Hawks went into the match knowing a win would claim the league title. A defeat, however, would throw the race wide open.
Hawks started brightly and spurned some excellent early chances with a couple of the senior members of the team forgetting that the goal doesn’t move or expand in size during the match. Against the run of play Marlow took the lead following a swift break which left the promising Ben Pearce in the Hawks goal with no chance. Hawks responded immediately with an excellent run and finish from the equally promising Adam Laird. The Hawks midfield now took control with Fogden and Brook to the fore and Laird added a second following sustained pressure. Marlow now pressed hard and Hawks for once looked shaky. A goal by Marlow just before half time tied up the scores. Both the youngsters and the more mature members of the team knew they were in a game.
The second period began poorly for Hawks with Marlow taking the lead and the home support started to get excited. Not for the first time the Hawks team responded in style. Arthur Baldock’s clever backhand finish made it 3-3 and his father restored Hawks lead from a short corner. The crowd were suddenly much quieter, and silence fell as Laird senior scored one of the goals of the season – beating 3 players before unleashing an unstoppable shot.
Hawks hadn’t finished yet! Young Jonty Atkins found himself all alone at the far post to fire in a sixth and the champagne/Lilt/Tango/Dr Pepper was put on ice. The best was yet to come. The tireless Richard Walsh started a run in his own half (130 metres from goal) as the ball was moved effortlessly down the left flank. Hutton to Laird Jnr to Louis Atkins – Walsh kept running and arrived like a DPD courier to slide the ball into the goal. Hawks had sealed the win and deservedly the league title with an impressive 40 points from a possible 42 since October.
Special mentions to the excellent Charlie Warner, the pocket rocket Paul Dunleavy, ‘Hotch’ Hutton, ‘Shep’ Shepherd and the impressive Ben Pearce who coped well with the unrelenting Marlow forwards. Once again, the young players performed admirably with Alex Laird, Arthur Baldock, Jonty Atkins, Louis Atkins and George Guillain bringing much needed energy to the team.
Big thanks to Unai Atkins for the running the bench.