The Sonning fixture was a big match in Ladies 4s calendar. Having been promoted in second place last season to Sonning’s first position we were approaching the game with trepidation and excitement! Spirits were high in the changing rooms as we discussed the merits of ‘legs vs. experience’ and we were soon on the pitch for our team pic – thanks Vicki Hearn!
The first minute of the game went in our favour, but then, whether our heads were still on the photo shoot or we just relaxed thinking we had the upper-hand, the game changed. Before we knew it Sophie T had subbed herself off with a pulled hamstring, we’d conceded a short corner and a subsequent goal following a goal mouth scramble, and Rowena took a ball in the face. It was time to regroup and recruit some inners! Gabs was doing a sterling job on the inner line and was ably joined by the flexible skills of April and Kim. We started to play some lovely hockey moving the ball round well and having some strong attacks in the Sonning defensive 25. 20 minutes into the first half our pressure was rewarded with a lovely controlled solo goal from Sophie Bennett. The next 15 minutes saw even more pressure on the Sonning goal with a number of balls hitting the post and 1 even going in, but unfortunately after Charlie’s whistle had blown. We were rewarded with a short corner, the half time whistle went and we stepped up to try out the 1-2 maneuver we’d planned. The short was executed perfectly, the keeper made an excellent save, a foot was hit, Charlie held back on the whistle and Diz coolly slotted the ball home to take us ahead at the half way point.
Half time gave us a few minutes to get our breath back and listen to Vicky Martin’s words of wisdom. Rowena returned to the pitch freeing up April to move back to the forward line and allowing us to be even more attacking. The irrepressible half backs continued with no subs and Kim added a lot of value on the inner line. In the early minutes of the 2nd half we were rewarded with another short. The injection went a bit wayward but Catherine was able to pick the ball up on her open stick and send it wide of the left post for the ever ready Gabs to put away. Hawks 3 - Sonning 1! Goal number 4 came from another short corner with Kim slipping it out to Caz on the right, to receive it back and sweep the ball into the backboard.
Sonning crowded the centre of the pitch, man marking Catherine at centre-half, in an attempt to restrict distribution of the ball. This just resulted in loads of space down the wings and MOM Vicky Easton found the right forwards time and time again. One such ball was picked up by Caroline Batten, debuting on the forward line, who made great inroads into the Sonning defense before self-lessly passing to Diz for her second goal! 5-1 Up! The final goal started in our defensive D after some good back tracking by Gabs, the ball was worked well up the right by Rowena and Sophie. Sophie had a 1-on-1 with the keeper and thinking flair was required at this stage of the match performed a 360 degree spin before sweeping the ball past a very bemused keeper! Rebecca Black was in a great position on the post as usual but was not needed on this occasion.
The dying minutes of the match saw Sonning put a lot of pressure on our left defensive side, but Caroline Baggs, Becky, Phil and Evelyn held strong. The final whistle went 6-1 to Hawks!
Huge thanks to Charlie and Rory for their excellent umpiring which made it such an enjoyable match.
Credit goes to Nathan Monk for all his work with us so far this season, it’s really paying off. Rebecca awarded herself an extra 5 points during the game for her double-teaming work!
Finally, Susan McErlain, thanks for the yummy almond cake!
Ok, I better stop there, this is already starting to sound like an Oscar-accepting speech….