This was the penultimate Hawks junior game for many of the U18's and it was fitting that this should be at Bisham Abbey on the well watered holy turf of England and GB Hockey. The Boys knew many of the oppo either through school/ county or England and we knew this would be a tough match but Hawks had something to prove after the disappointing journey to Exeter and back last weekend.
Dunners sermon for the day was simple, effective hockey. Control the game. Keep possession. Don't rush the tempo.
But the Boys U18 have a default setting for frantic, fast paced and energetic hockey which is effective in its own rights at times but equally frustrating to watch when the ball is given away carelessly especially against a well organised Wycombe side.
It was in one of those frantic moments the Robbie Scragg found the back of the net once he played the ball of the keeper, upright and side of the goal. Wycombe responded later in the half with a low driven short corner. Wycombe threatened further but were thwarted by a great on-the-line deflection at shoulder height from Archie Spittles. At the following Wycombe short corner Archie this time got his body in the way to yield a P- Flick. Fergus was up for the challenge though an blocked the flick. Towards the end of the first half Hawks secured a short corner of their own which secured a goal from a looping Harry Venables drag flick. So half time and uncharted territory as Hawks felt please to be leading 2-1.
The 2nd half saw Wycombe dominate possession but simply unable to break the defensive line of Stoker/ Bond/ Spittles/ Oldershaw / Edmiston/ Cross or the keeping of Fergus. As the 2nd half progressed the pressure mounted and Stoker took his 2nd trip to the dug out for 2 minutes of self reflection. Wycombe eventually secured the equalizer as a consequence of a well worked passing move down the left channel. Hawks absorbed wave after wave of Wycombe attacks but frequently broke and attacked with pace at any opportunity. Ned Gordon had a great game at left wing driving to the base line and Hawks were unlucky not to get a late winner as Robbie shot was parried by the keeper. All the boys gave a good shift with Lovibond/ Cross and Venables working hard in midfield and Matt S-D, Will Senior, Black jnr, Joe Roads and Scraggy up front working hard especially at the press.
Hawks boys conceded this draw felt like a win and left in great spirit knowing Wycombe would be ruing the fact they hadn't converted possession and territorial advantage into goals.
Next week the final Hawks junior game for some of the U18 at a home clash against Teddington.