U14 Boys fight to finish as strong runners up in Rover Tournament
The U14 boys squad have succeeded in working successfully as a team in a huge range of configurations over the season, a credit to them all for the hard work and commitment to training and competitions this season. The Rover Tournament was no exception, being played in the school holidays at the end of long season in which a large proportion of the squad were taking well-earned family breaks.
12 boys appeared at Cokethorpe on a cold morning and started tentatively, drawing Milton Keynes but plying the majority of the game in the Milton Keynes half. Against Eastcote the passing game paid off; after scoring the boys settled down to hold the lead. The third game against Oxford B was a different challenge and the boys lacked self-confidence, despite having shown themselves to be skilful and effective when working together. Chances were missed and Oxford scored on a counter attack resulting in heads going down leaving the door open for Oxford to score again. Despite this loss Hawks were through to the semi-finals as second in the group.
The semi-final was a game in which the Hawks team really showed their spirit. The ball was moved around the pitch effectively and possession maintained for long periods in midfield, all that was missing was that elusive goal. Some good saves by the hawk’s keeper kept them in the game and resulted in lifting them further. In a breakaway move the ball was finally lifted into the goal over the Cheltenham keeper. One goal was all that was needed to see Hawks into the final against Oxford B.
The final was a re-match of the earlier pool match but the Hawks team came out fighting. Play went from end to end with neither side able to score for 13 minutes. The game was very equal with both sides playing some good hockey. Keepers at both ends were instrumental in keeping the ball from the goal. Then just when everyone thought it would be a penalty shootout Oxford scored a good team goal passing it round the Hawks defence. Despite a brave last 2 minutes and a further attacking opportunity Hawks were unable to get the goal back. Overall the performance was a credit to the team, showing that when they have the confidence to work together and play simple hockey they are a good team.