For Premier League football fans, the running order on Match of the Day is a good indicator of how well their team has performed each Saturday. Fans of Oxford Hawks 4th XI will be pleased to know that the game versus Ramgarhia 1’s would undoubtedly be the first match to be shown.
Hawks were in control for the majority of the first half. Matt Oakes and Tom Harris, a newly formed full-back partnership, found themselves on the ball regularly; continually looking to feed through balls to the eager Barny Barber and Rich Tyser. Surging runs from Dave Cooke and George Dawson also saw Hawks secure territory in Ramgarhia’s half of the pitch.
For only the second time this season, Hawks scored the first goal of the game. After some fine stick skills, Luke Piper found Guy Biggs at the top of the D who, somewhat nonchalantly, fired in a shot off the reverse side of the stick into the far-right corner. Sliding in at the back post was Chris Maidlow, who made sure of the goal, to give Hawks a deserved 1-0 lead.
As Hawks continued to sit in the driving seat, further chances came and went. However, a superb thudding shot from Arthur Baldock made it 2-0 to Hawks. Then, with a wave of his wand, Chris Maidlow scored his second of the game from the tightest of angles to make it 3-0 at half-time. A fine half of hockey from Hawks.
The second half set the watching maroon gang’s pulses raising. Much like a popular soap opera, Hawks can always guarantee drama. As they did in the first half, Ramgarhia showed silky, flair stick skills, enabling many of their players to beat three or four Hawks players at a time. Ramgarhia also possessed the Southern Hockey league’s record goal scorer; a potent threat. This threat was realised early in the second half when he entered Hawks’ D freely to slot home. Minutes later, another one. 3-2 to Hawks but on the brink of undoing their hard work. Hawks temporarily regained their composure and re-established a two-goal cushion through the effervescent Paul Scragg, finishing well after good build-up play from the back. But there was no let up from Ramgarhia. Directly from the restart, they drove the ball right through the heart of Hawks’ defence and hit the backboard for the third time in the second half. Another goal for their talismanic goal scorer, and completing his hattrick in the process, made it Hawks 4-3 Ramgarhia.
Ramgarhia had their tails up and pressed high to force an equaliser. Hawks could not afford any mistakes. Despite some missed passes and traps, Hawks kept nerves of steel for the remainder of the game. They kept possession of the ball well and managed to see out the game 4-3.
A win for Hawks took them from 11th to 6th in the MBBO second division. Hawks will hope that they can put back-to-back wins together for the first time this season in order to push even higher.
Thanks to Evelyn Hargraves for the excellent photos.