Excitement was certainly in the air as Sevenoaks Hockey Club U18s prepared to welcome ISCA Hockey Cub after their four hour journey from Exeter for their England Hockey Tier 2 Semi-Final. It was the first big game played at Hollybush since lockdown, and players, coaches, supporters and Oaksy the Mascot were all more than ready for a return to hockey!
It took the first half for each team to attempt to out-smart each other with several shots on goal by both teams being denied – but with Sevenoaks certainly having the best chances. Excellent goalkeeping and solid defences meant the score at half time remained at 0-0.
Both teams had all to play for as the whistle blew for the second half and Oaks went out with determination. It took just seven minutes into the second half before ISCA broke through the Oaks defence and managed to slot one home.
Still plenty of time for Oaks to make their mark and only five minutes after conceding, Oaks executed precision passing to allow Amber Buggins to collect the ball within the D to then dance past their defence to equalise.
Along with many Oaks supporters including the club mascot, Oaksy, it became a hard game to watch as goals were denied. The score remained 1-1 and with only three minutes left on the clock, and a penalty shoot-out looking very likely, ISCA found their opening to take the lead just as the heavens opened up over Hollybush.
Despite the limited time remaining, the Oaks girls mustered all their energy for a final push. Oaks were awarded a short corner on the final whistle with all purple shirts circling the D but it was not meant to be. Whilst the final score was 2-1 to ISCA the Sevenoaks girls played a very strong game which could easily have had a different end result. The players all did their club proud and can treasure the social distancing team photo to remember their last game of the 2019/20 season as an U18 Sevenoaks hockey player.
• Meanwhile, the Girls U16s Tier 1 National Finals which had been re-scheduled for September 5th, have unfortunately been cancelled. Here’s hoping the 2020/21 season will see a full fruitful season of hockey.