The M1's played host to Clifton Robinsons from Bristol on Sunday in the last sixteen of the EH Cup (Tier 1) with coach Todd Williams recuperating at home following hip surgery. Hawks started brightly enough but couldn't convert chances into goals and even in the opening quarter there was a sense that the visiting GK might have 'one of those days'. To make matters worse, Hawks conceded two soft goals, one immediately either side of the first quarter break, to give the visitors reason to believe that they could cause an upset. Fortunately, Hawks galvanised themselves and in a seven minute spell just before half time turned the tables with three goals - two from Ed Tristem and a penalty corner conversion from Jack Biggs. Despite this, Hawks play was littered with errors and mistakes and frequent mistraps and missed passes meant that their play was disjointed and lacking in cohesion.
This pattern continued into the second half and consequently Hawks were unable to put breathing space between themselves and their visitors. Any threat that Clifton carried was mostly comfortably repelled by the Hawks rearguard but it wasn't until five minutes from full time that Hawks put together their best move of the game when a swift ball transfer from left to right saw Drew Blackburn find brother Tim in space on the right flank. His cross into the circle was deflected home by Billy Bishop to finally put the game beyond the visitors. Clifton's decision to then replace their GK with an outfield player also backfired when Freddie Foster helped himself to the fifth goal following good approach work from Archie Winter - giving a slightly glossy look to the scoreline when the Hawks display had been very lacklustre. The quarter finals will not be played until April, once the league programme has been completed.
Thanks to Evelyn Hargraves for the excellent photos.