On a sunny Saturday morning, Oxford Hawks, Trojans and Leamington turned up to Banbury Road North for a triangular tournament. The club was already humming with both hockey and tennis enthusiasts flitting around, but the buzz was to reach its climax when Hawks lined up against Trojans, for the first match of the day.
Both teams started strong, looking to open the scoring but for the solidity of both back lines. However, it was the home side that snatched the first goal - the perfect exemplar of a team goal. Careering inside from the right wing, Gemma played a sharp one-two with Tam, whose vision for picking out a pass was expert to say the least. The ball was then played into the path of Emma, who claimed the assist by hurtling along the byline like Adama Traore, and by playing a perfect pass to the p-spot, enabling Frankie to execute a clinical finish of which Raul Jimenez would have been proud, reflecting her customary composure and control in the D. Unfortunately for Hawks, their lead did not last for much longer, as the visitors were able to equalise before the halftime break.
With the score 1-1 going into the second half, the match was all to play for. Strong performances from Sally and Henri down the flanks opened up many attacking opportunities for the home team; the former with her frequent slaps across the width of the pitch with pinpoint precision, and the latter with typical effortless control of the bouncing ball. Moreover, the Hawks attack and defence were reinforced by the backbone of the team that was Becca, commanding the game in the centre of the park. The piling pressure of the home team on Trojans eventually resulted in a well-deserved goal from a short corner - Caro at the top of the D was able to strike a rebound off the keeper with such force that the defenders could do nothing but watch the ball soar high into the net. Boosted by the trustworthy presence of Kayleigh between the sticks, pulling out saves as athletic as Rui Patrício, Hawks were able to hold out for a satisfactory 2-1 win in their first match of pre-season.
Match report by Gemma Taylor.