I was invited to come along to capture a community event. I did not know what to expect, as rugby is not a game I am familiar with. However I came with an open mind, a telescopic lens and a smile.
About The Streatham Croydon Rugby Club
The club was founded in 1871 and is one of the oldest clubs of its kind in the world. The club has a historic merge between teams in Streatham, Dulwich and Thornton Heath. The team are open for new recruits and all women are free to join its training sessions on a Tuesday.
About The Oxford University Team
Founded in 1869 Oxford have a world renown amateur rugby club. It played a part in developing over 300 Oxford players who have represented internationally at the game. The lady squad recently made the tabloids with their calendar which contributed to a charity.
Oxford University vs Streatham Croydon
This took place 11th February at the sports field on
159 Brigstock Road in Croydon.
The match consisted of four quarters. This match was a friendly, however those who played were certainly a force
to be reckoned with. The athletes who participated offer their spare time to be a part of a close knit community. As a team, they represent their area for this sport. This means coming to training sessions, learning the dynamics of the game, of the team and of themselves.
The ladies were well organised, showed great initiative, team-work and leadership. The aggression was very controlled and there were clear thinking and thought processes throughout the game.
It was interesting to see how the team as a unit reacted to changes of play. Or even to be honest how they stayed focused on the game when their comrade was injured (nothing like football where they stop for the slightest touch).
The game did get a little rough at some points and there were a few injuries, ranging from winding to more serious injuries. However everyone was able to walk off the pitch at the end of the day.
Lady Of The Match
My lady of the match was Grace. She played amazingly well, she didn't start the game as she "wasn't that good" and I thought "oh is it? Better keep an eye on her". When she came on she was an unstoppable force, definitely one to look out for in the future.
Don't be deceived by the shorts, the weather was freezing. The coach driver stayed in his vehicle with the heating on full blast for the whole match. At times I retreated to the warmth of the car during the break periods.
Streatham Croydon won 25 - 5 comfortably. The team played as an effective unit and that's what brought the victory. The defensive line were able to restructure quickly and prevent Oxford from taking advantage during switches. Streatham Croydon were merciless when they discovered openings. I saw some heroic runs through gaps in the defensive lines.
The only try for Oxford actually came from a virgin to the sport debuting on the field. I suppose to her, that was a victory in its own right "and rightly so". Though the score was low Oxford played very well and showed great courage and team spirit throughout.
Overall it was a lovely experience and I recommend you come down and support your local squad. Everyone is friendly and you will be welcomed with slightly muddy opened arms. To the victors and all who participated, I salute you.
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