Sevenoaks Hockey Club Men’s Indoor team competed in four games over the weekend in week one of the top Indoor Hockey league finishing in second place on goal difference to Hampstead & Westminster after winning all four of their games.
Sevenoaks had a small squad of just nine players. They started on Saturday morning apprehensively against last year’s finalists, Bath Buccaneers. In a very close tense game goals from Oaks two External Players Rufus McNaught-Barrington (4) and Joe Naughalty (1) saw them come out 5-3 winners. McNaught-Barrington scored three Penalty Corners and one Penalty stroke. The gritty performance coming back from 1-3 down set the tone for the weekend. The squad played with passion and flare in front of the travelling Oaks supporters and remained positive throughout.
Stand In Coach and Captain Chris Barker with 14 years’ Indoor experience played a solid controlling role at the back throughout and proved an effective Leader over the weekend as well as surprising many with his newly found Coaching talent. Supported in the back line by his equally experienced twin Brother Nick Barker and new recruit this season Craig Morton who added a new dimension to the team on and off the field, they all proved an effective platform to start numerous attacks.
Perhaps the difference this year from last (when Oaks just escaped relegation) was the new-found fire power upfront from our two guest players and back-in-form Oaks Ex England Junior George Torry and the ever reliable newly-wed David Smith.
Goalkeeper Richard Potton whose cabinet is already full of Indoor European medals, had an outstanding weekend and was especially effective defending penalty corners. The final squad member was Sam Ashenden with his debut for Oaks Indoor and gave a solid and effective performance.
In the second game on Saturday against Kent Rivals Holcombe Oaks came out 5-4 winners with a goal in the last minute from Joe Naughalty. He got a further 2 goals, with others from David Smith and Nick Barker.
On Sunday Oaks started against other Kent Rival Canterbury snatching another close victory 4-3 after going 0-2 down. Oaks never showed any nerves when going behind and remained calm to come back to victory. 2 further goals from Naughalty, with others from Smith and Torry.
In the final game on Sunday afternoon Oaks confidence from 3 previous wins shone through and they played some sensational indoor hockey to demolish Brooklands MU from Manchester 7-2. Goals this time from Naughalty (2), McNaught-Barrington (2), Torry (2) and Smith sealed 4 victories and the maximum 12 points to take into week 2.
It was a superb team performance from the Oaks squad with every player contributing and the camaraderie within the squad was heartening. So much so that to pick out the Oaks player of the Tournament would always be difficult. However Nick Barker at the heart of the defence offered a near faultless performance and remained on the pitch for virtually all the games as well as offering several assists with his sublime stick work down the right flank.
Week two of the Indoor tournament is on the 5th & 6th January when Oaks face the ‘big guns’ of English Hockey with games against East Grinstead, Surbiton, Hampstead & Westminster and Wimbledon.