The 3s pitched up at RAF Halton to kick off their second season in MBBO Div 2 against Aylesbury. Hawks were looking to improve on last term’s comfortable mid-table finish but were without several key players for the opening fixture. Torbs Turland was jetting off to the latest leg of his world tour, where legions of screaming fans queue up in the hope he’ll sign their hip replacements; while Julian Easterbrook didn’t receive the match details as the telegram arrived at his house several days too late.
Thanks to a Dunleavy yoga masterclass the previous week, Hawks were feeling fresh and had the better of the opening exchanges. Jamie Clark forced a save from a narrow angle, while Charlie Stoker and Oli Lovibond combined to good effect down the right hand side. It was via this route that Hawks won the first short corner of the match, with Lovibond dribbling into the D before drawing a foul from the defender. Jasper Miller’s strike was parried by the keeper, but Clark’s effort from the rebound hit an Aylesbury body on the line and a stroke was awarded. Captain Biggs sensibly opted to go for goal rather than kick for the corner, and Neil Gallagher stepped forward to take it. However Dr Gallagher showed that he’s more comfortable being on strike than being on strokes, as his weak effort straight down the middle was comfortably saved.
Hawks were made to pay for the miss 5 minutes later. Aylesbury’s forward picked the ball up on the wing and spun Bacon before jinking into the D and smashing the ball past Biggs. The away side were dealt a further blow when Dunleavy was forced off with a suspected broken finger – fortunately Dunners had prepared for this eventuality by tearing all the nerves in his left arm, and therefore felt minimal pain. With halftime approaching, a short corner was somewhat harshly awarded to the hosts, and they duly converted to send Hawks in at the break feeling a little unlucky to be 2-0 down.
Having been well in the game during the first half, Hawks weren’t at the races in the second period. Fitness and concentration were both lacking, and it was soon 3-0 when Aylesbury took a quick free hit and broke through a very static defence to score with a reverse strike. The home side could have been further ahead minutes later, but Biggs was out quickly to thwart another reverse stick effort. The only real chance for the visitors came when Miller found a foot to win a short corner, but Bacon’s shot was straight at the keeper. With Hawks legs tiring, the hosts piled on the pressure and wrapped up the win with a slick short corner routine 10 minutes from time.
A disappointing result for Hawks in a game they could have taken something from, and after the match Biggs called for more passion and commitment from his troops. The fans will be hoping they can open their account against Marlow this weekend in front of a packed Banbury Road crowd.