Hawks 2's v Oxford 1's - not exactly City v United or Spurs v Arsenal but nonetheless a local derby which gave the meeting an extra edge. This season it marked the return to competitive play of le petit entrepreneur who declared his fitness just in time for the fixture after 3 months on the sidelines. We were pleased to welcome him back but I still can't forget the enormous fuss he made over an injury confidently diagnosed by the Club Captain as nothing worse than a mildly bruised shoulder.
Also returning to BRN were the Brookes students MJ and Lamby who made the journey across the City to play for Oxford several weeks ago. At least both had the good grace to look a bit sheepish (probably comes naturally to Lamby?) as they donned blue shirts instead of magenta - they needn't have done. I can't help observing that they seem to have had an immediate impact on Oxford's playing fortunes.
The game turned out to be a very competitive encounter but - happily - played in a good spirit by both sides. Oxford dominated possession and territory in the first fifteen minutes only to see the chief chum plunder a goal for Hawks making something out of nothing in a very rare excursion into the Oxford circle.
Oxford came back strongly - profiting from some slack play by the chums and by half time had their noses deservedly in front by 2-1. Painfully for Hawks MJ got his name on the score sheet although not on the League website which seems routinely starved of information about the visitors scorers.
Into the second half and Oxford went further ahead converting a short corner. Home and hosed you might think
Not for the first time this season going two down provoked Hawks to wake up at last.
Stotty lashed home a Dutchman which clearly pleased him somewhat against his student mates and the final 15 minutes belonged to Hawks as Oxford lost their way under increased pressure from the chums. A Dan Bradley short corner levelled the score and Hawks might have clinched the points had a short corner been awarded in the last minute before the final whistle was blown - which then gave rise to heated debate as to when does a match actually end. Don't ask! Despite vocal assertions to the contrary by some we all discovered later that the answer is to be found at 5.1 of the rules of hockey.
No matter - while not a classic this was an appropriately feisty derby with honours even. In your correspondent's humble opinion that was a pretty fair outcome for two sides who both had several regular players absent.