Men’s 1st XI vs Oxford Hawks (Away) | 20 Feb 22

Won 2-0

Scorers: Bean, Taggart

MoM: Chris Rea

DoD: Ronan Taggart

Greeted in Oxford by some stinking weather, it was set to be a day of Play Your Cards Right than Strictly Come Dancing – either way, it was ‘Nice to see you, to see Eunice’ as we greeted another one from the Polo manufacturing line making their debut in Alex Laslett.

The first quarter got underway and with the wind against us, there was little in the way of flowing hockey to be had from both sides as neither team got going. An early penalty corner for Tom Bean was smartly saved but other than that, there was little to write home about.

In the second quarter, and gee’d by the wind on their backs, Oxford began to take a grip of the game, earning themselves a string of penalty corners which was defended finely by the CHC defence.

Chris Rea earned his second MOM in as many weeks for a plethora of saves to deny them. To Oxford frustrations, even when they did beat him, Mr Cool in Toby Vaughan was on hand to trap the ball on the baseline and wait for a second or two to asses his options, before deciding the best one was to skilfully dribble out to safety… stick it in the Louvre.

Half-time saw coach Bunyan cut a frustrated figure and after some strong words of encouragement, the team returned for a much improved second half.

From the outset, Craig Boyne took a grip of the game and messrs Bean, Coode, Gent and Degiovanni began to find some rhythm in midfield to apply some telling pressure on the Hawks defence.

The breakthrough goal eventually came when Josh Prebble, who’s growing confidence in the group has not been unnoticed after a few games in the team, created the width to receive the ball wide and deliver into the circle before falling to Ronan Taggart, who managed to take advantage of a melee in the circle and knock the ball over the keepers left shoulder.

Canterbury continued to make their superior league position tell as the half went on as more chances came and went before Bean was able to find the net again from a penalty corner and put the game to bed.

With a changed 14 and five fairly inexperienced youngsters in Ben Young, Josh Prebble, Dan Gent, Miles Coode and Alex Laslett all having an impact, the journey back down the M40 from a historically tough place to play was all the sweeter with 3 point in the back pocket.

With the news of Reading falling foul to Bath means they now only sit three points ahead of us and suddenly, things have got interesting!

See the next instalment of what set to be an exciting end to the season on Sunday afternoon at 2pm when Brighton visit Polo.

Squad: Chris Rea, Matt Carney, Ben Young, Toby Vaughan, Craig Boyne, Miles Coode, Thomas Degiovanni, Tom Bean, Dan Gent, Josh Prebble, Conor Annand, Ronan Taggart, Alex Laslett, Cal Brown-Lea