It was a classic blend of youth and experience on Saturday as the 4s played local rivals Oxford 3/4s as our squad included seven teenagers and four o40s in our first pre-season friendly. The stalwarts of Keeling, Cook, Manson, Mahon and Miller were joined with some welcome new faces. On a hot day at a bustling Brookes University, our intention was merely to get used to the ball on stick, however we performed beyond all expectations and ran out convincing winners 5-1. The scoreline was slightly skewed by James Rogers’ finishing with a brace of powerfully struck goals, but our general quality of play outclassed our more experienced opposition. Outstanding debuts for Charlie Stoker and Oli Lovibond, and excellent positional play and running from Tim Webster, but even these were slightly eclipsed by Nick Mahon, who despite his age and size showed immense promise. Despite being a friendly, tempers did a fray a bit as the opposition got frustrated and we felt Rob Oldershaw was being picked out harshly by the whistle-bearers, before Rob Manson was sent to the sidelines for having a potty mouth. The Mahons generally ran the centre of the pitch, with Gary also grabbing a nice goal, and Rob Manson tapping in a rebound from a corner, before Oli capped a marvellous display with a brilliant individual goal … from left back (which didn’t impress Dave Cook in the slightest). The defence looked nice and solid and were only breached once from a well worked corner that Rob O almost kept out, the rest of the time Atkins in goal was largely unoccupied, merely resorting to some unnecessary, bored kicking. A nice start.