Nigel Cross

The U16 boys lost their first league match of the season 3-1 on Sunday, a score line that was a little unfair given the balance of play although Romsey did not play well enough to win.

Salisbury started strongly and the defence marshalled by the returning Alex Mills kept strong and repelled wave of attacks allowing Romsey to come into the game and take the lead through Ben Davidson.

The second half was very much in reverse to the first as Romsey started strongly but could not convert a number of chances allowing Salisbury back into the game and despite the heroics of Captain Hal Cross in goal, the precise nature of Salisbury’s attacks and their clinical finishing meant they ran out easy winners

 

A superb all round effort from all of the players on a very cold Sunday morning earned Romsey the points to top of Division 2.

The result was all the more remarkable as the team included 4 lads making their debuts and over half the team coming up from the Under 14s. The team was further weakened by an injury to Felix in the warm up, meaning there were only 12 fit players at the start of the match.

Romsey dominated much of the possession with  man of the match Ben Davidson, Elliot Collyer and Morgan Robertson running the show from central midfield with wingers Will Gent and Matt Loveday causing problems down both sides.  Much of the attacking came via the wide positions and the Hamble keeper made multiple saves from Davidson, Roberson and debutant centre forward Will Richie.  Hamble were dangerous  on the real and Noah Cooper and Will Richards, also making his debut, had much to do. Although keeper Hal Cross made some excellent saves Hamble scored a scuffed goal to go in 1-0 at half time.

The second half belonged even more to Romsey and matt Loveday equalised and Morgan Robertson scored twice with drag flicks from short corners. The last 5 minutes was all played in Romsey’s half and Cross and his defence somehow kept the ball out of the net, despite facing several short corners.

 

 

A competitive opening game of the season against Southampton ended 1-1 with Ben Davidson equalising for Romsey late in the first half after a tight opening 30 minutes. In reality although both teams had opportunities to score, the defences held strong and a draw was probably a fair result.

The Romsey team included a number of boys making their U16 debuts and Felix, Oscar, Matt and Will all put in a great effort, with a combination of determination, skill and pace.

The main thrust of Romsey’s attacking came down the right hand side with Thomas Edwards putting in a man of the match performance at right back (including knocking a goal bound shot one off the line)  and his fellow defenders Noah, Raul and Jamie also shone.

The Romsey goal came from a break away led by Matt Loveday who played in Morgan Robertson and Ben Davidson for the latter to sweep in the rebound.

 

The U16 boys battled to a  gritty, if not wholly convincing 3-2 win away to Salisbury on Sunday thanks to goals from skipper Tom Croft – Baker, Jake Rowland and Harry Croft Baker.

It was very much a tale of two half as though Romsey much of the game, they needed the 2nd half to be able to impose themselves and come back from a half time 2-1 deficit.  The team were set up to hold a high line, press and the break quickly through wingers Zack Cooper and Matchy Lincoln and after 15 minutes that worked  just as it should with Charlie Harrigan breaking through and feeding TCB to fire in the opener. The more Romsey pressed the bigger the gaps came between the defence and attack and Salisbury broke twice to score.

The second half was more one way traffic and was illuminated by a stunning goal from Rowland who ran from the half way line, beating a number of players before hitting an unstoppable reverse on to the far post and in. This goal gave further confidence to Romsey and a further break allowed TCB to feed the ball across the D for HCB to slide in the far post to score. The team, with greater concentration on their speed of passing, could and should have scored more, although they were indebted to Hal  Cross in goal for a sliding save when faced with a one on one with the Salisbury centre forward. Following this Cooper hit the post towards the end, and also had one knocked off the line and the impressive Ben Davidson created a number of chances via skilful wing play.

 

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The U14 boys played their last league match of the year away at Southampton and came away with a deserved 3-1 victory, to maintain their 100% win record.  This victory ensured their positions as League Champions.

The team was much changed due to Hampshire call ups, injuries and non availabilities and so it took a little while for the team to gel and after a re arrangement of players and positions, Romsey settled into the match dominating possession but not creating many chances. The switch to a flat back 4  allowed full backs Sam Green and Jamie Sanderson to push forward and an attack down the right, after 20 minutes  created a chance for Robert Williams to sweep in from close range. Prior to that Morgan Robertson had a goal disallowed for his shot being too high from a penalty corner and with seconds to go in the first half he crashed an excellent shot just past the far post.

Southampton attached with more vigour in the 2nd half and the defensive duo of Noah Cooper and Raul Patel kept them at bay, snuffing out their attacks and releasing Thomas Edwards to drive forward in an all action midfield display. Edward Robinson, making his league debut, played well down both flanks and after Southampton had equalised through a lofted shot, he created space down the right and crossed for Robertson to get the goal, his play  deserved.

Following the 2nd goal, Romsey’s confidence increased and a 3rd swiftly followed from a storming right wing run by Sam Green, beating several players on the way,  whose hard low cross was deflected in by a Southampton defender.

DSC_0490 DSC_0488 DSC_0485The final minutes were played with out any great concern to the Romsey goal, ensuring the win to maintain top place in the Division.

 

 

The all conquering U14 boys team lost their unbeaten status on Sunday at Fareham losing 4 -0 in the quarter final of the Hampshire Cup.

The opposition were a step up from all other teams played in the year and as they were packed with County  and National players but Romsey fought and battled throughout and showed magnificent team spirit and resolve which the scoreline did not reflect.

It would be difficult to single out any player as all 14 members of the squad played to their best ability and followed the coach’s instructions to the letter and  with a little bit more luck the result, or at least the score line could have been better. Despite having the vast majority of the play, Fareham did not fashion any real goal scoring chance until 20 minutes  had passed when a relatively weak penalty corner hit sneaked in the far post.

After going a goal down , and then a second quickly thereafter, Romsey turned on the attacking pressure and arguably the turning point of the game came just before half time when Romsey suffered a double blow.  An attack down the left led to Art Barcia’s shot hitting a Fareham defender on the foot on the line which should have resulted in a P flick, however as the ball rebounded out  it was immediately  driven hit back into the goal by Ben Davidson, only for the umpire to give a penalty corner which came to nothing.

A goal at that time would have changed the momentum, but despite valiant efforts all-round, and a great rally towards the end of the 2nd half Romsey could not quite find the goal their efforts deserved.

 

The 100% winning record of the U14 was extended on Sunday with a hard fought 7-4 victory over Salisbury. The title will now be up for grabs in the last league match of the season against Southampton in 2 weeks.

With a number of players away for half term and Hampshire training, the team was much changed with Will Gent and Aaron Welch both making their  league debuts, Hal Cross moving into defence and Morgan Robertson and Noah Cooper moving up from the U12s. Thus it took a little while for the team to find it’s way,  not helped by a muscle injury to Matt Rowland forcing him off mid way through the first half.

Salisbury opened the scoring, meaning it was the first time the team had been behind in the whole year and this was quickly equalised with a goal from Matt Loveday following good work by Cross and Archie Attwood down the right. Salisbury employed the tactic of leaving one forward very high up the field, pushing on and beyond sweeper Alex Mills and the team struggled to deal with this, despite the efforts of Cooper who had a fine game at centre back.  However the attacking prowess of Loveday, Archwood, Art Barcia and Robert Williams kept the pressure on and kept providing chances for man of the match Jake Rowland. He scored his first just before half time to leave the score at that point 2-2 but extended his influence over the game in the second half to score a further 3 and make one for Loveday. His second goal involved a dribble from the half way line, beating 5 defenders before hitting a brilliant reverse into the far corner, at times he was unplayable and was the big difference between the two sides.

Although Salisbury continued to chip away at the score, Romsey kept scoring at important times to ensure the ending was straightforward with Atwood getting a goal towards the end that his endeavours deserved.

 

Another very impressive team performance from the unbeaten U14 team, lead to an easy 11 win against New Forest.

Unfortunately for the opposition Romsey scored their first goal within 5 minutes by man of the match and captain Tom Croft – Baker and then did not then take their foot off the gas for the rest of the match.  Winning 7 -0 at half time with further goals from Rhys Walthen, Ben Davidson, Jake Rowland (2) and 2 more for Croft Baker, the impetus was on the home side to keep playing good hockey and passing throughout the team. the defenders had little to do, as so full backs Thomas Edwards, Oscar Wright and Jamie Sanderson joined in the attacking and further goals were scored by Matt Loveday, Davison,  Rowland and Croft Baker.

This win leaves Romsey clear at the top, with 2 matches to go.

 

 

Another very easy win by the all conquering U14 boys team meant their 100% winning record was extended along with their lead at the top of the table. The final score was 14 -2 and on reflection the only disappointment was the late conceding of the 2 goals to a plucky Winchester team.

Goals flew in from every angle, the first within 3 minutes and at half time the score was 7 -0 and the message from the coach was to keep going, keep scoring and take the opportunity to improve the goal difference.

Goal scorers were Tom Croft Baker  (5), Harry Croft Baker (4), Ben Davidson (2), Jake Rowland (3)

 

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