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Tense end of season game sees Men's 7's pipped at the post.......

11 April 2015, 12:30, Banbury Road North (Near)

Men's 7s 2 - 3 Bracknell Terriors

Organisation is the key to captaincy…….

The last game of the season for the 7th XI was against mid table rivals Bracknell Terriers.

Mid week all was going well.  Pitch booked with Boggs for 1230 pushback (check), catering sorted with Jan (check),  away team bringing white shirts (check), full squad of 16 players including sprinkling of youth and grey hairs (check), 2 umpires sorted despite Easter holidays (check)……….nothing organised in the domestic calendar…..(%&???!!!!.....damn…..10 people for lunch arriving at 1230).  Trying to keep a balance on everything captain Venables comes up with a solution to play one half and then get back home for 1330.  We have a big squad and he should just be back in time for lunch….everyone’s happy……

 The squad arrived as requested at 1200 and the first signs of trouble emerged as the pitches were locked but calls to Boggs family saw keys duly dispatched from Horspath. The games started on time at 1230 and so the lunch date was still looking good.  

Bracknell also came with a large squad but as is usual Hawks fielded more youth but our colts are now hardened campaign veterans and no walkover.  Bracknell took early possession of the game and showed some good passing moves and transferred the ball well from wing to wing.  Hawks were pegged back in their own half but showed dogged defensive qualities but more importantly a goal keeping master class from Jim Felix kicking, pawing, blocking, deflecting, logging…basically everything in his armoury came out to keep a clean sheet in the first half.  

When we did break we did so with purpose.  Sam Raynor took control of midfield and Henman launched aerials and well delivered strikes to the D.  Hawks first goal came from a short corner.  A ball came lose to John Black jnr on the right who gave a very solid strike to make it 1-0.  We then countered again with good interplay between Ollie Dunn and Simon ‘ Whitey’ White.  Venables snr drove to the left of the D and adventurously attempted a reverse sweep shot.  It connected but was collected going wide of goal by Venables jnr who proceeded to demonstrate how its done with his own reverse sweep which went to the back board at a tight angle and with great power.  

So half time and at 2-0 and all is looking rosy……captain Venables hands over control to Dunn snr and co and heads back to lunch. 

I then have only sketchy details of what happened from then on……

 Firstly my car decides to break down  in Hawks car park but a hastily arranged lift sees Venables snr and jnr back by just after 1330. I then spend an anxious lunch checking the mobile for the result to come in…..

Text from Dunn snr later in the afternoon reads…..’We lost 3-2, defence fell apart in 3rd quarter and Bracknell levelled with a minute of full time when they had a penalty corner on the final whistle and then scored the winner.’ Further details are not forthcoming.  Team obviously traumatised by the late winner but despite the result it was an enjoyable game and a big thanks to Baz and Gary M for umpiring.

 Overall it has been a good year for the 7th XI with a mid table finish.  Our stats ….Played 22 / Won 8 / Lost 11 / Drew 3 / For 38  / Against 55

We are laying a good foundation for the club not only for the young colts starting out in men’s hockey but also for ‘back to hockey’ entrants.  We have used over 45 players and 6 different  goal keepers.  In most week we field at least seven players under 16 players….and seven over 45’s. For  over 75% of our games our goal keepers have been Will Hackett and Aravind Prabhakaran who are both U15’s.  Out of the 38 goals scored this season 50% have been from the our u16 colts.  Top scorers this season were  Will Smith (8)/ Harry Venables (7)/ John Black snr, John Black jnr, Richard Venables (4) / Jack O’ D (3).  There is lots to be positive about... 

Thanks to the 7’s stalwarts….Roger Dunn, Mark Stoker, John Black, Mike Henman and Will Smith and our colts regulars….Brad Fogden, Jack O’Donovan, George Chambers, Ollie Webb, Harry Venables, Ollie Dunn, John Black jnr and not forgetting goal keeper Will Hackett.  Here’s to the 2015/16 season!

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