In their MBBO League 2 curtain raiser, Hawks Men’s 4s were left scratching their heads after succumbing to a 3-3 draw with Wycombe Men’s 3s. Despite a squad containing a mix of exuberant youth and some familiar faces from the old guard, including Tim Martin and Andy Clarke, Hawks were left ruing missed chances and mistakes that saw Wycombe capitalise and take a share of the spoils back up the M40 whence they came.
In scorching temperatures, the ‘phwoars’ were cheered on by a following of merry maroon supporters from the side-line. Optimism was high at BRN; Hawks 4s had lost only once in their last five outings against Wycombe 3s.
As in Hawks’ outstanding pre-season display, the mighty 4s started strongly. Possession hockey was the name of the game and, thanks to Loughborough-bound Harry Venables, Hawks were 2-0 up in no time at all. Seasoned performers David Cooke and Tom Harris patrolled the back line with assurance and encouraged exciting half-backs Finn Rumsby and Anton Eisner to get high and wide at every opportunity. As the half wore on, the endeavours of our men in maroon waned. Structure was compromised and legs were heavy. Hawks conceded a goal before the end of the half, prompting a team talk of tactics to arrest the slide.
Much like Boris Johnson’s tenure at 10 Downing Street, the second half couldn’t have got off to a worse start for Hawks. In the opening minute, Wycombe manufactured a chance out of nothing and with a cool finish to boot, it was 2-2. Hawks were in a dog fight. However, Hawks displayed impressive resilience and following much huffing and puffing (literally!), a scrappy finish from Cian Naik in a typically workmanlike performance saw Hawks deservedly take a 3-2 lead. There were cries from the aforementioned merry maroon to dig in and see the game out with ten minutes to go. Wycombe retaliated by taking the game to Hawks. After a series of short corners, and a VAR-like delay over a penalty stroke that wasn’t given, Wycombe equalised; leaving Hawks with it all to do to recapture their lead. Chances followed in the closing minutes but, unfortunately, none were converted. The match finished 3-3 and, despite disappointingly squandering their lead twice, the 4s will take solace in that they remain unbeaten.