Season looks promising for Purple army

ENGLAND HOCKEY MENS DIVISION ONE SOUTH: Oxford Hawks 0 Sevenoaks 4

Sevenoaks went away to Oxford on Saturday evening to face Oxford Hawks, who lay second bottom in National Division One South. In spite of their league position, Hawks has notched some impressive results, drawing with league leaders Oxted and notching an 8-1 win over Fareham, so Oaks could not afford to underestimate their opposition.

With Hawks boasting the second meanest defence, behind Sevenoaks themselves, Oaks knew that they would need to be patient but also that a fast start would help, and a fast start was exactly what they got when a turnover deep in the Oxford half saw Oaks work the ball to Ali Taylor, who slipped the ball to Sam George who struck a beautiful reverse stick effort into the bottom corner to make it 1-0 to Oaks after just seven minutes.

Oaks were well on top in the opening exchanges and probably should have extended their lead, but the last pass or finishing touch eluded them on a number of occasions. Their momentum was quelled for a short period when Taylor was harshly sin-binned just before quarter time. The second quarter was a little more even and Hawks forced a penalty corner, which was well kept out by the Oaks defensive unit. As half-time approached a penalty corner won by Ed Matts was converted by Andrew Ross to make the score 2-0 going into the interval.

After the break, Oaks played some good attacking hockey, but too often the final pass was loose or they were denied by some good defensive play by Hawks. It wasn’t until towards the end of the third quarter that they would extend their lead, when a strong run by Sam George ended with a loose ball in the D that was well finished by James Thomas to make it 3-0.

The goal of the game came early in the fourth quarter when a fine pass by Ross was collected by man of the match Ben Fox, who calmly carried into the D, and picked out Matts, who was able to convert first time at the near post to make it 4-0. Hawks has a penalty corner excellently cleared off the line by Fox, but beyond that the Oaks goal was rarely threatened, and the game finished 4-0 to Sevenoaks.

Oxted beat Canterbury to remain top of the table, but Oaks continue to put pressure on them, just two points behind, with a superior goal difference. Oaks play Brighton next weekend at Hollybush Lane in the last fixture before the Christmas and indoor hockey break.