A desperately disappointing result as Eastcote 3s scored an equaliser with the last hit of the match from a short corner to make it 2-2 and deny us a deserved three points. An early top of the table clash produced a typically cagey affair and the autumnal slime of the Eastcote pitch resulted in several comedy falls, hardly conducive to decent hockey. Hawks dominated the first half, transitioning the ball nicely across both flanks which must have concerned the home team with our quality play. Eastcote relied on quick breaks from the speedy young runners, but their focal point was their particularly gabby centre forward; possessing quite of lot of close skill, he unfortunately and persistently managed to proffer an opinion on every decision made by the two umpires at every turn (it was a surprise he didn't have a whistle in his back pocket). He was their danger man however as he forced several corners and shots. However, it was a typically mazy run from Tom Forrester that ended in the first goal with a well taken open play flick. Their keeper also did well, especially with a quality double save. We lost Ray briefly with a green card for an accidental trip, which was a bit harsh, as their forward continued to harangue everyone near him. He did eventually get a card, as did their skipper for a team card for his player’s verbosity – which was odd, but to be honest he was pretty vocal on the sidelines too!
The same pattern continued in the second half until Andy was adjudged to have played through the aforementioned palaverous striker at a short corner and bizarrely a stroke was awarded and they duly equalised. We unfortunately sat back a bit in the second half, allowing Eastcote to come at us, but a glimmer of hope came as Ed waltzed through several sticks and won a corner; he looked up plaintively and the umpire granted his wish and upgraded it to a stroke which Chris slammed home. Some awkward moments followed and it was backs to the wall as Eastcote pushed forward, finally winning a corner as the final whistle went. The strike came and was deflected over the prone keeper, for the right back (?) to tap home from a yard and share the points. We felt harshly robbed, but were buoyed by an excellent tea and the positives of a decent team performance in general. Many thanks to Gary Mahon for marshalling from the sidelines.