Men’s 7s delighted with a draw
Published on 13th Nov, 2022
Hawks took the short trip to the top pitch for this week’s fixture against Banbury, having been promoted at the start of the season. The season had been harsh to date, with opening encounters against sides who had given the youthful 6's tough encounters in the previous season.
With the run of fixtures not going with them, and having squandered chances in the previous week in what was viewed as a critical six pointer, it was envisaged that the Banbury game, against mid table stalwarts Banbury was going to be an endurance event,
A number of last-minute drop-outs made the task feel ever more ominous, and resulted in Shambles return to the forward lineup after a number of seasons in defence.
However, Hawks started well, with a spritely step and desire in their hearts. The thought of conceding to the old foe, Banbury, was not on their wish list. Further, Banbury stalwart Noel was out due to injury, and so the balance of play was a little more even. The umpiring pair of Adrian and Wellsy made a potent duo, and whilst they appeared to be auditioning for a role in the next Britney Spear's video, mic'ed up and ready for action, and itching to see how far they could make the judgment call of being 5 yards away on a free hit, at one point reaching the full width of the 25!
Indeed, Hawks were first to score, with a well worked goal coming from a determined passage of play and finished by Jamie Wells, upon competitive return to the side.
Age and experience then enabled consolidation of play, with Hawks remaining knife-edge poised in the lead through to half time, despite continued pressure. The cat-like saves of Theo in goal very much keeping the team in contention for their first points of the season.
Ever since Covid hit, the 7's have suffered in the final 10 minutes of a game. This coincided with the removal of the once legendary half time jelly baby gourmet which the team used to enjoy. Some say this was unrelated, but captain tends to disagree, and rumour is that it may return shortly, much to the delight of the players!
With the second half, Banbury turned the heat up, and moved their lynchpin player, Tom, ever further forwards to turn the pressure up. In the early afternoon sunshine, this tactic appeared to spin Banbury onwards, and managed to level the score line, much to the dismay of the defensive line-up.
However, this served to add yet more vigour to the side, which sometimes overspilled into audible determination!
A messy incident in the Banbury D resulted in Hawks being awarded a penalty stroke. It has been so long since a penalty stroke appeared in a 7's game that nobody wanted to take the stroke, and it took coercion for Sam Volans to step up and take the shot, which was promptly rocketed into the top left corner, leaving the 5'2” keeper no opportunity to deflect the goal.
The second goal saw Hawks 7 score, more in the game than they have in any other game so far this season. They added two further names to the top goal scorer list, both sat on 1!
Despite the speed of the stroke, play was delayed whilst the game was reset. Whilst all players were ready, the chair was in no rush to restart, taking time to ensure all sides were correct and paperwork was in order. Some might think he was a legal professional outside of his primary job as hockey player!
The elation was, however, short-lived, as Banbury almost immediately returned the scores to 2 apiece.
Whilst the score was a fair reflection of the game, and the first vital points in the season; there was a definite disappointment that Hawks were unable to get the full 3 points - and a demonstration that, as tough as the first few weeks have been, the team can compete at the level they are at, and the results will come.
Next week sees a bye, as Oxford withdrew a side, and means the opportunity to capitalise on success will be limited. However, the following week will see them in a very tough fixture against a strong Abingdon side. No fixtures this season will be easy!
Man of the match was too close to call this week - and with no fantasy league, the decision to award was rolled over to the following fixture and team curry.