Hawks played bottom of the league Buckingham but it was never going to be an easy game. It was an early start and plenty of pitch space to warm up as we welcomed our captain back from injury. It was a determined team looking for another win but more importantly a clean sheet.
In the first 10 minutes possession was quite even but Hawks did give away the ball without much pressure (sloppy passes) and our first touch let us down; it was quite cold so a valid excuse. Captains notes after the game referred to the lack of pre-scanning before we receive the ball so we know where other team members are – not doubt there will be a training drill on Wednesday to address this. However, Hawks did open the scoring mid-way through the first half. A series of penalty corners were awarded and Jacs pass back to the injector saw Pip out-stretched to slot the ball past defender and goal-keeper. Buckingham continued to stretch the game with pace and numbers through the middle but didn’t create many goal scoring opportunities in the circle. Purdy, Susan, Mary and Freya marshalled the defence but quite often found themselves outnumbered by the Buckingham players but held firm until half-time.
The captains team talk was about shifting that ball around the pitch, maintaining possession and really taking care of the ball. Second half started in a similar fashion to the first, squandering possession, not using the pass back (under the armpit) especially when attacking and striking on goal when there were other easier options available …… back to the pre-scanning point raised earlier. We should have scored a lot more goals (even the umpires fed this back), however, on a plus note we won a lot more short corners with the trickery of MOM Priya - we just need to work on a few more routines so that we can capitalise on these opportunities a little bit more. Hawks made it 2-0, again from a penalty corner. The ball was slipped to the left and Sherene’s connection diverted the ball into the back of the net – a few nervy moments while the umpires consulted but the goal was awarded. Buckingham continued to attack with numbers through the heart of the Hawks team; some of the skills wouldn’t look out of place in a higher league! Livy, Priya and Alice worked hard to track back with players and turn defence into attack and the final stages of the game saw end-to-end open hockey. The final whistle blew, a 2-0 win, another 3 points and a clean sheet.
Another win but we all know we didn’t play our best, however, despite this we can still get the results we need as the emphasis is very much on being a team, working as a team, supporting each other on the pitch and an ethos of hard work until the final whistle. So our next game is against Wycombe and the focus will be on first touch this week in preparation for the game which will allow us to progress into a better passing game and untimely more goals and possession. And to convey any doubt, Jacs did execute two aerials during the game!