Adrian ‘Chair’ Higgins selflessly stood down for this game and umpired back at BRN having ensured the ‘Magnificent 7’s’ were fully COVID compliant for their first league game of the ‘20/’21 season against Witney 3’s in a repeat fixture of last year which saw the Magnificents walk away with a 6-4 win.
All assembled as instructed with suitable distancing, except for skipper for the day, Venables, arriving with seconds to spare and deputising to Shirley to organise the team line up. A somewhat ‘disorganised’ start then ensued but debutants James Burroughs and Dom Baillie competed hard for the ball and Nico Stott used his athleticism to harry at every opportunity. GK for the day was stand in Tom Image who was vocal from the start.
Hawks started to dominate the game and James B flashed a lifted cross to the right of the goal which was just missed by Elliot and McGrigor, followed by a couple of other scuffed chances.
Success eventually came from our 2nd short corner with McGrigor scoring from a rebound to the right. This was followed in quick succession by another McGrigor goal in open play and then an Andy Graham goal from another short corner.
3-0 at half time felt a good reflection of the pressure Hawks had applied but we were conscious Witney’s line up were more than capable of coming back. Elliot poached a ball that was definitely going goal-wards to add to his goal tally this year and continue in his quest for the 7’s ‘Ballon d’Or’. Witney’s keeper made a great save to stop a near certain Elliot brace. At the other end young Tom Image made a brave save coming out of the goal mouth to the top of the D and sliding towards the on coming Witney centre forward. Witney continued to press and eventually got a goal back but the Hawks back line of Shirley, Stocker, Hobbs, Watson, Hack and Image snr subbed well and worked well to repel most advances and worked the ball well out of the back.
The team are getting accustomed to new COVID regulations regarding not handling the ball, until Elliott got one rifled straight at his own ‘Ballons d’Or’. The umpire reminded us no one should touch the ball but there was no enthusiasm from either side to rub it better.
The Magnifcents then sealed the game with some neat passing to find Dom B in the D who rounded the keeper to finish the game 5-1 and see us go to the rarefied heights of top of the league table in week 1.
A social distanced beer in a local pub afterwards added to the enjoyment of the day, but clearly the Magnificent 7’s had to become the a ‘suitably distanced group of 6’. Thanks to Witney for a good spirited game.