Hawks 3s faced Oxford 2s in a local derby last Saturday. The opposition were the second best team that could be produced by the merger of two of Hawks historic rivals (Oxford City and Rover Oxford). Despite this, our 3s comfortably rolled them over 6-0. Bragging rights, once again, returned to BRN.
Hawks Men's 3s is made up of (i) those gazing towards the prime of their life in eager anticipation and (ii) those glancing at it bitterly in the rear-view mirror. During the warm-up half of the team discussed Pokemon Go, Oxford nightlife and the cruelty of teachers, while the other half discussed tactics for patching together creaking joints and rising house prices. Despite the fact that there is nothing in the middle of the 3s Venn diagram, the team has gelled as a playing unit. Dunners' temporary move into management, brought on by injury, means that everyone knows their role. For the youngsters: run lots and do as you're told. For the old gits: try to keep up. Having Dunners at the side of the pitch, rather than on it, has lead to a string of good results. Opinion is divided over why exactly this is so.
After a scrappy first 10 minutes a cute pass from your correspondent found Mark Crowley in the D. He did what he does best, and we were one to the good. Once we figured out our press, there was little danger in the other direction. Another goal before half time settled the nerves: we were playing well. Or so we thought, until Paul 'Captain Optimism' Dunleavy carefully listed our flaws (otherwise know as 'areas for development') at the break.
We knew that in the second half we'd have the chance to pull away. And so it proved: a series of goals in a 10 minute spell put the game to bed. Harry grabbed a brace, Ray "lobbed" the keeper and Jake scores a reverse from a frankly absurd angle, but the pick of the bunch was a beautiful team goal that had Oli Lovibond as the prime mover. As a member of our travelling support observed, we "left their defence on their arses".
Boggs was called into action as the game became predictably end-to-end, but a couple of excellent saves maintained his first clean sheet since circa 2009. He was so happy he offered to clean the shirts for all the games until Christmas.
All in all, a mature and balanced performance that bodes very well for the rest of the season. The only dubious part of the day was the MOM vote, which brings with it the questionable pleasure of writing the match report. Voting irregularities and lack of oversight suggest that this election will join the ranks of Putin (2012), Mugabe (2013) and Trump (2016).