Romsey Men’s 1st XI 6 – 6 Hamble Men’s 1st XI

Encounters between these two sides over recent seasons have typically produced plenty of goals and this pre-season friendly at Romsey School certainly lived up to that reputation with a feast of attacking hockey on display. The home side began well with Sam Barcia deflecting in Jack Murray’s flick early on before Tim Bailey fired in a second on the reverse stick after the ‘keeper had parried an initial shot.

Hamble began to build momentum on the back of picking off numerous loose passes from the hosts, who were too often guilty of trying to force the ball past well set opponents. The visitors got on the scoresheet when Romsey erred in allowing a midfielder to drive at the top of the ‘D’ and get a shot off under little pressure. Goalkeeper Lozz Scott kept the first strike out with his kicker but the ball rebounded to the same player and he scored second time around.

Next Hamble counterattacked after a turnover and Scott came off his line to deny a shot, but once more Romsey failed to gather the loose ball and were punished by a finish from a narrow angle. The visitors then took the lead when a straight strike penalty corner found a way through the goalkeeper’s pads, but Lucas Cross tied the scores moments before halftime with a brilliant run and cool finish after being sent into space by Ben Mullan.

After the break Romsey thought they had retaken the lead via a Lewis Birch strike but were denied when the umpires conferred and ruled the ball had previously hit a teammate’s foot. Instead the home side found themselves once again playing catch-up as Hamble scored a fourth, but Neil Strong got them back on terms as he somehow managed to finish a rebound despite falling to the floor at the time.

The see-sawing continued when Jack Forrest-Charde coolly sold the GK a dummy pass and instead roofed a reverse stick flick, but Hamble hit back with two further goals of their own and led once more. Romsey had the final say with yet another effort on the rebound as Birch found the backboard with a crisp strike after Tom Ponsford had set Mullan up for the first shot.

Romsey can take plenty of positives from this performance against higher placed opposition, but will also seek to tighten up certain aspects of their play when they travel to Bournemouth next Saturday for another challenging friendly.

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