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Coreen Grant savours Twickenham victory with Cambridge University in Women's Varsity Match

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Try-scoring hero Coreen Grant in action for Cambridge University in the Women's Varsity Match against Oxford. Picture: Rich Marsham
Try-scoring hero Coreen Grant in action for Cambridge University in the Women's Varsity Match against Oxford. Picture: Rich Marsham

Coreen Grant’s moment of magic clinched Cambridge University victory in the 33rd Women’s Varsity Match - and made avoided more Twickenham heartache.

The Scottish centre’s dynamism two minutes from time saw her burst through two tackles on the 22 and then round the Oxford defensive line to touch down.

With Hannah Vandersluis’ penalty, it cancelled out Jessica Abele’s first-half try for the Dark Blues to give Cambridge an 8-5 win, their third victory in the match in a row.

Asked if she knew where she was going on getting the ball, Grant said: “No, definitely not!

“We knew we wanted to go forward as we knew it was the last five minutes and we were only two points behind.

“Our game plan was basically to play in their territory, up in their face. When I got the ball, I thought it was a big pitch there was a lot of space and we hadn’t tested them round the outside as much as we hoped to so I just put my head down.

“I was saying to my team-mates earlier that we had identified we kept cutting in, and although we were making small breaks I don’t think we had really tested their pace and further out tackling round the outside.”

It was almost a last throw of the dice for Cambridge, but there was always the self-belief within the group that they could produce the goods, no matter how much time was left on the clock.

“We knew it was just in it, as there was only a hair’s breadth between the two and it was back and forth the whole time,” said the Corpus Christi student.

“None of us ever gave up, none of us let our heads drop, we didn’t think for a minute that the game was out of our grasp.

“It’s what spurred us on as we knew it was within our ability to get over the line.”

The win helped Grant make up for her previous visit to Twickenham this year - when she played for Durham in a 30-26 defeat to Exeter in the BUCS Championship final

“It’s different situations but it was one of the things going through my mind that I was determined not to leave Twickenham with such a close defeat last time,” she added.

“It was heartbreaking for me, for the team and you see how much this means to all the girls here and we were all determined to leave everything on that pitch.”

Cambridge head coach Jack Baird was full of praise for Grant and fellow centre Bluebell Nicholls, who are both on the books of Saracens.

“Coreen has been outstanding, both centres are outstanding players and they’ve got bright futures,” he said.

“Coreen has stepped up, changed position with two minutes to go and we knew she could do that.

“She has been unbelievable all season, not only on the field but off the field as a role model and someone that everyone has looked at as a player they can trust and learn from, so she has been outstanding.”

And captain Fi Shuttleworth added: “Coreen is amazing and she saw that space and got it - she is incredible, absolutely incredible.”

Read more:

Fergus Jemphrey describes unreal feeling of Varsity Match tries for Cambridge University at Twickenham

Fiona Shuttleworth hails hard-earned win for Cambridge University in Women's Varsity Match

Stephen Leonard salutes 'awesome' Cambridge University after Varsity Match success

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