In preparation for the start of the league next week Hawks ladies 3s took part in a triangular against Oxford Hockey Club 3s and 4s. The matches were played over two halves of 20 minutes. However with consecutive matches for Hawks it felt more like one match played over four 20 minute quarters.
The first 20 minutes went by in a flash and were largely uneventful as both teams seemed to be finding their feet. For Hawks there have been many changes in the team since last season, most notably Sophie Bennett, Sally Clark and Laura Scragg joining us from the 4s. As this was the first time many of the team have played together the focus to begin with was getting used to those playing around us.
Going in to the second quarter the team was looking more settled and we began building the pressure. Some excellent defending from sweeper Harriet Godwin kept things tight at the back and allowed the midfield to surge forward. The result of the forward momentum was a drive to the back line from Rebecca Black who sent the ball across the face of goal, unfortunately the ball eluded Helen Robey who was in a perfect position on the penalty spot. Sustained pressure led to a short corner which was narrowly missed on the left post by Emma Cragg.
At the half-way point the score remained 0-0 but Hawks had definitely had the better chances. In the third quarter the pace of the match intensified. Oxford Hockey had the majority of the possession and threatened from the midfield. Some solid defending and a couple of strong saves from Alex Cherry in goal kept the score level.
It was in the final quarter that the excitement happened. Some poor marking early on from the Hawks defence gave Oxford the lead. The response to this was an all-out attack as we were determined our hard work would not go to waste. This led to a succession of short corners. Once again it was skipper Emma Cragg on the post who the ball fell to and this time she was able to put it over the line after a scramble in front of goal. In doing so however the whistle had been blown for a penalty flick and so the equaliser was not counted. Emma stepped up for the flick but was unable to convert. The score remained 1-0 and the win went to Oxford Hockey.