Team: Nat, Debs S, Debs O, Emma B, Sam, Elle, Michelle, Tiff, Liv, Anna, Caity, Charlotte, Nicole, Claudia, Annie, Melinda
After finishing an impressive first in the “northern” Rosebowl League, now was the time to step up our game and play off against Clapham and Blues for the overall title of “Rosebowl Winners 2012”. Metal was definitely on our minds.
Thankfully the weather was somewhat kinder than our last trip out to Blues and the mood in the Hawks camp was confident after beating Clapham the week before and discovering that Blues were struggling to even get 12 players to start the match.
Hawks v. Blues
Our first game was against Blues, winners of the southern Rosebowl League. Games against Blues are often hotly contested and a close call but today proved somewhat different with Hawks going3 goals up very quickly and the ball not even venturing into our defensive end. Hawks successfully won most of the draws thanks to Tiff, Michelle and Liv and our speed and accuracy into our attack left Blues standing. Claud was on fire as straight attack and the goals just kept coming giving us a half time score of 7- 0.
Blues did step up the pressure in the second half, opting to keep an extra player in defence but the damage was already done and Hawks were never under any real pressure in defence resulting in an impressive clean sheet.
Hawks 10 - 0 Blues
Claudia (7), Tiff (2), Nic (1)
Hawks v. Clapham
With only 10 minutes to recover we then faced Clapham. Before hitting the pitch we already knew that we faced a far stronger team than the previous week. Clapham had a slight advantage in having fresh legs and also having watched our first game. As a result they had some strategies in place from the start to restrain our most dangerous players.
Clapham came out strong from the first draw. They had 3 successive fast breaks that left us facing a 2 on 1 situation – very little that could be done by the remaining defence except take the ball carrier, leaving a free player by goal. Strong accurate shots meant Nat was powerless to do anything.
At the other end of the pitch Clapham were putting a lot of pressure on our attack, double and triple teaming the ball carrier and man marking key players out of the game. Shots were often rushed and straight at the goalie – Clapham had got us rattled.
Time for a “time out” – a good team talk with some clear strategy to put more pressure on Clapham in the mid field helped Hawks claw back a couple of goals but the half time score saw Clapham leading by 4 goals, 6-2.
The half time break gave us time to re-group. We are often a second half team but never was it as important as it was today. We knew we could play better and support each other more and we only had 15 minutes to play our socks off.
The second half was a complete turnaround. Clapham were struggling to penetrate our defence, lots of slides and turnovers not to mention some great saves by Nat. This gave us the opportunity for the fast break and this time we were converting our shots and closing the gap on Clapham. With 5 minutes to go, Clapham were still leading 8-6 and the pressure was intense. Clapham called a timeout and were clearly going to play a holding game to secure the win. Our only option was to get straight on the ball carrier and up the pressure hugely.
We turned the ball over almost immediately in defence and an impressive fast break by Michelle gave us another goal with 2 minutes to go to try and equalise. The Hawks girls put everything they had into the final seconds of the match. Another impressive defensive turnover saw the newly wed Mrs Stacey take off again down the pitch drawing out the Clapham defence and feeding off for our final shot. We were literally holding our breath in the defence end as we willed a last second goal. Sadly it was saved leaving Clapham winners, 8-7 when the final whistle went.
It was a fantastic second half that was won easily by Hawks, 5-2 and with a slightly longer game we would surely have come out victors. If only we had played at the same intensity all game, the metal would have been ours. Instead Clapham came out overall winners as they subsequently beat Blues in the final match.
Despite not winning, this was a great team performance and season in the Rosebowl league so well done to all those that have played and contributed to our wins.
Clapham 8 - 7 Hawks
Claudia (3), Charlotte (1), Michelle (1), Annie (1), Nic (1)