With Thames Valley Police forced to implement traffic control on the A34 for one the larger crowds seen at BRN the key game of the season so far, Hawks M6s v Thame 2nd XI took to their arena. A top of the table clash in Division 9 – a titanic encounter which lived up to all expectations. One of those days when members of the crowd will be proud to say “I was there”.
Crash, bang, wallop like two heavyweight gladiators these two fine teams went at each other straight from the first whistle. Hawks were probably first to gain a little early ascendancy. Giles Oldershaw on the right wing finding space. He worked nice triangles with Dodd, Henman and Smith creating a few half chances for Best and Black. But the Thame #2 and G/K stood firm.
Crash, bang, wallop the pendulum swung and Thame had chances. New boy between the sticks Matthew Tansini saved well on three or four occasions and Hawks 6th XI realised they were in for the toughest game of their short history. Wave after wave of Thame attacks were beached by the combined force of Oldershaw (Rob), Chambers , Dunn and Wells and the eventual MOM Tansini.
Crash, bang, wallop the game went end to end. Henman ran amok upfront , Bailey injected pace on the wing, Harry Best intelligently worked the angles and John Black Snr created a feisty intensity appropriate to the atmosphere.
Crash, bang, wallop Tansisi produced his best save of the day. Hawks broke, Dodd charged at Thame . Then crucially Best and Bailey linked to win a short corner. The tension notched up a level. Black injected to Smith, the ball was goal bound but then a Thame foot interjected. PENALTYYYYYYYY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! screamed the Cutteslowe End. The umpire was unsighted but helped by his colleague the right decision was reached. A Man U like gaggle around the umpire ensued but the decision stood. Through a 10 minute delay Henman remained cool, so, so cool. More protests, more shenanigans but Henman remained cool, ice cool. Eventually calm was restored, the crowd drew its breath. Oxford stood still. Time stood still. Henman stood cool, ice cool. A whistle. A swallow dive from the keeper. A flick of the wrists and Henman triumphed. 1-0 Hawks.
Crash, bang, wallop Thame responded, Thame pushed harder still. Hawks stood firmer.
Half time Hawks 1-0 up.
Crash, bang, wallop the second half was like the first. End to end. Toe to toe the gladiators fought. Crash, bang, wallop the titans clashed. Then potentially it all went wrong for Hawks. Smith their potential match winner went to the sin bin. Hawks were forced to rearrange and play on the counter attack. But then the masterstroke John Black Junior was introduced to the game. He may not have been largest player on the pitch but WOW did he make the difference. Guile and skill more than compensated for muscle and brawn. Hawks built the pressure and created the best chances of the game.
Crash, bang, wallop Smith came back from the sin bin. Took the pass in the Thame 25, beat one, beat two, beat three switched it to the strong side and found the right hand corner .......... Gooooaaaaallllllllllllllllllll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Cuttleslow End erupted. Hawks celebrated. Oxford celebrated. Hawks 2 Thame 0. The battle was won ................. or was it?
Crash, bang, wallop Thame didnt give up and came back strong but with the Oldershaws at the back and Roger Dunn and Dave Wells again stepping up to the plate Hawks remained resolute.
Full time Hawks 2 Thame 0. A great game, a great experience and a tremendous performance particularly from the 5 Hawks colts who showed great spirit and toed the line against the mighty Thame warriors. Well done George Chambers, Harry Best, John Black jnr, Giles Oldershaw and Dan Bailey.
Hawks 6s remain top their league and take a deserved break next week. Next up in an all ticket affair v Oxford at BRN on 30 November. The seats are selling fast – don’t miss out - reserve your ticket now.Many thanks to umpires Chris Price and Jamie Clark and to Thame hockey club for a great match. We look forward to the return fixture next March. #stilltopoftheleague.