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HomeHOCKEYConvincing Oaks leapfrog Teddington to go top of the league

Convincing Oaks leapfrog Teddington to go top of the league

Sevenoaks welcomed top of the table Teddington to Hollybush Lane on Sunday knowing that a win would likely be enough to leap-frog their visitors into first place. Having had a slow start to the league campaign with a loss and a draw in their opening two games, Oaks had got themselves back into the mix with three consecutive victories.

After a bright start, with Oaks controlling the ball nicely, Teddington got themselves a foothold in the game when a hopeful ball into the D rebounded onto the foot of an Oaks defender, giving Teddington a penalty corner. The initial corner was well defended by Sevenoaks but the umpire curiously awarded a second penalty corner.

From this set piece Teddington took a 1-0 lead with a low drag-flick passed Richard Potton (sponsored by Martin Day) in the Oaks goal. Having not conceded for the three games previous to this, Oaks could have been rattled but they responded well and earned a penalty corner of their own, but Andrew Ross (sponsored by Felsted School) saw his effort charged down. Not long after Oaks won another penalty corner when Ian Haley was fouled amidst a goal-mouth scramble. This time Ross made no mistake firing past the visiting keeper to draw the teams level at 1-1 after 18 minutes.

After the quarter time break some uncharacteristically sloppy defending from Sevenoaks saw them fail to clear the ball on several occasions, and the ball broke loose to the far post where a free Teddington player was able to find the back of the net to make it 2-1 to the visitors. Once again, the Oaks response was good, and they began to control the tempo of the game, probing at the Teddington defence. In the 25th minute Oaks drew level again with a scrappy goal attributed to Chris Barker (sponsored by Stratega Law) to make it 2-2. With 10 minutes to go until half time, Oaks were very much on the front foot now, and just before half-time, a cross field aerial pass by Haley was intercepted by the retreating Teddington defender, but fell to Sam George, who pushed towards the far post where George Torry (sponsored by Torry Design) was there to deflect in to our Oaks 3-2 up heading into the half-time break.

The second half was more straightforward for Sevenoaks, who controlled the game well, and beyond one penalty corner for Teddington they limited their opportunities to the odd counter attack. Towards the end of the third quarter, a superb run by Nick Barker (sponsored by Stratega Law) ended with him laying the ball off the 18 year old Ben Fox (sponsored by Eastbourne College), who smartly picked out 17 year old Alex Thomson (sponsored by Bessels Green Osteopathic Practice) who finished for his first goal for the Men’s 1st XI, making the score 4-2.

It was particularly pleasing to see products of the Sevenoaks junior section combine to score a National League goal. With Teddington chasing the game in the fourth quarter, Oaks started to find some more space in attack, and Sam George was unlucky not to extend the lead when he went through one on one with the keeper but couldn’t apply the finishing touch. With just under 10 minutes remaining a fine piece of inter-play along the left baseline by Haley and Torry, saw Torry pass the ball to Sam George who was able to slot past the keeper to make it 5-2, and that was how the score remained at full time.

It was not the slickest of performances by Oaks but the work rate and determination showed by the team was exceptional typified by man of the match Andrew Ross, who broke up numerous Teddington attacks with well-timed tackles, as well as distributing the ball well from the back. The result puts Oaks top of the National Division One South on goal difference ahead of Southgate. Next week Sevenoaks travel to Oxted, who they drew 2-2 with earlier in the season, and have yet to be beaten, so it promises to be an exciting game.

 

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