Hawks Ladies Over 35s travelled to Leamington to play in the last 32 of the EH Tier 2 Cup. The game was originally scheduled two weeks previous but with Storm Dennis causing chaos across the country, the game was rescheduled albeit Storm Ellen still making conditions difficult. After an early start, Hawks gathered determined to leash their own storm on Leamington.
And it was Hawks who were quick off the mark. After an opening few minutes of flurry as both teams tried to exert authority of the game, Hawks opened the scoring. Following some good pressing, Hawks turned over the ball, Sandra Roche’s shot was saved but Zoe Lamb followed up with another shot that nestled in the back of the goal.
The game became a little stormy with Leamington disputing decisions and rattling some of the Hawks players, but Hawks’ used their experience and restructured their defence to mitigate the threat with Leamington playing three up front who caused a few problems in the opening exchanges. Leamington got their equaliser through a penalty corner, a straight strike evaded the Hawks defence which excited the home crowd, but that was the only thing they were going to cheer today.
Hawks then started to take control of the game, switching the ball through the middle and creating space to drive in to. There were a numbers of circle entries but the final connections or shots weren’t causing the Leamington defence too many concerns including a cheeky lob over the keeper by Tam Pascoe which cleared the goal too. Another entry into the circle, a little bit messy, with the ball bobbling about, nobody really wanted to “own” it until Zoe Lamb popped up again to score and make it 2-1. Leamington put pressure on the Hawks defence with a couple of quick breaks but didn’t take their opportunities even when outnumbering the Hawks defence – the ball went whizzing across the Hawks goal a couple of times but we were confident that Linda Billington had it covered, the only time she was beaten Vicky Martin was on hand for a goal line clearance.
Half-time. 2-1 up and all to play for. A slight reshuffle of personnel, a couple of bags of Haribo, a quick chat and ready for the second half. Hawks again switched the ball to create the space, the connections were more effective, and a lot of pressure on the Leamington goal. It was soon 3-1 with a penalty corner strike from Sandra Roche – the Leamington players tried to convince the umpires that it was too high without success.
Hawks pressed on but the windy conditions took its toll on the players. There were moments of beautiful hockey, there were times of scrappy play, even with some unfavourable umpiring decisions, the Hawks defence stayed solid – the only scare in the last 5 minutes was thwarted with Clare King clearing off the line. A couple of green cards were awarded to Hawks players but overall Hawks deserved the 3-1 victory which takes the team into the last 16 of the competition with a home game against Stourport on 8th March.