The end of the colts season for 2013/2014 provides the opportunity to test their skills in the Rover Festival which is structured as Boys teams and Girls teams over a week-end at Cokethorpe.
Before the Festival starting on Saturday a combination of Oxford Hawks and Oxford HC play against the Banbridge touring side from Ireland on the Friday afternoon.
Oxford Hawks HC and Oxford HC U12’s 6 v Banbridge U12’s 3
In an X1 a side game played on a full pitch the U12’s get a flavour of how they will develop their games as they move to U14 level.
Despite a very slow start (the starting whistle put the Oxford team in a trance!) and immediately going 1-0 down the team rallied and settled into a good rhythm.
Ollie Dunn was a strong presence at right half and the triangle of Phil Barnet, Roly Belton and Laurie Cooke took control of the game.
Oxford pressed high up the pitch with good interplay but Banbridge looked dangerous on the counter attack.
Oxford took their chances, however, and made Banbridge work hard for their possession.
Simon White (Whitey) took his chance and despite Roly Belton hitting the post and a couple of chances missed in front of goal Ollie J Webb (Chelsea fan and answering to OJ) settled nerves with a personal goal tally of 5.
The highlight being a well worked pass and move which found him at the top of the D where he drew the keeper and reverse slapped the ball home.
With a final result of 6-3 Oxford were deserved winners and the integration of the players from both Oxfords worked well.
The next question was could Banbridge be stopped at the Rover Festival?
Despite the 7 a side games on half a pitch allowing Banbridge with 3 or 4 very strong individuals to influence the outcome of games-The answer was an emphatic yes!
Hawks Boys U12’s win the Rover Festival
Entering 3 teams Hawks Boys U12’s won the Rover Festival, also taking 3rd spot and a quarter final place!
Oxford Hawks A
The A team march on relentlessly by winning the Oxford hockey tournament played at Cokethorpe School.
With superb hockey and a great all round performance this Festival win provides excellent preparation for the South Regional Finals on the 27th April.
Qualifying for the quarter finals and beating Reading in the group stage, the A’s faced the C team in the quarters and then the B team in the semis.
The Hawks B team proved to be serious challengers in the semi final who played brilliantly to score first.
They then narrowly lost out 2:1 with the finishing qualities of Freddie Smith and OJ Webb again showing their prowess in front of goal.
In the final Aylesbury fought hard but a solid back line of Hamish Fergusson and Aiden Benger provided the platform for Phil Barnett and Dominic Monroe to release the pace of Johnnie Sunderland, and cool finishing Freddie Smith and Ollie Webb (OJ) up front.
When called upon Finn Rumsby in goal was confident and assured and in the end Aylesbury were well beaten by the expansive all round game.
A result of 5 goals to nil reflected Hawks control throughout with a brace from both the free scoring Freddie Smith and the Chelsea supporting Oliver J Webb (OJ) easily left them as top scorers of the Festival.
Ollie Dunn again capped an excellent contribution throughout by also netting a goal in the final.
The overall summary was 26 goals scored and only 2 goals conceded.
Squad: FINN RUMSBY(GK), OLLIE DUNN, FREDDIE SMITH, Ollie (OJ) WEBB, JOHNNIE SUNDERLAND, AIDEN BENGER, DOM MONROE, PHIL BARNETT, HAMISH FERGUSSON
Hawks B team
Hawks B qualified from the group stage in second place then met a strong Wycombe side in their quarter final.
Playing their best hockey of the Festival they secured a 1-0 win with Whitey (Simon White) taking his chance coolly by slotting the ball between the keepers legs.
This now put Hawks B against Hawks A in the semis.
Hawks B took the lead through Ollie Graham and proved to be the strongest opponents to the A team with Krishan Badiani, Laurie Cooke and Whitey retaining possession.
Charlie Warner and Henry Vine looked solid at the back but the A team kept up the pressure with Phil Barnet and Hamish Fergusson linking well and the pace of Johnny Sunderland pressing the defence. Louis Clarkson made a number of fine saves in goal keeping Freddie Smith and OJ Webb at bay.
However a goal apiece from them both led to a 2-1 loss for the B team and a 3rd/4th place game against the hosts Oxford.
Hawks B then won 3rd place after an exciting 1-1 draw, having led most of the game, which then led to 8 second penalty shuffles.
3 players from each team called upon to score in the short period allowable.
Step up Louis Clarkson-his debut in goal for a Hawks team saw the B team to a win when he kept a clean sheet and Whitey calmly scored.
Louis was last seen under a large pile of celebrating Hawks players!
Hawks C team
The C team qualified from their group with Alexia Zamani stepping in at the last minute and performing heroics.
Her twin brother Theo ensured qualification with goals in every game including a hat trick in the last group fixture.
Following the strong displays the luck of the draw saw them play the A team in the qtr final and they gave them a good fight.
Will Grainge and Jon Horton worked hard and Matt kept pressing forward linking with Alexia and Theo to present problems.
In the end the result went to the A’s but all of the team should be proud of their fight and character.
The Festival reflects the strength in depth throughout the U12 boys and although the squad split next season with the older boys joining the U14’s there is no doubting the momentum and character throughout.
As ever Fun and Hockey were the winners
Roll on the Regional Finals!