Premier life is proving a tough task for Sevenoaks Men’s first XI

By Tim Warrington

Sevenoaks Hockey Club men’s first XI succumbed to a 3-1 defeat away to league leaders Beeston on Sunday, in a game they will feel they should have been able to get more out of. Their hosts were missing five star players due to international duty, so there couldn’t have been a better time to face the Nottingham club.

The sides played out a fairly even opening to the game, with both sides enjoying possession, but it was Oaks who should have taken the lead when a good attack from the right hand side ended with the ball falling to Tom Chandler in the D, and his shot across goal rebounded off the inside of the post and away to safety.

Beeston were threatening at the other end and saw a deflected goal chalked off as the ball had not travelled five yards before being played into the D. Shortly after, Beeston were awarded a penalty corner and the initial effort was broken down but a second corner was awarded and this time the flicker found the bottom left corner to make it 1-0. That was how the score remained until the half time break.

After the interval, Beeston doubled their lead after five minutes when another penalty corner was awarded. This time the flick went to the right hand side and despite a valiant effort from the defender on the post, the ball crept over the line to make it 2-0.

Oaks kept working hard but found outcomes hard to come by and they struggled to create opportunities to work the Beeston keeper.

Some good saves by debutant Henry Emmett in the Oaks goal prevented Beeston from extending their lead further, whilst a couple of soft green cards for the Barker twins derailed any momentum Oaks were building up, and with just over 10 minutes remaining, a scrappy goal from a rebound saw the home side extend their lead to 3-0.

A yellow card for Tom Moore with ten minutes left on the clock meant that any chance of a comeback was hampered, but Oaks battled to the end and finally won a penalty corner of their own with a minute remaining. A slick move saw Ali Taylor convert to make the final score 3-1.

With Canterbury losing 6-0 away to Brooklands, the situation remains the same at the foot of the table with Canterbury occupying the automatic relegation spot on 4 points, with Oaks just above them in 9th place on 5 points, in the relegation play-off spot. With three games remaining, and Brooklands pulling further clear, the best Oaks can hope for is to secure 9th spot and take their chances in the playoffs.

Next weekend they face a home double header with Wimbledon visiting Hollybush Lane on Saturday (1.30pm) and Hampstead & Westminster on Sunday (2pm). All support would be greatly appreciated.

Girls under-16 National success
Meanwhile, Sevenoaks Hockey Club’s Girls under-16’s progressed through to the National finals of the England Hockey Junior Championships. They beat Spencer HC 2-1 on Sunday in their final Tier 1 match, finishing top of the South Pool B. The finals will be hedl in April in Nottingham.

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