On one of those rather bleak days of persistent drizzle, when the floodlights are on by 12:30, Hawks L1s (missing some regular players) hosted Swansea City, three places and seven points higher in the League - and on a mini-run of wins from their last two matches. Fortunately for Hawks, the L1s had some secret weapons – Hie and Vicky from the L2s and Sandra playing her first home match since returning to the Hawks nest. The 1s dominated the first 10 minutes of play, making the most of Swansea’s M4-lag, a shot from Lucy and a PC encouraging a decently-sized crowd. Katie was on a mission for the whole match, commanding the right wing. Abi gave a masterclass in posting, Row’s long range outletting from deep finding her with comforting regularity. 15 minutes in, excitement erupted when Sandra broke into space in a 1-on-1 with the keeper, forcing a good save. By now, Swansea had shaken off travel fatigue and held the balance of play in Q2, Hawks grateful for Jess’s agility in goal as, in close succession, she saved from a PC, then with a stick deflection and finally with a sliding tackle on the edge of the D. On 30 minutes, a slick Swansea routine from another PC saw them take the lead. Galvanised into action Hawks swept up the pitch, Odders battling along the back line before releasing the ball to Sandra standing in splendid isolation in front of goal, who dispatched the ball into the net with an uncompromising and hugely satisfying tonk. Just two minutes had gone by and Hawks were back level. Next up was Annie, driving into the D and taking a narrow angle shot, which was comfortably covered by the keeper.
In the second half, nothing much happened for a while. Swansea bossed Q3, raining shots on Jess, and experimented with upending Sandra and Hie before deciding it was better to keep players on the pitch. Fortunately, Henri, Kara, Row and Vicky were stalwart in defence and smothered even the most promising Swansea moves, with Bex “I need to be at a wedding in 50 minutes” exuding uber calmness. By Q4, Hawks rediscovered the plot playing, some might say, their most consistently stylish hockey of the season, Lucy, Reaney, Katie and Hie in irresistible extreme feisty mode. Suddenly, Hawks almost scored – but didn’t – as, in the last 5 minutes, Katie had a bit of a moment in front of goal – though, having beaten the keeper, was thwarted by a Welsh ninja, who appeared from nowhere to deny a deserved goal with a cry of “diolch yn fawr!” (apparently). An absorbing match of end-to-end action, the draw probably a fair result – but those two extra points would’ve gone down very nicely as an early seasonal gift.
Annabelle Denly, Abi Flory, Henri Gordon, Rowena Hearn, Jess Hughes, Kara Kerr, Katie Lowe, Vicky Martin, Bex Oakes, Becky Odlin, Catherine Reaney, Sandra Roche, Hie Sawyer, Lucy Stewart, Jo Tolson
Player of the match: Lucy Stewart
|Sandra Roche||Open Play|