There was always some doubt about this match being on after a heavy frost, some snow and a proposed 10.30 start in the flood plains of Sonning. However, we were assured the game was on and we travelled across to Berkshire with a new-look side, forced into several changes due to exceptionally poor availability throughout the club. (This non-availability lark does my head in) This meant debuts for two thirteen year olds in the shape of Oli Dunn, already taller than his dad Roger, and skipper’s son Laurie Cook. We also welcomed back Charlie Plumptre and Luke Piper. A couple of icy patches soon thawed out in the sun and although a bit slippery, the surface was true and Hawks were immediately put on the back foot by a determined Sonning side, keen to avenge the thrashing that occurred at the start of the season. However, we soon settled in to the game and started to pass the ball well and forced a couple of early short corners, which Luke was disappointed to see one effort narrowly skim the post. Oli at right half and Laurie at inside right showed no nerves and looked composed, at total ease at this level. Spurning another short corner chance, the opening goal came from a wonder effort from Robbie S; wading through several challenges to even get into the D, he then impudently lobbed the young keeper from wide out. We soon doubled this with a brilliant team effort and Luke finished off hard into the bottom left.
At the back Rob Foster and James Keeling marshalled things and the latter’s continuous vocals and school teacher-ish demeanour meant Sonning were limited to only a couple of chances. Charlie P was also tireless and had a terrific game, as did Brett and Gary in the middle, although they both tested the umpires patience at times, Gary getting a brief rest for a ‘vicious’ tackle (it wasn’t). Hawks saw out the game comfortably and with ten to go Brett added the cherry on the cake with an unstoppable reverse stick shot from an improbable angle that left a bemused keeper wondering where it came from. A 3-0 win, then, and a thoroughly enjoyable performance, roundly agreed the best so far of the season. We remain clear in fourth but a fair way adrift of the top three, however, playing the likes of Oli and Laurie and putting in quality performances is what we are all about. Roger and Dave can be rightly proud of their boys.