For the third week in a row, Saturday saw the heavens open, and the roads of rural Oxfordshire flooded and under water. (the author notes that as bad as the rain was, it was nowhere near proportions experienced in Sheffield, but it was bad enough for those of a southern disposition!)
Hawks opposition - travelling from the furthest reaches of the MBBO league, were conscious of both the weather, and the traffic implications - and still managed to arrive close to the wire, with little time to warm up before play began in the half light.
With the seventh week in a row with a different keeper, Hawks continued to roll the dice - this week it was a last minute call up for Jonny Atkins, ahead of the over 50's cup game on Sunday. The second constant of the first period of the season remained - a chaotic and confused first half, as players settled into position and realised that you have to use the curved end of the stick when playing hockey.
Within the opening ten minutes, Hawks found themselves drenched to the bone, and looking at the wrong end of 2-0. Two defensive errors and holes opening up through the middle of the pitch meant that the side looked like they deserved their bottom of the league placement.
This week, the spark lit a little earlier. The second half of the last couple of games have looked significantly stronger, once the side realised they were a team. In both cases, having come back strongly and demonstrating why and how they were able to twice take the lead against a flyaway Reading side a few weeks earlier.
This week, it happened on the stroke of half an hour.
As the grip on the game began to tighten, Hawks won a short corner, and Jeremy struck a clean, straight strike to the bottom left corner - the keeper had no chance.
Two minutes later, and Hawks were again in the West Hampstead D - this time a melee ensued, and it was the young Jonty who managed to grasp a deft touch, and sneak the ball across the line. Two goals in 3 minutes.
Half time team talks ensued. As is typical with the 6's, these tend to consist of a democratic review of the failings of the first half, whilst remaining optimistic - whilst most people get their breath back and realise the gravitas of where the game is going!
THe second half started strongly for both sides - with the play evenly matched, but apparent that Hawks were more determined. THe solid midfield dynamo duo of Gilman Snr and JDP brought back visions of senators of yore, and demonstrated their pedigree. Gilman worthy of man of the match, after appearing to cover the entire pitch and get to every ball!
Both sides played competitive hockey, with determination and spirity - which yielded a competitive and evenly balanced game. Some ten minutes into the second half, West Hampstead managed to somehow pass a defensive sixteen yard hitout straight to Jeremy - who was then left with a two on one against the keeper. The author blinked at that point - to find when his vision had returned, Hawks were up.
With the one goal advantage, the remainder of the game became more evenly balanced, althugh West Hampstead moved players back, in order to protect the defence and break down any Hawks attack before it became dangerous.
The end result was 3-2, with Hawks now rising off the bottom spot of the league, and with a run of fixtures which could easily see them mid table and comfortable within the next couple of games.
Thanks to Sam and Jaqui for umpiring, and for Evelyn for the photos, braving the weather before the late evening ladies game.
Next week - it is battle of the forwards, as two of the top three goal scorers in the league go head to head in a thrilling midday encounter in Windsor, with a win for Hawks seeing them a minimum of rising above them in the league table.