Falcons and Men's 7s share the spoils in tight match
06 April 2019, 14:30, Banbury Road North (Near)
Falcons 1 - 1 Oxford Hawks Men's 7s
Clash of the Titans
Saturday saw the Oxford Hawks Falcons take on the Hawks Mens 7's in an end of season friendly at BRN ahead of the end of season dinner. David Hughes was aiming to make his swansong as captain of the Falcons a memorable one and the 7's had Chairman Higgins equally keen to provide some humiliating material for his after dinner speeches that evening.
The 7's arrived early and with a squad of 15, the Falcons by contrast arrived in dribs and drabs with one player arriving 2 minutes into the game, was this an omen!
Banter ahead of the game gave way to some good hockey being played by the Falcons and within ten minutes they were ahead when Hutton, Warner and Griffiths contrived to move the ball around the more mobile 7's midfield of Venables, Tyser and Royer to find Burrell in space in the D, first time control gave him time to pick his spot and flick the ball beyond Theo making a return as 7's goalkeeper.
Hawks continued to move the ball and created several more opportunities including two short corners but Finlayson was untypically unable to add to their tally.
The 7's after a fitful start began to find their mojo and began to put the Falcons defence to the test, but Jones was keeping Shirley under tight control and Billington and Henrich were stopping most attacks, however after a first failed short corner, Royer stepped up with the second and drag flicked beyond a surprised Wilsdon in the Falcons goal.
Half time came with the game finely balanced at 1-1.
Both captains (Warner and Spittles) rallied their troops - the 7's came out with the intention to take the game to the Falcons and the Falcons came out ready to concede possession to the 7's in the hope of hitting them on the counter when their youngsters had pushed up the pitch.
This effectively granted the 7's a greater amount of the ball and their rotation policy gave them some fresher legs to dominate more of the play, but they continued to try and play the long ball game to Shirley up top who continued to battle unsuccessfully with the wily Heinrich, Jones and Billington, however when Heinrich had to depart injured, the Falcons were forced to pull the marauding right half Hutton back into the centre. The change of formation unsettled the Falcons and late in the second half Shirley found space in the Falcons D, despite Wilsdon trying to hold him up as long as possible, he found his way past the keeper and with the goal beckoning - the ever reliable Chris Billington stepped in to save embarrassment and maintain equity.
The game finished 1-1 and both sides left with heads held high to enjoy the dinner!
7's: Theo, Tim Spittles, Mark Stoker, Sam Raynor, Geoff Watson, Mike Image, Adrian Higgins, Christophe Royer, Rich Tyser, Rich Venables, Ash Robbins, Andy Graham, Mark Shirley, Nico S, Charles Darby
Congratulations to Colin "Buzz" Burrell and Andrew Graham for being named Falcons and 7's Players of the Season.
Thanks must go to Dave Hughes for skippering the Falcons for the last nine years!