9am Saturday 27th Oct and the 14-strong Hawks squad (with only one Sophie this week (!)) were already sitting in the Brookes changing rooms keen to get out on to the pitch to play Oxford Ladies 4s. Having played and won a friendly against Oxford only a few weeks ago we all understood that we shouldn’t be complacent about the game ahead. Captain Catherine led the warm up and we were ready to start but with no Oxford umpire we had to wait a little longer before the starting whistle was blown. Hawks started positively with some good attacking play from Emma F, Gabs, Rebecca, Dizzy and Sophie but the Oxford defence held strong. Catherine continued to distribute the ball to both sides and with support from Lucy, Vicky and Caroline Oxford were kept for much of the time in their defensive half. Space was also found to move the ball round the back and with Becky and Phil keeping a close eye on Oxford’s high and wide forwards Oxford’s attacks were limited. Hawks’ forward pressure was rewarded with their first short corner of the game – straight strike was the decision and Rebecca delivered: 1-0 to Hawks! Oxford seem to be spurred into action by going a goal down and put together some good attacking play which led to a short corner of their own. Despite Olivia and the Hawks defence best efforts Oxford equalised to make the half-time score 1-1.
Catherine’ half time message was “if we want to win this game then we had to want the ball more than the opposition and to provide support at all times to whoever had the ball”. With these words delivered it wasn’t long before Gabs was given an opportunity to drive into the ‘D’ and, although support was available, she took aim and the Oxford defence faltered, 2-1 Hawks! As in the first half Oxford game back with some strong attacking play and won another short corner – this time Olivia made the initial save and an Oxford foot soon saw Becky taking a hit-out. The ball was delivered to Caroline on the left and on to the Sandra, Sophie, Dizzy waiting in the ‘D’ – a goal mouth scramble then saw Caroline get the final touch as the ball dribbled in slow motion into the goal. This time Oxford had no answer and minutes later Lucy’s strike from the top of the ‘D’ was hitting the backboard for another Hawks goal. With youngsters Emma M and Gabs showing some great support play and more connections made by all Hawks players several short corners were awarded. They say practise makes perfect and so it wasn’t perhaps that surprising that Caroline was rewarded with her second goal from one of these short corners. With the game into the last 10mins, further opportunities to get on the score sheet fell to Emma F, Dizzy and Sandra but it was Sophie who put away Hawks 6th and final goal with a fantastic tight angled shot!
Our thanks go to Rory Bowden and the Oxford umpire for a well controlled game.
One final post-match mention must be given to the excellent vegan dairy-free Victoria sponge made by Emma/Helen Milne which was eyed up by the opposition and enjoyed by all that tasted it as were the lovely cupcakes baked by Caroline and her children!
MOM was a joint affair this week with Gabs and Lucy sharing the honours