Martin Simpson-Scott with his eye on the prize!

Martin Simpson-Scott with his eye on the prize!

Men 3rd XI played their final game of the 2012/13 season against Basingstoke 5th XI, who after Romsey’s win over Yateley last week were in 4th place. Romsey knew they were secure in 3rd place of the league and the pressure of the match was low. However, Romsey hoped to continue their fantastic 2nd half of the season with another win (only losing once since Christmas to league Champions, Portsmouth Sharks).

Romsey took the pushback to get the game underway at Down Grange Sports Facility in Basingstoke and began the match with some strong passing play ensuring they maintained possession. This strong play and possession continued by Romsey for the first ten minutes of game play with Basingstoke getting little touch on the ball, until the scoring opened.

Romsey gained the lead after some good passing up the right wing between J Robinson and Jon Marsh. Robinson was able to drive the ball up to and along the base line to hit the ball hard across the face of the goal for Alex Peacock to tap it home and Basingstoke’s defence sleeping. However, the goal clearly woke them up! As the game then switched to a very intense end to end game and saw Basingstoke gain a goal from a strike at top D to level the scoring!

Romsey kept their composure and continued to push for another goal with strong passes up the left wing through Captain Matt Clark and Mark McArdle, allowing Martin Simpson-Scott to have several strikes at goal. Simpson-Scott, clear frustrated, was at first unable to hit the target with several reverse stick shots going just wide and over the bar. However, keeping his eye on the prize, Simpson-Scott’s day would change to gain his first of three goals. The first of which may have been a slow hit, but was very affective! A quick through ball from Fergus Longman put Simpson-Scott centre left in the D and clear for a strike that went softly across the line, but gained Romsey the lead again.

MOTM - Craig Mellor

MOTM – Craig Mellor

Basingstoke fought back hard with powerful aerial balls being launched deep within their half to their centre forward just outside Romsey’s D. Romsey’s defenders (Lukasz Suleja, Dave Thomson and Pete Cooper) did a fantastic job to stopping many of these. However, a couple aerials created penalty corners. Basingstoke were able to change their tactics on each penalty corner including straight strikes and switching the ball for tight hits at goal. However, Marsh and Jacob Arney were able to safely clear the ball on several occasions. But it was a drag flick from Basingstoke that came the closest to bringing the score line back level. However, MOTM Craig Mellor was at the ready and made an awesome diving save to see the ball cleared for a long corner.

After the half time break Romsey knew they had to give 200% to change the game around further and edge the score line lead more to ensure they were safe for the win. The game still saw end to end movement from Basingstoke’s repeated aerials. Romsey were able to get close on several occasions with Robinson, Alex Halcoussis, Tom Knell and Danny Nicoll finding themselves clear to drive the ball into the D for an attempt on goal. Basinstoke were able to hold the D strong for a while, but Romsey were able to find a foot to gain one of several feet to produce a penalty corner. A strong injection came from McArdle to top D. Marsh made a good stop for Simpson-Scott to straight strike the ball hard into the bottom left. This goal suddenly created a thirst for goals for Romsey as their next two came within quick concession of this.

The first of which was another Simpson-Scott goal after Ian Wilson grabbed a stray ball outside Romsey’s D. Wilson drove alone up the right wing to feed Halcoussis on the base line. Halcoussis drove towards the D and switched it back to Marsh outside the top of the D. Marsh hit the ball in for Simpson-Scott to deflect it into the goal and gain his 24th goal for the season!

Nearing the end of the match, and end of the season, it was McArdle who had the final say! A clear gap on the right wing allowed Peacock to pass a strong through ball for Halcoussis to just grab before it went off. Halcoussis then drove along the base line, into the D. Halcoussis then lifted neatly over a defender’s stick for McArdle to fire it home ending the game 5-1 to Romsey!!

The Men 3rd XI have had a fantastic 2nd season finishing 3rd in Division 10 and with a goal difference of +46 and only 2 points behind 2nd place, Haslemere. Captain Clark and Vice-Captain Cooper wish to thank the team for a fantastic season and all the effort everyone has put in! It’s been a pleasure!!

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