Squad - Ruby Smith, Annie Wakefield, May Topley, Isabelle Ward, Olivia Stacey, Maya Finlayson, Rosie Olver, Kate Kelly, Alessia Laird, Rachel Fernandez, Victoria Phillips, India Buckland, Elen Moore, Emma Klennerman.
The match, which was played in a fine spirit, rightfully saw a useful Newbury & Thatcham side run out 4-2 winners against Hawks, however that doesn't tell the whole story. Unfortunately the Newbury Goalkeeper didn't turn up so it was agreed, being a friendly, that whilst normal rules would apply for Newbury, Hawks would not be awarded Short Corners but would instead be awarded a free hit outside the circle. Given the way India can hit a ball (I hear she's useful at Cricket!) it would have been interesting to see if we could have scored from a Short Corner.
Both teams were evenly matched, with perhaps the away side having the edge in terms of physicality, and whilst the first half was fairly evenly in terms of possession, Newbury edged the scoring 2-1. Ruby was having her usual fine game between the posts but could do nothing about either goal, especially the second which took a large deflection. After India had pulled a goal back for Hawks things could have been different but another fine shot from her went just wide.
Despite losing the second half 2-1, with Victoria scoring a fine effort, Hawks just about had the better of things (in my opinion) with Annie clearing the lines well at the back, ably supported at various times by Maya, Elen, and Isabelle. Emma imposed herself well at Centre Half, whilst Kate, May, Rosie, and Rachel gave their all in Midfield. Alessia, and Olivia both went close up front but it was not to be our day.
The Girls 'shape' and positional discipline gets better game by game but they could take a lesson from the Newbury Girls in how to move the ball over distance, cutting out multiple lines of defence, with Hawks too often looking to play things short.
Finally, thank you to James Finlayson for kindly Umpiring.