American basketball player, Larry Bird, had a theory that if you give 100 per cent all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end. Unfortunately, the outcome of Hawks men’s 4s match versus Wallingford did little to support ‘The Hick from French Lick’.
Following a team photo, Hawks took to the pitch with cheesy grins on their faces. Indeed, their opening display of hockey did much to put smiles on the faces of the watching maroon gang on the side-line. Hawks pressed high and when in possession of the ball looked after it well. However, Wallingford remained a well-organised outfit and posed a potent threat. The pitch resembled a giant chess board to the opposition, much like their green and white chequered match attire. It was Wallingford’s prolific talisman- a seasoned MBBO division two performer- who struck the opening blow. He proved his formidable reputation by finding space and fashioned a chance out of nothing to put Wallingford in the driving seat.
Hawks displayed great endeavour throughout the first half in pursuit of an equaliser. Vocal half-back Tom Harris pulled the strings from the back, whilst Luke Piper knitted play together by holding the ball up and finding those around him to penetrate the Wallingford D in search of that all-important goal. Wallingford defended resiliently though and were not about to let go of their lead in this fierce encounter. At half-time, it remained 1-0 to Wallingford.
There was much endeavour about Hawks’ attack in the second half. Chris Maidlow and Simon White scurried about the final quarter of the pitch, ably supported by the threat of Matt Oakes and Barney Barber. Hawks’ resolve was rewarded with their first short corner of the second half. A slip to stalwart Brett Morrison then found captain Guy Biggs. After numerous attempts, the ball was squeezed underneath the Wallingford goalkeeper to make it 1-1. Momentum was with Hawks.
The ascendency remained with Hawks for much of the second half. Chances came, and went begging(!!), but the men in maroon continued to persevere.
It was all in vain. Against the run of play, Wallingford found a player in space to nonchalantly scoop the ball into the net. Thereafter, Wallingford expertly frustrated Hawks. After surviving a spirited barrage from Hawks, Wallingford won a short corner in the dying stages of the game to well and truly kill the game off. As the game drew to a close, Luke Piper was disallowed what was a fair goal for an alleged shot outside of the D. Remarkable.
The game finished 3-1. Although the outcome of this game disproved Larry Bird’s theory, Hawks will hope that it was a mere anomaly.
Thanks to Evelyn Hargreaves for the excellent photos.