Thame Hockey Club’s men’s first team moved out of the MBBO Division One relegation zone with a much-needed 2-0 victory over bottom side Maidenhead IIs.
The home side dominated from kick-off with Will Sawrey-Cookson and Chris Blow controlling the midfield battle before Gareth Brikett found space and fired into the top corner for the breakthrough.
Thame had numerous penalty corners but they failed to build on their early lead, while at the other end, the home defence repelled anything Maidenhead threw at them.
The second half saw Alex Church continue to trouble the visitors and he was unlucky not add to the scoreline when his effort beat the goalkeeper but also sailed tantalisingly over the crossbar.
Ian Maries, James Rudolph and Ben Clarke all showed superb control at the back, but the longer it remained 1-0 the more the tension grew before Birkett finally gave his side breathing space with a second goal, which ultimately proved too much for the visitors.
Thame IIs, meanwhile, were left to rue a poor first half performance after their 2-1 defeat to Oxford Hawks VIIs.
Having gone into the break 2-0 behind, Harvey Allen pulled a goal back in a much-improved second half display but it was too little too late.
However, the IIIs were back on form with a thumping 5-0 win over Sonning.
Cliff Brown needed less than a minute to put Thame ahead with a lethal finish before Tom Creswell slotted home the second for a 2-0 lead.
The second half saw more of the same as Thame continued to move the ball quickly, accurately and incisively with Steve Laws, Chris Blow and Brown all scoring to wrap up an excellent victory.
As for Thame’s ladies, the IIIs were held to a goalless draw by Sonning Vs. Caitlin was named Man of the Match for her excellent all-round performance as she was a constant menace all game, although Thame were unable to capitalise on her good play, while keeper Anneliese was in fine form to preserve a clean sheet at the other end.
Elsewhere, two Thame U10 squads enjoyed success at the Bicester Foxcubs Festival, with team one winning all four of their matches.