A rainy day in the South West, Oxford Hawks travelled away to Bristol to play Bristol Firebrands. Traffic on the M5 made for a compressed team talk and warm up but Hawks were ready to take on the challenge for their second league fixture of the season.
The teams were evenly matched in the first quarter with Hawks dealing well with Firebrands aerial game. Hawks defended well, staying solid in the middle and not conceding any short corners.
Hawks came out strongly in the second quarter with some creative passing between half backs - with good attacking runs from MOM Alice Potter, showing off her skills on the left, and Jemima Spurr. Hawks were eventually rewarded with a short corner, playing it in for a deflection, but were unable to convert against a solid firebrands defence.
The score stood 0-0 at half time. Hawks started well after the break, winning another corner from some composed passing play up the pitch. The keeper made a good save from the first shot, but was unable to stop Lucy Stewart’s follow up which she slotted away to take Hawks into the lead. Firebrands responded strongly putting pressure on Hawks defence, winning a corner of their own. A well placed drag flick from the top snuck past the Hawks defence to bring the score to 1-1. Hawks were keen to get back on top, with a period of attacking play in the final third. A good breakaway Firebrands counter attack was rewarded with a second short corner. Another drag flick to the top left hand corner took the home side ahead. Hawks responded well, transferring the ball and using the full width of the pitch. Some good attacking play from Catherine Reaney and Claire Caruth on the right hand side took Hawks into the circle. The ball breaking to Rosie Evans who was able to pick out Gemma Croker, who beat her defender with some silky individual skills to then slot the ball home to take the score to 2-2.
The final quarter was end to end and well-fought. Hawks played some lovely hockey, moving the ball around well in attack and jumping back quickly to press in defence, eager to win the ball back. Firebrands continued to stretch the game, with Sally Clark and Bex Oakes staying strong and stepping in front at the back to neutralise Firebrands attackers.Connie Potts added to the solidity of the back line, with some strong and consistent defending. Neither team was able to capitalise on their opportunities and the score finished an equal 2-2 draw.