Following defeat at the away fixture you would assume Hawks were determined to return the favour when welcoming Phoenix & Ranleigh to BRN. Sadly the early start took its toll on our team of elder statesmen and lazy students, despite the glorious sunshine. A special mention here for the ‘ever punctual’ Nathan Sutton who not only arrived on time for push-back but also avoided a card for the 3rd consecutive week in spite of his spirited, enthusiastic and conversational style of hockey.
Hawks were the stronger side of the opening 10 minutes with the Doug controlling play around the middle with good supporting movement from the rest of the team. Phoenix soon found their shape and discipline and controlled the game from here on. Meanwhile Hawks lost their footing with players dribbling into trouble, substitution based confusion and our high press in their 25 becoming a mild congestion around the half way line.
However we still looked dangerous on the counter attack. The ball was beautifully struck into the D where it found Adam’s stick poised to deflect the ball almost perfectly parallel across goal. Fortunately, Nathan, whilst trying to get out of the way, panicked and forgot to take his stick with him. His reverse stick deflection found the back of the net, 1-0 to Hawks.
Revitalized Hawks played a much stronger second half but Phoenix continued to create more chances resulting in a string of short corners forcing keeper Jack Sobey to make some crucial saves. The next Phoenix counterattack saw Jack deflect a 1-on-1 into the air for defender Sam Burton to expertly turn, face into the goal and duck using only the power of his mind to help the ball sail past the far post.
Hawks went on the offensive and won a short corner with Rob Oldershaw converting this opportunity, aggravating the Phoenix keeper who very clearly and eloquently expressed how his feelings on the matter. Hawks rallied as Phoenix grew frustrated and we closed out the game to finish 2-0 victors.
Man of the match almost certainly belongs to the Phoneix & Ranleigh forward line who were polite enough not to score. Alex, Rob and Jack put in strong performances at the back, while James and Dunners put in a colossal amount of work across the middle (although how much of this is constructive remains to be seen). It was also great to see Doug back on the pitch following an injury. This game was clearly not our finest performance! However Hawks were more than happy to settle for mediocrity and head home 3 points richer but certainly non the wiser.