The call from our captain was for an early meet of 9:15 for the 10am push back so with 16 on this week’s team sheet we soon packed out the changing room to listen to the team positions and targets (5 shorts and 2 goals before half-time) for our home game against Marlow 3s. Sophie Bennett led the warm-up and despite the lack of practise balls we were ready to face a determined Marlow side. From the first whistle Hawks put pressure on the Marlow defence with strong complementary leads from the forwards Zoe, Sandra, Linda, Sophie B and Beth. However the Marlow defence was up for the challenge and kept the ball out of their goal and pushed forward earning themselves a short corner. Alex saved the initial strike but with the Hawks defence unable to clear the ball out of the D, the follow-up shot went goal ward bound and Marlow had the first goal. Going a goal down seemed to be just the spur that Hawks needed to drive forward with some great interlinking play between Catherine, Sophies (D and T) and Nicky. It wasn’t long before a strong hit out of defence by Jane Holmes was picked up by Sandra who crossed the ball into the D where Zoe’s strike was soon hitting the back-board to make the score line 1-1.
A period of sustained Hawks pressure then led to a series of 5 short corners which sadly couldn’t be converted but soon Sophie B’s determination to get on the score-sheet was rewarded as one of her several runs into the D saw the Marlow defence falter and Hawks were 2-1 up. Then with the rain starting to fall the thought of a dry dugout beckoning for half-time saw a lapse in concentration in the Hawks defence of Jane C, Becky, Phil, Emma and Vicky and Marlow seized the opportunity to level the score just as the half-time whistle blew.
As soon as the 2nd half started Hawks began to dominate play with some great passes across the pitch using Catherine as the pivot point. Beth was working hard and created some great opportunities including seeing the ball go through the GK’s legs but past the far post. Then Zoe came off the subs bench and almost immediately crossed the ball into the D where Nicky was waiting to direct the ball easily past the Marlow GK. Shortly after a diving Sophie B connected with another cross for Hawks’ 4th goal and her 2nd of the game. Defensively Hawks were working well together with some strong tackles from both Janes (H and C), Emma, Vicky and Becky keeping the Marlow attacks out of the D. Catherine, who throughout the game had been showing her gymnastics skills, even resorted to taking the ball on the mouth to prevent Marlow from scoring – a nasty shock for her but with no blood or damage in sight, she played on. Then with just 10minutes to go Marlow scored again and were soon putting the Hawks defence back under pressure trying to get the equalising goal. Despite Phil’s mistackle – well it had been raining and her stick was slippery – Marlow were denied any more goal-scoring opportunities. The final whistle was blown just as Hawks had been awarded another short corner but no change in the score-line resulted. All in all it was an enjoyable close-fought victory with great umpiring that saw Hawks 4s sitting top of the league table for a few hours at least…..