It was Dales Cup semi-final day in the Wensleydale Creamery League with the top four teams in the league all hoping to make the final.
On a blissful day when the sun shone on the just and unjust alike, Hawes fell short once again in the Dales Cup while Richmond Mavericks remain on course for the treble, including a second consecutive Wensleydale League title.
Despite resembling Hawes B by wearing orange and black, the Mavs are in fact a good side and were too strong for Hawes, and too quick, even when they had only ten men.
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Hawes were good enough to beat the Mavs. But in this semi-final at Carperby, they played within themselves for much of the match.
Passes went astray and foolish fouls were conceded, playing into the Mavericks’ strength in the air.
For Hawes this was a cup final and sadly the end result felt the same as the 0-5 drubbing against Colburn Town in the 2015 Medals Shield final.
Like that shocking night in Northallerton, a great crowd from Hawes had come to watch.
Around 70 fans gathered around the dugouts. Another ten or so Hawes-supporting children had a game of their own on the sidelines.
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But they watched Mavs dominate early proceedings.
Lovell headed against the bar early on, while a quick corner from Coyles went to Emson who fired over.
On 20 minutes a Dan Johnson free kick and found Phil Stirling who headed over.
The chances for Mavs kept coming. A Coyles corner fell to Reuben Bainbridge whose looping header hit the bar.
Hawes also had a grea chance. A ball bobbled through the box to Champion, but the keeper saved from ten yards.
The first goal came when Emson, who was causing all kinds of problems for the Hawes defence burst up the line and crossed only for the ball to hit the hand of Sam Iveson sliding in.
Ian Smurthwaite smashed the resulting penalty into the top corner to make it 1-0.
But it was to be almost his last act in the game. Shortly afterwards Champion went into his and he gave the midfielder a slap, resulting in a red card.
Both teams agreed it was a harsh ending off.
The sending off should have benefited Hawes, but instead the confident Mavs made as if it was Hawes with ten men for the first half hour of the second half. They spurned genuinely good chances. The Mavs’ number 8, youth team leader Richie Bastow, had the best of them, skying a volley from a few yards out.
In the middle of their purple patch they scored. Craig Lovell centred on to the solid fringe of Emson following his prematch application of hairspray who buried the ball into the far corner. 2-0. Gutting for Hawes.
Then came the last 15 minutes, when Hawes really went for it. Andrew Fagg scored from the break-down after a free-kick. It was 2-1 with five minutes to go plus injury time.
Emson has chances to seal the win, beating four players from the half way line but his weak shot was saved by the keeper. He went through on goal again but shot well wide.
Hawes however suddenly looked as if they were playing downhill. There were several desperate six yard box clearances. The Mavs skipper Dan Johnson began to bark. The keeper got a yellow for playing for time. There’d have been only one winner had it gone to extra time. But the Mavs deservedly held on.
Hawes’s Anderw Fagg said: “Hawes had fired themselves up by telling themselves to leave the pitch with no regrets. Alas, every man in blue has regrets to nurse.
“But after an evening in which the sun has shone on beer tables and on fell tops alike, it all doesn’t seem so bad.”
The other Dales Cup semi, played in brilliant sunshine at Catterick Village, saw Colburn take on Catterick Garrison FC.
The game exploded into life after five minutes when Colburn’s Stuart Murray played a ball to Tom Sweeney, who beat keeper Tim Bishop to the ball and slotted it home.
Catterick also sprang into life, and an attempt from Luke McCormack clipped the post.
Then after 15 minutes the equalizer came when a ball over the top found Dan Deeney in space between Luke Hamilton and Adam Taylor and he slid it past Aaron Stoney to bring the scores level.
The first half continued end to end, with the sun posing problems for Colburn.
Craig Teasdale put in one teasing cross that no one could dispatch, but four mins before the interval, Sweeney played a ball across the box which Teasdale met with a sumptuous volley to give Colburn the lead.
There was just time for Craig Nisbet to head the ball off the line at the other end befoe the half time whistle went. The second half began with further pressure from Colburn. That goal just before the break seemed to have knocked the stuffing out of CGFC.
Some excellent build up play from Sweeney and Shane Parkinson led to Joe Woodall striking one over the bar.
Then a good run from Sweeney, put in by Nige Cole, led to a cross which Woodsall lobbed just too high.
Colburn subbed Nisbet for Callum Henney after 56 mins, then just on the hour, Colburn won a free kick not far outside the area.
Manager Darren Nisbet screamed at two of his players to move wide and Sweeney’s free kick found Taylor with enough space to turn and place the ball in the net. 3-1.
Next it was Sweeney’s turn to go close when after fine approach play from Parkinson and Rory Wallace, his shot came back off the post.
Teasdale was now replaced by Bobby Elliott, whose brief was to solidify the Colburn defence on the right side.
On 71 mins the game went right away from CGFC when Parkinson passed to Sweeney.
Sweeney’s shot was too strong for Bishop in CGFC’s goal. It bounced up off the keeper and Woodall was on hand to nod it in. 4-1. Colburn continued to press.
After a wonderful run from Woodall, Parkinson’s effort was blocked, then a Murray throw in reached Wallace in the box, but he was unable to provide the finishing touch. Then just before the end Colburn switched off and a CGFC ball somehow ran through the defence and Catterick claimed a consolation second. Final score 4-2.
In the only other game taking place on Saturday, Unicorn beat Reeth 7-1.
Unicorn scored their opening goal after four minutes, the forward turning the defence and finding the left side of the net.
They added another on 24 minutes, the ball looping off the Unicorn player’s head and dropping in behind the goalkeeper.
Three more goals followed as Unicorn raced to a 5-0 lead at half-time.
Less than a minute after the break, the visitors lobbed in number six of the afternoon.
Danny Plumb won Reeth a penalty on 66 minutes, but had his spot kick saved.
Unicorn made it 7-0 with 10 minutes to go, before Reeth finally found the net, three minutes from time, through Sean Calvy.