Our trip to play City of Peterborough HC in the EH O35s cup was confirmed albeit the snow and freezing temperatures. With a 4 hour round-trip ahead of us, and the O35s squad was reduced to 12 due to illness, we were determined to make it count. With their Men’s 1s playing in a cup game at home we played on a sand-based pitch up the road which looked massive in size. An efficient warm-up was had, a few players were playing out of position, but the focus was on a team effort.
The first 10 minutes was relatively even. Chances as both ends with Hawks having carved out the better attempts on goal, both teams hitting the post and the goal-keepers both made some fine saves. But it was Peterborough who opened the scoring – driving in to the circle and executing a reverse stick pass, the ball managed to find its way into the goal past the unsighted goal-keeper. This “soft” goal spurred Hawks into action with a quick response from a penalty corner. Jacs pass in front of goal to MOM Kara whose shot found the back on the net. The inners worked hard to link the play together, Sarah and Zoe linked well down the left to cause the Peterborough defence an uncomfortable afternoon. A 10 minute spell of pressure was rewarded with another goal; another penalty corner which this time was slipped right and an unmarked Kara rifled the ball home. Peterborough tried to stretch the game with their long ball tactics, but Phil and Caroline defended well and anything that did get past them was mopped up by Linda in goal. 2-1 to Hawks at half-time, but we knew we had to keep the energy levels up with the home team fielding 16 players – we didn’t have the luxury of a rest.
The second half started with the same levels of intensity, a few naughty tackles and a few high balls raised the temperature but Hawks let the hockey do the talking. A quick move down the left started by Catherine, found Sherene whose roll-out created the space for a shot which was saved but Linda was quick to pick up the rebound to give Hawks a 2 goal cushion. Hawks fourth goal came from another penalty corner; a thundering shot by Rebecca that was hit so hard the ball returned itself to the half-way line for the restart! Peterborough battled but were restricting their possession to 3 key players which allowed Hawks to prioritise their defensive duties and Linda pulled off some awesome saves. Peterborough found the back of the net through a penalty corner; Jacs had already made 2 goal-line saves in the game but couldn’t stop the ball from crossing the line this time. At 4-2 Hawks were on top, and a fifth goal wasn’t long coming. Driving down the right, Becky’s ball found Linda who connected with Kara, and a great advantage from the umpire (Dave Hughes) allowed a ball to be fired towards goal, and with the defenders unable to get control Zoe latched on to the loose ball to make it 5. Hawk’s final goal was a spectacular solo effort, picking the ball up from inside left Zoe took on several of the Peterborough players, some more than once, and once in to the circle buried the ball in to the goal at head height – not sure the keeper even moved!
So Hawks’ trip to Peterborough resulted in a tremendous team effort and a 6-2 win. Hawks O35s have reached the final 16 of the EH T3 competition and await the draw to find out their opponents at the end of the month.