Oxford Hawks welcomed Maidenhead to Banbury Road North on Saturday in their first January friendly after the Indoor break, and it was a fascinating encounter that kept the crowd on their toes in the freezing temperatures. Testing the new rules around long corners, and free hits outside the D which will come into play for National League at the start of February, the game was very open, fast paced and end-to-end. The first half saw seven goals shared between the sides, with Hawks edging it 4-3 at the break, thanks to a brilliant first half hat-trick from Player of the Match Abi Flory and a penalty stroke from Takara Haines after her drag flick was blocked by a body on the line.
In the second half Hawks started well for the first ten minutes but couldn’t stretch their lead, and paid the price when Maidenhead hit back with four rapid goals, to stretch into 7-4 lead. Hawks re-settled and brought it back to 7-6 with another Flory strike and another stroke, this time from Lucy Stewart. However as Hawks continued to push for the equaliser, the clock ran down giving Maidenhead the win, leaving coach Andy Clark plenty to ponder on as he prepares for the league restart on 7 February.
Thanks to Clive Jones for the photos.