Following two consecutive wins, the 5th XI was cautiously optimistic before playing Marlow Men’s 3s in Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre. Could they make it three in a row to compensate for a rather disastrous start this season?
It is worth pointing that this 5th XI has been improving consistently, showing glimpses of what the future may be when all its parts eventually come together. Dare I say, the hockey played by this team has more recently been very easy on the eye at times!
With this in mind, despite some relatively disorganised pre-match warmup and a slightly unusual forward line due to injuries and unavailability, the 5th XI started the game brightly. They retained most of the possession thanks to a combination of patient build up and efficient press. The press was organised by a vocal midfield with Ed, Julian and Hugh giving clear instructions to the forwards who kept harassing Marlow’s back line.
The back four was able to move the ball effortlessly from one side of the pitch to the other thanks to some very assured play by Todd and Dylan. George and Charlie on their respective side were able to successfully launch numerous attacks. Patient and intricate team play using midfield as a relay, the ball was brought up the pitch nicely, which often resulted in circle penetrations. Unfortunately, a combination of lack of end product, the forwards not quite finding their game and excellent keeping by the Marlow keeper meant that Hawks struggled to create real danger in front of goal. On a more positive note, Hawks managed to obtain multiple short corners (as many as 8?) from their circle penetrations. But a little bit more on that later!
Credit has to be paid to the opposition as they grew into the game and were probably dominant in the second half. They could have snatched a goal on several occasions if it was not for some really good last-ditch tackles by the defence and excellent keeping by Jack. Their position in the table does by no mean reflect their ability. In fact, upon further inspection, one notices that this is a team that always proposes a competitive game.
In the end, neither team could find a goal which would have surely meant a win. One could reflect on the result and say that this is a game that could have gone either way as it was a hard-fought draw against a good opposition. However, on a day when scoring from open play proved difficult, the truth is that Hawks should probably have scored from one of the many short corners they earned. Admittedly, the slow nature of the pitch did not help, but it is not inconceivable that the 5th XI will be able to win these tight games in the future if they practice a few simple short corners routines during training sessions.