The Blues faced Birmingham 2’s on their own territory this week. A team known to bring both physicality and aggression onto the court, the Blues understood that the challenge ahead was not going to be easy. Birmingham fought with intensity from the first whistle, rewarding them with an early run of goals. Cambridge fed off this energy and fought back, significantly narrowing Birmingham’s lead to 6-4 midway through the first quarter. Despite strong physicality within the attacking circle, Clodagh Bottomley and Lucy Walker remained focused at the task in hand. Their shooting accuracy alongside Millie Quayle’s seamless feeds into the circle ensured that goals were consistently converted. Finishing the quarter 13-9, Cambridge were very much still in the game and hadn’t lost sight of the win.  


The start of the second quarter contained some great passages of play. The defensive unit of Jade Popoola and Libby Bryant put great pressure upon the opposition, resulting in many tips and turnovers for the Blues to capitalise upon. Complemented by Izzy Howes’ dominant drives through the midcourt and Indie Foster’s controlled play, the ball moved comfortably to the Cambridge attacking end. However, Birmingham dug in and stepped up their pressure. Attacking play became less natural and attacking centre passes proved difficult for the Blues’ to combat. Nonetheless, the score line of 28-19 at half time still seemed within reach.  


Unfortunately, the second half did not take shape how the Blues’ had wished. Birmingham came out fighting, but Cambridge struggled to quite match that energy. A few runs of goals from the away side and as legs began to tire, getting the ball to goal became more difficult. Cambridge still had some great play, Rachel Mercer’s decision making and intelligent feeds into the circle particularly shone through. Cambridge couldn’t quite get into their rhythm and struggled to make the most of their opportunities.  


The final score of 65-34 was certainly not the result the Blues’ had hoped for, but reflection after the game identified areas to work on and acknowledged the many positives which the team can continue to build upon. They are confident in their ability to act upon feedback and continue to improve performance, both individually and as a collective. A comfortable win for Birmingham on this occasion, but they best not rest on their laurels next time they face the Blues!