Hawks Ladies were awarded a home draw for the semi-final of the O35s cup. Very little was known about our opposition, Blueharts, but the game was played at great pace from start to finish which entertained the swelling crowd. With a full squad on hand, until an injury to Sophie in the warm-up, and player versatility, Hawks had options on the pitch. Blueharts goal-keeper made a couple of crucial saves in the early exchanges and Blueharts had a good chance themselves but was thwarted by Linda Billington. Hawks opened the scoring from open play with neat play, good connections and Zoe slotted the ball home. Hawks began to dominate possession but Blueharts defended well including a series of penalty corners. Hawks contained the middle of the pitch and ended the first half with a well-deserved 1-0 lead.
In the second half Blueharts pressed higher up the pitch but Hawks were composed in their switching around the back which released quick balls down the wings. A number of swift moves found Hawks in great positions but the final ball let them down. Another barrage of penalty corners, with one hitting the post, but it wasn’t to be (note: practice needed before the final). In the final five minutes of the game we discovered that Blueharts had removed their goal-keeper from the pitch playing with eleven outfield players; we were so focussed on the game that we hadn’t realised, no wonder the final minutes felt a little pressurised. But Hawks held out for a victory with the final at Lee Valley at the end of the month.
Many thanks to Evelyn Hargraves for the excellent photos.