With Big Dog drunk in Spain and Boots still recovering from his character building experience on the slopes where he experienced a very rare lack of talent a few weeks ago, the league champions were almost without a side above the driving age let alone the drinking age by midweek! However come casual Friday, Boots and Jamie managed to finalise a side with a healthy mix of guardians and minors and the game was a go. Torb’s was getting anxious as he would be lead guardian but we let him fret on his own because we are a team and it was funny.
The team travelled to the Old Merchant Taylor’s school estate feeling distinctly impoverished as they drove past the house which appeared to double as a cricket pavilion. Once ID checks and family financials had been given approval to enter the site for the afternoon the team got down to business.
Hawks welcomed three new players to the side in the form of Robin Finnegan stepping up from the 4’s and youngsters Jon Florry Esq and Tim Webster Esq, both of Oxford.
The game got underway after a short rain delay from the water sprinklers. It was clear that the oppo respected the 3’s pedigree and were rolling out the wet green carpet for the league champions. As the whistle went one member of the oppo was heard saying to a hawks player “I hope this isn’t going to be as soul destroying as last time!” in reference to their 12-0 annihilation at BRN before Christmas.
The game started quickly with Hawks challenging the goal on several occasions but unable to convert their numerous chances. There were good breaks from the South African Ambassadors son Dave Springer and the Rt Hon Tyler Simpson JSA came close with several attempts. It was link up from these two distinguished gentlemen that led to the first goal with Simpson clean through on goal. Instead of shooting he - unusually some might say – opted to slide it past the keeper to Earl Clark of Cornwall on the far post who stopped the ball, appeared to ask for middle stump and then slotted the ball into the open net. The game then plateaued somewhat with the oppo able to stem the hawks attack for the remaining 10 minutes of the half.
After a semi (a)rousing speech by Archduke Franz Turland at half time the side emerged for the second half with a clear ambition to slot a few more before tea and scones at 4pm.
The second goal came in the form of the Rt Hon Tyler Simpson striking a beautiful low shot from the top of the D into the far corner of the goal. 2-0. The game restarted and almost instantly Hawks conceded a Penalty corner which was somehow deflected against the crossbar and the rebound dutifully converted bringing the score to 2-1. This was exactly the response up with which Hawks would not put and the response took less than 30 seconds. The Baron of East Grinstead Tom Lawson delivered a fine ball to The Earl of Cornwall who in turn crossed the ball to the Ambassador’s son who dived forward like Tom Daley to slot it home for 3-1. The Hawks kept pushing and were rewarded once again when the Baron went on a charging run from the halfway line like something out of the charge of the light brigade only to cross sublimely to the Earl who was waiting on the far right post for another well worked team goal. 4-1. Hawks then appeared to disappear for a ten minute spell and the oppo took full advantage scoring a scrappy breakaway goal. The hawks defensive line were most likely surprised to see an attack more than anything else as they had spent most of the game simply feeding the ball through to the midfield and then reclining to watch the barrage ensue. Still the game was at 4-2 and Hawks were not as convincing on paper as they were on the pitch. As they entered the final five minutes Hawks set about sealing the game once and for all. Vicount Hulmes who had been active throughout in distributing the ball to the midfield despatched a ball down the line to Earl Clark who delivered it inside to Baron Lawson who broke past the defender only to return the ball to the Earl who finished with a reverse stick deflection past the keeper to seal his hat trick and take the league champions to a solid 5-2 victory.
With spirits high the Hawks team departed the OMT estate with 3 points and big smiles. Some of the team returned to BRN in the Archdukes sports car with the roof down because they really were a bunch of Yobbos. The Archduke even took them on a ‘driving mainy’ through Summertown (Google it) only to be thoroughly put back in his box when he arrived at BRN to see a £230,000 Ferrari sitting in the car park.
MOM was awarded to the Ambassador’s son for a solid midfield performance and DOD was Bismark Paul Hood for unnecessarily berating the young Esquires throughout who actually put in sterling performances and were commended by the rest of the team at afternoon tea. 3 games to play and a goal difference of +90 still very attainable!