Sevenoaks Ladies finished undefeated and in 2nd place at the half-way stage of the Jaffa Super 6s Division 1 indoor hockey tournament.
Newly promoted into Division 1 this season, Sevenoaks got off to a good start in both their opening matches against Brooklands Poynton and Chelmsford to take the lead at half time. However, in both matches they weren’t able to maintain this lead as both matches ended in a draw 4-4 and 3-3 respectively.
Disappointed with only two points from the first two games, Sevenoaks went into game number three against Harleston Magpies knowing it was must-win. After an end-to-end first half finished 0-0 it was Sevenoaks who capitalised in the second half with 16-year-old Renée Ojikutu scoring on debut and Kate Reynolds following up with a neat reverse stick finish on the baseline to secure the 2-0 win.
The last game of the weekend against Beeston was a thriller. Both sides played at a fast pace and aimed to implement their attacking style of play. Beeston found the back of the net in just the first minute but Sevenoaks replied instantly with the next play of the game as captain Susie Rowe fired a long ball to Kate Reynolds on the post who deflected it into the goal to level the match. Minutes later Susie Rowe scored a goal of her own from a Penalty Corner to put Sevenoaks into the lead and then Sami Danckert found the net after a fine piece of team play to send Sevenoaks 3-1 up into half time. Beeston upped the tempo but Sevenoaks’ composure, alongside goalkeeper Dulcie Davies’ outstanding saves saw Sevenoaks the eventual 4-2 winners.
At this half-way stage of the tournament Sevenoaks sit in 2nd place and will be looking for a similar performance over the weekend of 13/14 January when they will face top of the table Buckingham, as well as tough games against University of Birmingham, Surbiton and also St Albans.
Different story for Mens XI
Sevenoaks Mens were relegated from the indoor Premier League after a very disappointing second weekend in the Jaffa Super 6s. After only gaining 4 points from a possible 12 in the opening weekend, Oaks were looking to gain at least 9 points from 12 this weekend to stand a chance of finals day qualification, a feat they have achieved in each of the last 3 seasons. However, it was not to be and they could only manage one win, one draw and two defeats, and their tally of eight points overall saw them finish in the bottom two and they will be playing in Division One next season.
In the opening game of the weekend against Brooklands, Oaks got off to a slow start conceding two early goals and trailed 2-0 at half time. Three quick goals put the Oaks 3-2 up 10 minutes to play. Brooklands levelled up the scores at 3-3 but a last minute goal by Jack Turner saw Oaks snatch the 4-3 win.
Oaks made a strong start against Reading in their second match with Harry Jawanda giving them a 1-0 lead. However, two goals from Reading made it 2-1 before another from the Oaks meant the sides were locked at 2-2 at the interval. In a tight second half Oaks saw the Reading keeper make a number of saves and two quick goals gave Reading a 4-2 lead. Despite piling on the pressure, they couldn’t breakthrough until the last play of the game when Jawanda got his second of the game to make it 4-3.
The second day saw Sevenoaks face eventual league winners Wimbledon, and a sluggish start saw Oaks trail 3-0 at half time. Midway through the second half Wimbledon added a fourth killing any hope of an Oaks comeback. In spite of this Oaks fought until the end and did pull two goals back through Andy Whalley and Chris Barker to make it 4-2 but a last minute Wimbledon goal made the final score 5-2.
Next up Bath, and Oaks needing three points to guarantee Premier League status. Bath took the lead and it remained 1-0 until the break and then extended their lead to 2-0 before David Smith pulled a goal back, before a quick-fire double from Duncan Parnis and Torry put Oaks 3-2. Bath got an immediate equaliser to make it 3-3. Oaks knowing that a point would leave safety out of their hands pushed forwards and Smith scored what looked to be the winner with three minutes remaining, but Bath somehow found a last gasp equaliser to level things up at 4-4 with no time remaining. This meant that Oaks would have to rely on other results.
Brooklands managed a draw and a win to draw level with Oaks on 8 points but a better goal difference saw Sevenoaks relegated. This will be a huge blow to Oaks who were looking for a positive indoor campaign to send them back into the outdoor season with some much-needed confidence.