HOCKEY: Witney draw after letting it slip

The Oxford Times: Witney captain Katie Gatt fires in a fierce shot at goal against Banbury Witney captain Katie Gatt fires in a fierce shot at goal against Banbury

Witney gained a hard-fought point from a 3-3 draw at home to Banbury to go second in the South Ladies Hockey League 3A.

However, the hosts were left to rue losing a 3-1 half-time lead.

Banbury started the game at pace, creating several chances and taking the lead through Vicki Coombs with a well-worked penalty corner.

The goal sparked Witney into action and they began to attack with purpose creating several chances of their own.

The pressure paid off as Marie Vincent and Amy Williams combined to drive down the left and cross for Hayley Dobson to spin neatly and lob the oncoming keeper.

Moments later, Charlotte Manning made an excellent run down the right wing cutting the ball back for Izzy Hayes to draw out the keeper and tuck the ball home to put Witney ahead.

The hosts had the momentum and a stunning strike by captain Katie Gatt from outside the 23 forced an error from the defence and the mis-trapped ball crossed the line for 3-1.

After the break, Banbury fought back, winning a succession of short corners.

Finally a fierce strike from Tash Nunneley found the bottom corner and the visitors were back in the game. They maintained their pressure and eventually forced a penalty flick which Coombs dispatched cleanly to level.

Banbury kept up their momentum to the end but a combination of strong defending and driving runs from the home side saw the game end in a draw.

Oxford Hawks 2nd are still five points clear at the top, despite drawing 2-2 away to PHC Chiswick.

Both Hawks goals were scored by Claire Werlinger.

Oxford eased their worries at the bottom of Division 2 with a 2-1 at home to Surbiton 2nd thanks to strikes from Sally Whyte and Catherine Reaney.

Oxford Hawks’ Investec Conference West game away to Buckingham had to be postponed after Friday night’s storms resulted in trees blown over onto the pitch.

OTHER LADIES' RESULTS

Oxford Hawks 3rd 2 (P FitzGerald 2), Reading 2A 1; Oxford Hawks 4th 0, Oxford 5th 1 (C Thom); Oxford Hawks 5th 6 (A Bedford 2, L Hiner, O Strickland, G McErlain, S Tohi), Reading 4th 0; Hampstead & Westminster 3rd 2, Oxford 2nd 0; Oxford 3rd 5 (S Williams 2, L Baker 2, M Banton), Banbury 2nd 0; Oxford 4th 0, Newbury & Thatcham 5; Oxford Hawks Masters 0, Basing-stoke Masters 5; Oxford Hawks Under 16A 12, Oxford Under 16 1; Cirencester Under 14 0, Oxford Under 14 1 (A Nawn).

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