The M1's entertained Teddington on Sunday in a game where three points would go a long way to helping secure safety in Division One for next season for both teams. Hawks started by far the brighter of the two teams and deservedly took an early lead when an incisive move down the right saw the ball finds its way to Andy Watts at the top of the circle. His initial shot was well saved by the visiting keeper, but the ball rebounded straight back to Watts who made no mistake second time around with a smart finish off his reverse stick. Hawks continued to probe and create openings but couldn’t stretch their lead and on 14 minutes conceded the first penalty corner of the game which Teddington dispatched to level the scores.
Hawks started the second quarter at a gallop and retook the lead inside a minute of the break when they won a penalty corner of their own which was converted with clever disguise by Aussie Tom Miotto. Three minutes later their lead was increased to two when another good move down the right saw the ball transferred across the top of the circle before reaching Josh Wierszycki whose well judged pass to Watts at the far post was clinically lifted home. At this point Hawks really should have pressed home their clear advantage but instead they allowed Teddington to settle back into the game and the score line remained 3-1 at the half time break.
Unlike last week when Hawks played well for the full 70 minutes, this week Hawks allowed themselves to drift back into old habits and lost focus in the third quarter. It was a fair reflection of the play when Teddington reduced the arrears just before the quarter break to give them hope that the game was not lost.
Hawks regrouped to some extent in the final quarter and found some success with frequent circle penetrations. However, they failed to create any clear cut scoring opportunities and had to wait for a penalty corner with nine minutes left to play to give themselves some breathing space. Jack Biggs initial strike was saved but the ball fell back to Biggs who fed Ted Bennett to fire home from close quarters. Still Hawks could not put the game completely to bed and swift Teddington counter attacks had the home defence on its back foot more often than it would have liked. With three minutes left on the clock one such counter led to a shot at goal being stopped illegally on the line and with Kyle White converting the resultant penalty stroke, Teddington hoped that they could yet salvage a point. But Hawks managed out the dying minutes of the game to secure all three points and establish some daylight between them and the three teams below them. Not their best performance, but a very welcome three points ahead of next Saturday’s trip to Bath.
Many thanks to Clive Jones for the excellent photos.