Despite slipping to their ninth straight South Clubs Women’s Hockey League defeat, there were plenty of positives for Banbury.
Eastcote ran out 5-1 winners in Saturday’s division three fixture but Banbury’s performance, especially in the second half, was one of their most encouraging so far.
Eastcote struck three times in quick succession with Catherine Ashton scoring twice and Katy Gomes getting the other goal. It could have been worse after a defence-splitting pass left two Eastcote forwards sweeping towards the Banbury goal but Jackie Cunningham forced the shot away.
Banbury responded well and almost pulled one back just before halftime but Kristina Bull’s excellent ball into the D did not quite find the conversion that it merited.
Eastcote’s purple-patch aside, Banbury matched their opponents for long periods of the contest and the second period was an evenly-matched affair. Lucy Lavers made it 4-1 but as the game wore on, Eastcote started contesting the umpires’ decisions, resulting in two green cards.
Banbury produced both some heroic defending and some excellent surges into Eastcote territory, in which Maddy Hunt, Jenny Marsh and Vicky Warlow all featured prominently.
Warlow’s goal, coming from a short corner created by one of Hunt’s powerful runs, was no more than Banbury deserved. But Eastcote responded with a well-taken goal with Gomes grabbing her second of the game to round off the scoring.