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Hawks Stumble in a high quality game

25 February 2017, 16:30, Banbury Road North (Near)

Men's 3s 0 - 1 British Airways Men's 1s

The “cheeky departure lounge pint” is one of the UK’s finest traditions. Despite it being completely illogical (extortionate prices, ridiculous hour of the morning, increased likelihood of flight sickness) there is no denying that for many, an airport Wetherspoon’s is the pinnacle of drinking venues. Indeed, the lack of logic is probably the main reason for the appeal. The visit of BA, then, was perhaps the catalyst for Dunners to embark on a similarly odd drinking session, as he sauntered across the BRN pitch, lager in hand, with 5 minutes to go until pushback. A true example to all aspiring captains.
 
Fortunately, all passengers were strapped in and ready for take-off at this point, though there were the inevitable usual suspects who ignored the advice to arrive well in advance of the flight (Baldock, Nevard). Thanks to an eye infection Marky Mark was not fit to fly, though he was seeing well enough to crash several howitzers past Boggs in a fairly demoralising warm up. Special mention to Jake Taylor who managed to make his connection after a school match earlier in the day, and promptly did more running during the game than anyone else. With just one sub, Hawks knew that retaining possession would be crucial, and started the game in unusually disciplined fashion. A three quarter press was successfully implemented, and though BA were circling the runway they didn’t look too much like landing. Their first chance came around 15 minutes in, when Brett Morrison was harshly adjudged to have blocked a shot with his body, and a stroke was awarded. Justice was done, however, as Boggs closed the gate just in time – his second penalty save in three matches.
 
Hawks switched to half court, and the red arrows of Saint, Scragg, Webster and Taylor began to counter attack to devastating effect. Saint fired a dangerous ball across goal but found the cockpit unattended, and Baldock saw another effort saved by the BA keeper. At the Hawks end, Boggs came out best in a 1 on 1 after Bacon managed to lose his luggage in the middle of the park. The standout moment of the first half, though, came from the mercurial Robbie Scragg. Having rounded several players, Scragg found himself on the left hand side of the D and attempted an audacious lob over the advancing keeper. A combination of keeper and defender managed to scramble the ball off the line, just as Hawks were about to order champagne all round, and the scores remained level at half time.
 
Dunners, who had by this point managed to store his liquids in a separate container, gave a fairly positive assessment of the first half although he did suggest Robbie should have passed instead, which (amongst other things) earned him yet another DOD.
 
The second half was a similarly close affair, and tensions began to boil over thanks to a few rowdy groups. The weather had taken a turn, making flying conditions difficult, and both teams were warned for not showing due consideration to their fellow passengers. Trolley dolly Ollie was powering up and down the right hand aisle with aplomb, with plenty of treats on offer. However he slightly overcharged the BA winger on one occasion, and was duly given a 2 minute break to reconcile the tills. Taylor continued to run rings around the BA midfield, and Morrison used the aerial route to great effect, though the Hawks forwards continually misread the landing times. Unfortunately for the hosts, it was the away side who made the breakthrough as a counter attack resulted in a reverse stick strike evading Boggs. Wild celebrations ensued, and BA spent the remainder of the game doing their best to delay all arrivals. 
 
Hawks pressed on in the final 15, and a couple of short corners came and went. Their chance did finally come when Nevard fired a ball into the D, only to see it rebound off the post straight to Chris Pittaway. He looked certain to score, but the BA keeper scrambled across to make a miraculous stop, ensuring that the 3 points would be boarding the shuttle bus back to Heathrow. Post-match formalities saw Boggs scoop the MOM award , while Scragg cultivated a small batch of bacteria on the cuts on his knees, which I presume remain unwashed at time of writing.
 
A disappointing result, but in terms of quality and discipline this was one of the best 3s performances for a long time. A similar display at Sonning next week would give the travelling party a great chance of bouncing straight back with a win.

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