After a winning start to the season, the Blues travelled down to Loughborough on Wednesday 26th October to face what they expected to be their toughest opposition yet: Loughborough 2s. From the very first centre pass, these suspicions were confirmed, with Loughborough bringing a level of physicality and intensity to the game which the Blues had not yet come up against. Cambridge were in for a fight.

            The first quarter, from the perspective of a benchee, felt relatively even; momentum swung this way and that, with Lucy Dodd and Zoe Starbuck sinking crucial shots – and making impressive attacking interceptions – at the front, whilst Jade Papoola and Libby Bryant put their springy selves to good use against Loughborough’s super tall shooters at the back. A quarter time score of 16-8 to the home side left the Blues feeling a little hard done by, but a solid performance left room for encouragement that the tide may soon turn in their favour. 

            Unfortunately, the start of the second quarter did not bring this turning of the tide. The opening 8 minutes of the quarter saw another strong defensive performance from the Blues, but a consistent struggle to transition the ball through the court and convert these turnovers meant goals were few and far between for the away side. As the quarter time changes settled in however, and huge arms over the ball from the whole team, particularly Indie Foster, started to pressurise the Loughborough attack into making mistakes, the Blues managed to stem the home side’s relentless flow of goals.

            With Millie Quayle returning to WA and Izzy Howse taking on the role of C in the third quarter, Cambridge regained their attacking flow. Lucy Watson similarly injected an offensive flair into the shooting circle, with the ever-trusty Clodagh Bottomley capitalising on the pinpoint feeds of her fellow attackers. Momentum had swung again – this time in favour of the away side. The defensive efforts of Papoola, Astrid Williams and Millie Ireland-Carson saw the Blues consistently turning over possession, and now the Blues were converting it. The final quarter was played out in much the same pattern – a tight contest but one in which Cambridge seemed to have the edge. 

            Although this fighting spirit managed to secure a second-half scoreline victory for the Blues, it just didn’t prove enough to rectify the damage inflicted by Loughborough in the opening couple of quarters. A final score of a 62-44 loss was a little disappointing for the girls, but they feel confident that the game provided both many positives and lessons for them to reflect upon moving into the rest of the season.

            Loughborough may need to feel a little more apprehensive next time the two sides meet.