A local derby against Witney didn’t disappoint the crowd on a cold, wet and windy day. Hawks team of 16 had it all – experience, skill, pace and enthusiasm – and Hawks attacked straight from the start. As both teams settled into the game it was apparent that Hawks would dominate the match and with just 7 minutes played Hawks opened the scoring with Henri Gordon picking up the ball in a second phase from a penalty corner and slotting the ball past the keeper. A second goal soon followed, and it was Kara Kerr who picked up the loose ball following a rebound from a save from an initial strike from a penalty corner slipping the ball past the last defender. The game then became a bit congested and although Hawks dictated the game with wave after wave of attacks, the home team found it difficult to penetrate the goal with Witney defending deep and in numbers, and Hawks compounding the issue with them all wanting a piece of the action. Eventually, with passing around the back to switch play and pace down the wing, a ball was played across to Tam Pascoe who’s early strike from the top of the circle beat the keeper. 3-0 at half time but many opportunities not taken.
With wise words from coach Andy Clark, Hawks started the second half with determination and desire to score goals. The home crowd support was impressive as the wind and rain swept across BRN but they too were waiting for the goals to flow and they only had to wait a few minutes into the second half. In fact, within 14 minutes Hawks doubled their lead to 6-0 with 3 well executed penalty corners. The first was a repeat of the first goal with Henri scoring from a second phase, the next was an impressive lob from Tam from the top of the circle which eluded both defenders and keeper, and the next was a shot from an angle which was touched in at the far post from Kathryn Poulter – almost looked rehearsed? Henri then completed her hat-trick minutes later with a fierce shot that crashed against the right of the backboard through open play (still waiting for that jug Henri!), then Kelly Fogden joined the scoring after a ball found the unmarked Apples in the circle who carefully slotted the ball to Kelly who beat the advancing keeper. Sandra Roche added the ninth following a hit out from Witney that was blocked and a pass to Sandra was deflected into the goal, and Hawk’s tenth goal was again through a second phase of a penalty corner but this time was slotted home by Kelly.
All in all, a very strong performance by a determined Hawks side, who now travel to Leamington in the next round in the New Year.