The Magnificent 7
The 7th XI don’t travel very well and the loss last week against Sonning who were below us in the league came as a bit of a disappointment. We were missing a couple of key adults including skipper Venables. We leaked some early goals and despite some good teamwork and genuine desire we lacked physical presence.
This weekend’s home game against Bracknell saw the skipper easily able to find a full squad of 16 with a welcome return to Dave Wells after early season injury. The squad again comprising a combination of youth and enthusiasm.
Hawks took the fight to Bracknell from the start dominating possession and within 5 mins were 1-0 up from a Harry Venables slap following a lay off from John Black jnr. Hawks were then guilty of thinking this could be a comfy win and sat back a bit and were too eager to force the game with too many ball down the middle channel or speculative long range shots. By half time the game remained the same and we reinforced the need to track back to defend and not drill balls into the D until we were well within the 25m line.
Bracknell obviously also had a tough half time talk and came out with more determination. This resulted in a well worked equaliser with excellent passing which ripped through Hawks defence. Game on……and Bracknell kept the pressure up until Henman drove with the ball from mid field spotting John Black jnr advancing into the D. Despite the skipper calling to Henman to move the ball wide and build the attack he rocketed the ball into the D where John jnr found stick on ball at an amazing angle to deflect the ball past a helpless keeper. It was a great spectacle of precise trigonometry and just the response needed.
The second half then became a physical and attritional battle with both sides giving there all. Smith, Henman, Dunn, Breen and Venables all upended or taking the fight to Bracknell. Hawks shifted into defensive mode with Smith pulling back to create a 3 man defensive wall which then left us vulnerable in the centre. Stoker moved to left half where he earned his first green for some time for not retreating 5m form a free hit. A harsh move from Umpire Spittles taking advantage of the fact Stoker has no reverse gear.
Hawks were still strong on the break and won a couple of short corners which we were unlucky to convert. Finally we broke in a flowing move with ball moving from skipper to Toby Mac and back again and then on to Harry V who drove to the D rounded the defender and drove for the goal giving Hawks the 3-1 victory.
Real praise must go to The Magnificent 7…..all are 14 or under and are the real driving force of the team. They are…
Will Hackett….fantastic keeping for someone of his age with no fear and great composure
Brad Fogden….always eager for the ball. Great control of the ball and growing in confidence when driving forward.
Jack O’Donovan…starting to get great positioning on the wings and again growing in confidence to drive forward and distrubte.
Freddie Sunderland…..full of tricks and learning to use these in the right places. It is only a matter of time before goals will come flooding through.
Toby MaClachlan….great positioning in midfield. Great distribution. Strong on the tackle and tracking back in defence. Becoming a play maker for the team.
John Black jnr…..pocket rocket…uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time. Excellent tackling and determination.
Harry Venables….big engine keeps him going all game. Drives forward with determination and tracks back with energy. Now scoring with regularity. Man of the Match this game.
As for the rest of the ‘enthusiastic’ element of team mention must go the George Chambers for his persistence and distribution, Rob Breen….ever eager to drive forward despite team orders….Rog Dunn ever constant in defence.
All in all a great afternoon of hockey and thanks to Bracknell for a competitive but fair game…we look forward to seeing them again next year.