I write this glad to be distant from the Hawks 2s. The English Channel and several hundred kilometres, the favoured distance measure over here, are putting a well earned barrier between myself and the chaos of central Oxfordshire. That chaos has hopefully peaked with the result on Saturday, but I won’t get my hopes up.
A holiday abroad does lend one perspective. The trials, hurt and restraint of the summer of 2020 are unlikely to be forgotten by all those present but much of our lives remain standing. It feels like we’ve all gone through a lifetime’s worth of nostalgic articles and zoom calls. I for one did not need to be brought back to the Benson & Hedges one day competition of 1995 or even the “day hockey went millennial” by employing AstroTurf. The zoom calls were a brief relief to be honest, until it transpired that there were no valid excuses to reject them.
As an aside for a future reader, Zoom is a video conferencing software that unexpectedly leapfrogged Skype to become market leader in sharing ones living room to those you wouldn’t normally invite over. I presume they have collapsed by your time, they always do.
As I was saying to a dear friend last week, technology only lasts as long as its need. Zoom only took us through the summer, now it is time to get back to playing hockey.
The past few months have cast many a doubt over the upcoming season. How can a team train without increasing community level spread? Can matches even be considered? Will there even be chance for post-match entertainment?
For the ne’er-do-wells that regrettably fill the ranks of the once-great Hawks second eleven, the answers are now eminently obvious. In order: don’t turn up, avoid marking or engaging the opposition at all costs, not be entertaining. The best thing that can be said is that the lockdown created the longest spell without a M2s player forgetting their playing shirt in living memory.
Nevertheless, here we go again for an MBBO Regional 1 campaign. Perhaps this will be the year that the cretins finally learn to score more than the opposition. Perhaps they will be able to pass to each other this year. Certainly, one hopes that Dunners has finally learnt to “teach”, something we are repeatedly told is in his job description.
Henry Taylor - contracted to remain within the ring-road until 2028 with a buyout clause bigger than Messi’s - is still captain. The adage that one is sometimes better for not being selected is definitely true of his leadership having seen the results of leadership from a quieter but more grating Oxford colleague of Henry’s. After a full two campaigns as a forward have yielded a goals per game ratio south of 0.1, Henry has been moved to right back. He seems limited in that position, but no more so than the rest of that group of cackling half-brains seem limited as humans so fair enough.
The first obstacle of the season was Witney. I sent a memo to Dunners to read out to the team as kind words of inspiration from afar. After seeing the result, it became clear that he forgot. Frankly, it’s probably best that I wasn’t there. Okay, they won 3 points, but the message I was sent to describe the game was too long to fit on my phone screen. What utter nonsense.
Dan Andrews scored a hattrick, Fraser Daly scored two. The opposition scored 4. We scored after the final whistle.
Despite a lifechanging pandemic, serious restraints around the game and extra Tuesday coaching, the Hawks 2s are still prioritising matches for the [non-existent] fans and not the league. If they aren’t careful they will be treated to a presentation about the run of games in 2003/04 where the team went 13 games unbeaten despite only scoring 15 goals. A couple of the current players are about as old as those fixtures, there is no excuse for the adults in the team. Okay, without the university the title of “most fun opposition” is up for grabs in MBBOR1, and it would pair nicely with the long-time holders of “most social team” in Hawks, but it is a dangerous route in this era where excessive shouting is banned.
Next week the team is travelling to South Berkshire. Who knows how they will manage that. Good luck to Dunners, Henry and the rest.
DISCLAIMER: This wasn’t actually written by the famous blogger Paddy Roche. It has instead been penned by a member of the Hawks 2s. In the interests of that player’s position in the team and general safety, he will remain anonymous.