For the first time this season, with temperatures forecast to drop close to freezing, the Ladies 4s team email was sent out with a reminder that an early 10:30 start could mean an outside chance of cancellation. However, those waking early found Hawks local weather guru, alias SophieD, had already posted her pitch report of “No snow, no frost. Just very windy and rather damp” - the match was on.
With base layers (or blankets) the order of the day, the discussion in the changing rooms was just how many layers would be needed! Then with a reminder from Catherine that to achieve a win against a youthful university side we would need to remain focused for the full 70minutes, we headed, well wrapped up, out into the cold BRN sunshine. From the start, Oxford University showed that they were going to be a force to be reckoned as they moved the ball quickly across the pitch but the mix of the Ladies 4s youth and experience on the half back line in Lissy, Caroline and Catherine seemed to be keeping the University’s advances at bay. Transfers round the back by Kim and Becky seemed to be working and with some great leads from SophieT, Hawks were soon on the attack only to be foiled by the University GK who was more than a match for any straight strike hits. Soon possession was given back to Oxford University and a break down their right saw the ball passed through to an unmarked player and despite Megan, Kim and Becky’s best efforts it was the University side who scored the first goal.
We all knew that going a goal down was not what the captain had meant when she said at the start of the game that we needed to play as if we were 2 goals behind! However conceding the goal did seem to jolt the Ladies 4s ‘youth and experience’ into making better connections and the sustained Hawks pressure that resulted saw the experienced Pip reaching out one handed to flick a pass in from Cat over the GK’s head into the goal to level the score. By now SophieD was getting to grips with the new subbing matrix and Hawks were able to make the most of fresh legs to keep the University’s attacks in check. It wasn’t long before one of Emily’s runs from deep with support from Tanya and Cat saw more youth to experience passing ending with Sherene scoring Hawks second goal. Half-time score 2-1.
The University side came out with renewed determination forcing Megan into making some great 1-on-1 saves to prevent them from scoring. Then with Hawks not able to make the most of their own opportunities Oxford University were awarded their first short corner of the game and a well-practised routine saw them level the score at 2-2. Once again conceding a goal motivated Hawks into action and following a short corner that broke down, Catherine was able to regain possession and slip the ball to Emma who used her youthful skills to drive in, strike and put Hawks into the lead again. A short while later Hawks might have even gone 2 goals up had the post not been in the way of Caz’s shot – instead the last 5 minutes of the game proved to be a tense time as Hawks struggled to adhere to Catherine’s ‘keep possession’ call from the side line, giving the University one last push to attack. Fortunately Hawks’ focus was maintained for the full 70mins this week and when the final whistle was blown the score was still 3-2 to Hawks.
MOM votes were shared across the team this week but Youth was pipped by Experience this week as Pip secured the most votes!
Thanks to Dave Dawes and Rachel Bellamy for their umpiring and to SophieD for her weather report and managing the subs!
Thanks to Caroline and Sherene for the fantastic baking and congratulations to the Oxford Uni keeper who, after being voted MOM by Hawks, was the lucky recipient of one of Sherene's amazing gluten free summer fruit cupcakes!