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M1's Go Close, But No Cigar

27 February 2022, 13:00, University of Bath

Men's 1s 1 - 3 Bath Buccaneers Men's 1s

The M1's made the best possible start in their away encounter at title chasing Bath on Sunday when, following a quick counter attack by Ed Tristem in the opening minute of the game, Archie Winter was hand with a smart finish to give the visitors the lead.  Hawks continued to take the game to Bath in the opening quarter and several circle penetrations led to the home side having to scramble to clear their lines.  Half chances came and went without ever testing the Bath keeper and Hawks were well worth their 1-0 lead at the first quarter break.  Excellent passages of play continued into the second quarter and shortly after an excellent move down the right flank had opened up the Bath defence, another attack down the right forced a desperate tackle on Ted Bennett as he was shaping to shoot at goal.  In what was to prove a costly miss, Jack Biggs put the resultant penalty stroke wide.  The miss seemed to prompt Bath into action and as the second quarter unfolded, Bath played themselves much more into the game and with four minutes to go to the half time break, they equalised.  Despite Hawks' protestations that two infringements had been missed, the goal stood and so the scores were level at 1-1 at half time.  Hawks started the second half brightly and two minutes in forced a penalty corner.  But as with the handful of corners that Hawks won during the game, their routine never really fired nor tested the Bath goalkeeper.  By now, green cards were being shown to both sides as frustration with the umpiring got the better of players on both sides.  With play moving from end to end, a naive challenge by Matt Wilson just outside the circle was penalised with a penalty corner and GB captain Adam Dixon stepped up to give the home side the lead.  Both sides continued to probe and look for openings and as the third quarter break approached first an excellent cross field reverse stick pass from Bennett found Tristem in the space to close down on goal, but his effort was scrambled clear.  Within a minute Bath had countered and it required Chris Price in the Hawks goal to close down and deflect wide a good opportunity for Bath.  Four minutes into the final quarter Hawks created two good back-to-back chances, first Tristem finding the side netting and then an even clearer chance falling to Kiran Patel in front of goal that was allowed to go begging.  To underline those missed opportunities, a minute later Bath went down the other end and scored a scrambled third goal to give them a lead that was to prove unassailable.  No disgrace to lose to a side containing three Olympians and who are challenging for the title, but Hawks must learn to start converting some of their excellent play into goals if they are to become contenders in this most competitive of leagues.  A trip to Sevenoaks awaits next Saturday.

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