The Oxfordshire Sports Club of the Year 2013 Men’s 6th XI welcomed fellow championship contenders Marlow Hockey Club to Fortress BRN on Saturday. Unfortunately for Marlow, four of their team were caught in traffic and whilst push back was delayed to allow for their arrival it did mean Hawks got off to the stronger start. Indeed it only took a few minutes for player of the season so far Will Smith to finish off a mazy run through Marlow’s defence with a short range effort. The opener was rapidly followed by two more goals to Hawks. A nice calm finish from Matt Dodd who went on to deservedly win the MOM nomination and one from Adrian Murdock who enjoyed was influential throughout.
However, then things went less well for Hawks. Either Marlow found their feet or Hawks took theirs off the gas. It doesn’t matter which the result was the game went through an even phase with Marlow winning 3 short corners two of which were given the treatment. Whilst Hawks short corner routine failed from a similar number of attempts.
Half time 3-2 to Hawks.
A right royal bollocking at half time put some steel into Hawks and the second half was much better with some terrific hockey played. One highlight of many was a cameo appearance from Roger Dunn returning from a business trip and immediately finding his range with some crisp hitting from left half finding Matt Dodd on his rampaging runs at centre forward. Watts, Smith and Murdock regained control of the midfield and with Matt Rogers increasingly influential at right half , Hawks held the ascendancy. Indeed it was a great run from Matt Rogers which caused the otherwise excellent Marlow keeper to slip and allow Charlie Stoker to finish with a diving deflection in only his second game of men’s hockey. Another great finish from George Chambers (celebrated with a green card) and an extraordinary deflection from Charlie Stoker meant that Hawks came away with a crucial 6-2 win.
Great credit to Marlow who battled hard and probably feel the score line didn’t properly reflect their play. Whilst probably true, Mungo Graham in goal for the second time wasn’t terribly busy in the second half albeit he dealt well with everything thrown at him. A solid debut performance from James Holder at sweeper is also worth a mention.
Many thanks also to umpires Paul Scragg and Geoff Paver who kept control of a game played in the right competitive spirit.
This result means that The Oxfordshire Sports Club of the Year 2013 Men’s 6th XI have gone through the whole of 2013 unbeaten. In 2013, their record is played 20, won 20, for 123 against 21. In 2013 over 50 players have played in the team with age ranges from 13 to 55+. In one game there were 4 pairs of Dad and sons playing. Many of who those who have played have been playing their first game for Hawks men and have now moved on through the club. The key is for the squad to now kick on and gain promotion for the second season running. Some stiff challenges lie ahead though.