson.Hughes brought out a spectacular double-save midway through the second halfafter another threatening Cardiff break and the near-miss spurred the Bluesinto action, as the ball was brought out of defence again a rapid break wasspearheaded by Alice Cook, seemingly reborn in her behind-the-front-tworole. The forward phalanx won a timely short corner but the initial shotwas saved, only for the ball to fall to Sumpter in the second phase who,with time on her side, made no mistake from the top of the D. Oxfordcontinued to create chances and a fast end-to-end game was enjoyed by themodest watching throng but they couldn’t pull away into a further leaddespite many clear cut chances, and the game ended 2-0last_img read more