Hawks U12 boys in the In2 Hockey National Finals
It had it all……
A draw was not enough…
The crowd hardly daring to watch…
The coach grimacing on the touchline…
And then a goal in ‘Fergie Time’.
Not Man City v QPR but Hawks U12 v Avalon…..was it a last minute goal (or was it a foot assisted?) that prevented Hawks from getting into the Finals……I am not going to debate this further but instead lets focus on the facts that there is no debate about….
Oxford Hawks Boys U12 A Team 2011/12
Average Age @ May 2012 …..12.25 years
Youngest players…Two players still only 11½ yrs
Winners Rover Tournament/ County Champions / South Regional Champions/
3rd Place National Finalists…..UNBEATEN in 2012.
To have achieved this much is amazing and the experience gained will undoubtedly stand the players in good stead for future competitions.
So back to the day which was as eventful as Sunday’s football……
Game 1 was against a physically bigger side from Airedale (North Champions). Both sides started nervously but Hawks scored in the 2nd half from a Ned Gordon short corner shot to win the game 1-0. Hawks imposed themselves well and were not to be intimidated by their opponents.
Game 2 was against Beeston (Midlands Runners Up), again looking much bigger than our chaps. A great game of hockey saw Beeston take the lead through and excellent open play goal. Kiran Patel levelled to 1-1 only for Beeston to counter with a short corner goal. Hawks then levelled the game to 2-2 through a great deflection goal off Harry Venables’ stick.
Game 3 v Old Loughtonians (East Runners Up) appeared to be the weak team in the group but Hawks seem to take their foot off the gas and found ourselves 0-1 down in the first half. Ed Wilkinson came to the rescue with a fine strike from just inside the right side of the D to get a 1-1 draw.
So we were now left to face Avalon (West Champions), in a must win game for Hawks to take top place in the group and get through to the Finals. Hawks took control of the game and were 2-0 by half time through 2 goals from Kiran Patel. A 3rd goal was disallowed as it appeared to come off a leg. Avalon dug deep and got a goal back to leave a nervous final minutes with a goal mouth scuffle where the ball crossed our line by what appeared to both players and spectators to be a foot. The umpire didn’t spot this and the game finished 2-2 with a distraught Hawks at the ‘foot of God’ incident.
Still we were now guaranteed 3rd or 4th place in our play off game against Harleston Magpies (East Champions). An exciting game saw two, now tired teams finish the game 0-0 leading to the dreaded Penalty Flick shoot out. Ned Gordon, Kiran Patel and Jake Taylor took up the challenge and both sides scored with all their shots despite some valiant attempts from Keeper Archie Spittles. Then came sudden death. Harleston went first and just managed to get another past Archie. Ned stepped upto the plate…..two steps…a flick to the bottom right corner…GOAL………..and the umpire consults with an official and blows fulltime awarding the game to Harleston…….Chaos ensues….confusion from both sides….Coaches baffled and now taking issue with officials to discover that the goal was disallowed as Ned was too far from the ball when he took his step to the flick…..Hawks coaches then remind official this rule doesn’t apply in Junior hockey and that all preceding flicks had been taken on the same basis……after 20 mins common sense prevailed and Hawks and Harleston agreed to share =3rd Place. Honour restored and happy faces all round……
It has taken me 2 days to recover from this and write this report (I hope my memory has served me right)……
Very special thanks must go to Lisa Scragg (and Chloe and Robbie) for assistant coach roll and Nick Gordon, also for assistant coach roll (and rule enforcer extraordinaire…). As one of the players said at the end ‘Nick should have a job as a peace keeper’….I think in this case it was more of an all out combat mission…..
Also thanks to Sue Clark for coming to support on behalf of the Club and especially all the fantastic parents and supporters.
Finally, the players who all played magnificently and the rest of the squad who took part in earlier games. Every single one played a very important part in this great season.
The team is……
Archie Spittles, Tommy Dawes, Charlie Stoker, Ed Wilkinson, Jake Taylor, Thomas Edmiston, Ned Gordon, Kiran Patel, Freddie Sunderland, Harry Venables
Other squad members included.....
Charlie Colebrooke, John Black, Alex Rayne