The team took the short trip up the road to Cokethorpe School to play mid-table Wychwood. It was always going to be a hard fought game and team were on their best behaviour to accept the decisions and let the hockey do the talking.
The first 10 minutes wasn’t our best hockey driving into contact and poor final decision making – I might be a bit harsh to say this but I have got used to playing in a team that can play some quite superb hockey, with neat build up play and lots of goals. However, Hawks settled down and soon opened to scoring from a wayward penalty corner. The initial execution certainly wasn’t from the training ground but the ball, once under control, was sent from Kim to Jacs who found Sophie to fire home at a tight angle. The next memorable moment on the pitch was Becky heading a rocket of a ball at close range; fortunately for us there was a doctor in the crowd (Alice’s Dad) who quickly assessed the situation. Luckily no blood, it would seem that Becky has an extremely hard head! Wychwood had a couple of pacey players but found it difficult to create too many decent chances with Susan and Mary marshalling the defence. A couple of questionable penalty corner decisions were professionally dealt with supported by Jane and Caroline. Hawks second goal came on the brink of half-time; a cracking ball fired along the backline from right-winger (!) Caroline was met by Sherene, I am sure she closed her eyes, and the Wychwood keeper could only watch the ball settle in the back of the goal.
The half-time team talk was all about making connections, upping our game and avoiding contact as tackles were contested quite vigorously. However, it was Wychwood who scored next, a couple of errors and lack of concentration allowed Wychwood to score a soft goal; this just fired Hawks into another gear. Pip added a brace, the first after a solo run from MOM Mimi whose turn of pace frightened the Wychwood players (“can’t catch her, she’s fast!”), driving down the right and crashing a ball into the circle for Pip to connect with. The next move was some neat passing, movements and connections between Mimi and Priya – I just admired it from the centre of the pitch as I had no intension of trying to keep up with them and join in - down the right, along the back line and this time the ball was pulled back on to the penalty spot and Pip deflected the ball in to the goal. Wychwood deemed that their best attacking option was quick switching to their right winger but Alice matched her pace and kept her in her pocket. The limited entries in the Hawks circle and shots were dealt with by Purdy – don’t think the second half was too onerous for our defence.
Captain Polly scored Hawks’ 5th goal. Imagine flowing hockey, strong tackles, good connections, good use of space – after many passages of play the ball found unmarked Polly whose early short surprised the advancing keeper. It wasn’t long after this that Polly was “mugged” on the pitch – it’s the only way I can describe it. In my opinion it was deliberate foul which left Polly flat on the floor (perhaps she took it as an opportunity to take a rest!) but the decision was given against Polly, very strange, perhaps I saw things from a different angle. Hawks final goal of the day came from the left; Sherene’s trade-mark ‘receive and roll-out’ on the top of the circle was lashed into the goal, I have been told top right hand corner but I missed it (sorry).
Anyway, another good day on the pitch for the ladies; a 6-1 win, and that’s 15 matches played and 15 wins. With no match next week the team look forward to a home match against Oxford on 2nd March – a win would secure league winners position.