After losing their 2nd game of the season in their previous game, Hawks were fired up for the local derby away to Oxford 1s who had been on a poor run since the Christmas break. Hawks came out of the blocks quickly and set about pressurising the Oxford defence at speed, almost leading to the opening goal within the first couple of minutes as Paynter's strong cross was glanced wide at the far post by Buckingham.
The away side didn't have long to wait for the opening goal - Hawks won a short corner, from which Burden's flick was half saved by the Oxford goalkeeper and bobbled narrowly over the line. A few minutes later Hawks doubled their lead when the ball was crossed in from the right of the D, tipped towards goal by Clark, and finally finding the back of the goal via Paynter's "knee of God".
With Hawks playing some fantastic free-flowing hockey going forward, and giving nothing away in defence, the league leaders looked like they were going to score every time they approached the Oxford goal. There could be no appeals from the Oxford defence when Hawks got their third of the day. Following a speedy attack, the ball came to Clark near the top of the D who passed the ball to Buckingham who finished first-time in nonchalant fashion past the Oxford goalkeeper.
There was still time for Hawks to score their fourth before half time as Craig collected the ball on the top of the Oxford D and fired a menacing shot past the goalkeeper to give Hawks a 4-0 lead at the break.
Oxford came out with more conviction in the second half, which meant a short delay before Hawks got their fifth goal. And there was no question about the legitimacy of Paynter's second of the afternoon as he batted in a mid-air cross to score. Paynter then went from scorer to provider with a fantastic ball into the D, which was deflected into the goal by Clark on his reverse stick past the flailing goalkeeper to put Hawks 6-0 up.
Hawks kept attacking to the end, and scored a seventh as Burden smashed a pass into the D to pick out Buckingham who deflected the ball into the corner of the goal to seal a 7-0 victory. Well deserved Man of the Match Gilbert tormented the Oxford forwards and midfield throughout the game when on the ball, and looked dominant when defending with his back to goal, in his most accomplished game in a Hawks shirt so far.
Hawks now go into the final three games of the season with a 4 point lead, and in the knowledge that mathematically they only need to defeat 2nd placed Eastcote in the final game of the season to secure the league title, although they will certainly be hoping to be crowned champions before that game even takes place. The 2s will look to replicate this performance against Oxford when they face 3rd place Henley 1s this Saturday in their last home game of the season - a midday push back at BRN.