Sevenoaks’ excellence keeps them in title hunt

Investec Womens Hockey League Conference East: Sevenoaks 1 Hampstead & Westminster 1

An excellent Conference clash saw a 1-1 draw at Hollybush between Sevenoaks and last year’s league winners Hampstead. This keeps Sevenoaks in a firm second place in the league, the season looking ever more interesting as the weeks progress.

A flaming hot start from the home side look set to overwhelm Hampstead, Sevenoaks relentless in their attacking play, flawlessly keeping the visitors from getting a foothold in the game. This eventually reaped rewards, Oaks winning a corner via Susie Rowe, a re-award led to Nikki Kidd slamming the ball into the back of the goal. Fortunately Nikki is a recent graduate of the Susie Rowe School of Celebrating and she pulled out all the stops with a crowd favourite- the squat inspired, fist to the air, celebration.

However, Hampstead fought back, eventually winning a corner which they managed to convert. Oaks didn’t let that turn the tides on control of the game however, and they continued to play fluidly and with confidence, much to the crowd’s delight.

The work rate in the midfield was next level, Sophie Crosley played an absolutely storming 70 minutes, her fierce pace saw her stop a definite goal after her tracking back interference rumbled the Hampstead forward’s clear shot on target.

Lily Elliot and Susie Rowe were defensive titans in the middle, blocking out and slowing down every Hampstead attack. The forwards were looking electric, a fantastic lifted ball into the D which Maddie Thompson at full reach hit at goal, only to be denied by the keeper. This positive momentum carried Oaks further, Katy Warrington found herself at the top of the D with time and space after some excellent play by the team in purple, another strike denied entry by their goalie.

Half time arrived, the team feeling positive. The next half Oaks looked even sharper, their defensive organisation looking fantastic, all spearheaded by the Savills’ Magic Moment winner Dulcie Davies, whose ridiculous saves earnt her this week’s accolade.

Hampstead started to get irritated, many greens and a yellow later reflected their general sense of frustration at playing the team in purple. Oaks denied H&W the ability to enjoy the style of play the London side have been able to entertain so far this season whilst playing teams further down the table.

The second half rumbled on, Hampstead celebrating a disallowed corner close to the closing minutes of the game, something that was booed and then cheered by the crowd. A closely fought battle and one that both sides will be looking forward to in the return visit in the latter half of the season.

Next week Sevenoaks take on old rivals Wimbledon in South West London, a big game and one that will hopefully draw in a big spectatorship with the Mens 1s playing afterwards and the promise of a large social afterwards.