OXFORD Hawks gave unbeaten leaders Oxford University a run for their money in Saturday’s South League Premier Division 1 local derby at Iffley Road before succumbing 2-1.
Hawks’ tactics were to defend and try and hit the students on the break, so the Dark Blues enjoyed most of the first-half possession. Fine saves by keeper Phil Hargraves and a goalline clearance from Jack Biggs kept it goalless at the interval.
The second half followed the same pattern, with the students threatening but Hawks holding firm. However, the home side’s pressure eventually paid off when they netted from close range. Hawks were not behind for long. Charlie Ellison slapped a free-hit into the D to find Sam Chilvers, whose shot was saved, but James Ward was on hand to net the rebound. With five minutes left, the students snatched a second from a short corner, prompting Hawks to put an extra man up front. The gamble nearly paid off, Ted Bennett having a shot saved in the dying seconds.
Oxford restarted their MBBO Regional Division 1 campaign with a 2-2 draw against Staines 2nd.
Staines went ahead with Oxford down to ten men after Ben Richards was yellow-carded, and a deflection gave them a second.
A much-improved second-half performance saw Oxford’s pressure pay off, with Matt McKeown converting a short corner to make it 2-1. Two minutes from time, Dan Pilbeam’s effort rebounded off the keeper for Dan Bleach to poke home the equaliser.
Witney travelled to Slough to play basement club South Bucks and came away with all three MBB&O Regional Division 2 points after a 3-2 win.
Captain Tim Hardy led from the front, scoring all three goals to leave Witney just one point behind this week’s opponents Maidenhead.
Bicester got the second half of their season off to a flier with a 4-3 win at fellow promotion challengers Wokingham in MBB&O Division 1.
Jonny Reid and Adam Drewitt put them 2-0 up at half-time before Wokingham pulled one back. Reid restored Bicester’s two-goal cushion, but Wokingham made it 3-3 before Adam Buxey grabbed the winner.
MBBO Regional Div 1: Oxford Hawks 2nd 8, Sonning 1. MBBO Regional Div 2: Oxford 2nd 2 (J Craven, A Small), West Hampstead 2nd 3.
MBBO Div 1: Oxford 3rd 0, British Airways 2. Div 2: Oxford Hawks 3rd 5 (S Dawson 2, T Turland 2, N Gallacher), W Hampstead 0. Div 3: Oxford 4th 2 (O Dale, K Onishi), Oxford 5th 3; Oxford 5th 3 (S Pritchard, D Rawstorne, K Sims), Oxford 4th 2.
Div 4: Witney 2nd 7 (H Collins 2, R Dyer, T Yallop, N Vigar, M Godwin, og), South Bucks 0. MBBO Open Div 6: Oxford 6th 2 (D Kingsland) 2, Newbury & Thatcham 3rd 1; Oxford 7th 3 (M Neville 2, G Cadman), Ashford 3rd 0.
Div 8: Witney 4th 0, Wycombe 6th 2.
Div 9: Oxford 8th 5 (J Fisher 2, M Daplyn 2, T Joyner), PHC Chiswick 6th 2; Oxford Ham-sters 3 (K Walker 2, J Jones), Harrow 2nd 0.
Wessex Masters League Div 1: Oxford Bulls 2 (M Hunter, A Fry), Havant Vets 13.
Oxford Hawks 4th 5 (P Bennett 2, R Finnegan 2, R Mynheer), Eastcote 5th 0; Oxford Hawks 5th 3 (H Brannan 2, T Webster), Wallingford 4th 1; Oxford Hawks 6th 6 (S Smith 4, P Scragg, B Arkwright), Wallingford 5th 0; Oxford Hawks Senators 2 (J Finlayson 2), Oxted Moonshiners 2; Oxford Hawks Falcons 2 (S Griffiths 2), Wokingham Vets 1; Bicester 2nd 0, Marlow 2nd 4; Phoenix & Ranelagh 3rd 3, Bicester 3rd 3; Bicester 4th 4 (J Winspear 3, G Cox), Abingdon 1; Wycombe 5th 1, Witney 3rd 3 (P Button 2, R Fitz-John).