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Men's 4's defeated by Oxford 3's

11 December 2021, 14:30, Oxford Brookes

Men's 4s 2 - 3 Oxford Men's 3s

Hawks men’s 4’s fell to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Oxford 3’s. It was their second defeat at Brookes this season, following another narrow loss during the pre-season under the hot September sun. The weather was markedly different this time as the rain fell from all sorts of angles – unfortunately, though, the final outcome was the same.  

The 4’s have been somewhat lacklustre in the last couple of outings. You could argue this result was on the cards.

Having said that, the 4’s started brightly. They had much of the possession in the opening fifteen minutes and had Oxford penned into their defensive quarter of the pitch. Hawks had a number of unconverted opportunities during this period, which would come back to haunt them. In the closing period of the first half, Oxford were awarded two penalty corners after building some momentum. Both of these chances were put away – somewhat  scrappily – but they were 2-0 ahead going in to the second half. The score line did seem slightly unfair on the 4’s, but Oxford had stepped up their game as the half progressed, whereas Hawks were coasting.

There was a bit more urgency from the 4’s in the opening stages of the second period as they drove with purpose into Oxford’s half of the pitch. However, a goal was not forthcoming, and they lost possession of the ball far too frequently. Oxford took full advantage of this and caught Hawks on the counterattack on a handful of occasions. The home side managed to convert one of these chances approximately ten minutes in to the second half to make it 3-0  - a seemingly unassailable lead.

Hawks knew they needed to take the game to Oxford if there was any chance of getting anything out of this fixture. There was a little more conviction in their passes and dribbling after the third goal was conceded, but too often was the ball dribbled into sticks or passes not executed accurately.

Still, the 4’s did manage to get themselves back into the game. A penalty corner was awarded approximately twelve minutes from the end of the game after Chris Maidlow was hacked down in Oxford’s D. The attempt was converted by Luke Piper to give Hawks some hope. Then, in the final minute of the match, Barnaby Barber saw his penalty corner effort creep over the line to make it 3-2. However, the game restarted only momentarily before the final whistle was blown.

The 4’s are to be commended for their positive first half of the season. In a league crammed with 1st and 2nd XI’s, they find themselves – conveniently – 4th. Whilst a defeat wasn’t how they would have hoped to finish, there is enough evidence to suggest they can maintain and even improve on their current position. Much depends on their ability to see out those tightly fought contests.  


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