Hawks men’s 4’s fell to a sluggish 5-3 defeat at the hands of Oxford.
It was a laboured performance from Hawks, although the warm conditions and the lack of match practise may have been contributing factors. Nonetheless, Oxford’s youthfulness and energy was decisive as they stormed to a 4-0 lead before the end of the first half.
It was a much improved second half performance from Hawks. In possession, there was more movement off the ball and passes were distributed to wider pockets of space, which enabled the 4’s to dominate proceedings. A good finish from Luke Piper following some sloppy defending from Oxford restored some pride for Hawks, and this was followed by a goal from debutant Tom Mills, who deflected namesake Tom Harris’s effort into Oxford’s goal from a penalty corner.
Then came a moment of magic from Julian Laird. Another penalty corner was awarded to Hawks and up stepped Julian, who drag flicked the ball into the bottom left-hand corner to make it 4-3. It was a man of the match performance from the young man – his incisive passes and careful possession of the ball showed much promise.
The 4’s tails were up at this stage of the game, but they just couldn’t seal an unlikely comeback. In the closing minutes, Oxford caught Hawks on the counter-attack and managed to notch a fifth goal to make the final score 5-3.
It proved to be too big a mountain for the 4’s to climb. They will hope to reverse the outcome of this fixture when they play Oxford during the forthcoming league campaign, but their immediate attention turns to their first league fixture next week against Windsor.