Match Reports

Following a week of cancelled matches and training due to the frosty weather, the Ladies 3rd XI were keen to get back on the pitch. A 14 strong side faced Portsmouth & Southsea, currently placed fourth in the league and 8 points ahead. Romsey started well, putting some early pressure on the home side. However Portsmouth weathered this and started to find their stride, playing some composed hockey, especially through the midfield which they dominated for much of the game. Romsey were boosted by the returning Ladies 2s striker Ella P, coming back from injury, but a high cross from Anne H caught her hand and she was off the pitch, having started to provide some good control and opportunities going forward. Portsmouth’s midfield dominance provided them with many attacking opportunities and the Romsey defence had plenty of action including several short corners. However it was open play that produced the first goal for Portsmouth, surging forward in numbers and allowing a well struck shot to find the back of the net. Under pressure, Romsey struggled to link together, losing too many balls on the attack and a 2nd Portsmouth goal soon followed, for a 2-0 lead at half time.

After another poor push back, Romsey regrouped and started to penetrate the Portsmouth D more, producing a number of attacking short corners, one of which was converted by centre back Hilary A. The team started to believe in themselves and played some much better hockey. The midfield worked tirelessly to win back the ball and drive forward, with debutant and U16 Jess G playing a solid game and linking well with the more established players. This allowed forward Ruth M to find herself up close with the Portsmouth goalie and winning a short corner. A fantastic pass from Ella P found the youngest member of the team Grace M making a perfectly timed run and scoring her first goal for the team in style. Unfortunately Portsmouth came straight back, not tiring despite only having 11 players and finding plenty of chances up front. An unlucky goalmouth scramble saw the ball trickle frustratingly over the line. Romsey kept pushing forward to try for a late equaliser, but were caught out by an unmarked player surging into the D and scoring from a well struck cross.

Despite the final 4-2 scoreline, Romsey were buoyed by their performance, having scored 2 goals against a strong side and playing much better as a team. The whole game was also a pleasure to play thanks to the excellent umpiring at both ends – Thank You Nick W.

RHC 2nd XI set off for Farnham for a 4pm fixture on a wintry December afternoon.  Played under lights throughout, frost was not that far away.  Aldershot & Farnham 3rd XI, our opponents, were promoted as runners up to RHC 2nd XI two seasons ago.  However, last season’s results 3-3(H) and 0-6(A) ensured that RHC could not afford to be complacent.

Good 1st & 2nd XI availability ensured that RHC were able to travel with 14.  In defence: a back three of Ben M, Rob N and Ben D with Rob K as sweeper.  In midfield: Connor O’D and Art B wide, with Ali N, Zac C and Tom W central.  In attack:  Mozza S-S.  Initial substitutes:  Jamie S (def), Archie (wide mf) and Sam B (fwd/mf).  Pre match, Ali N briefed his plans, in particular, stressing the need to maintain our five-man midfield shape and to use the ball at pace.  Players seemed to be listening and, following a rather short warm-up, took to the field determined to build on last week’s fine performance.

In this respect, RHC could not have started better.  With barely a minute gone, Mozza chased an apparently lost cause high on the left, dived forward and sent a reverse stick screamer across the D.  Tom W arrived at just the right moment, the goalkeeper did not move, and the ball flew into the net; 1-0.  Buoyed by this start, RHC really started to tick, it was clear to see the formation, there was always strength in depth, sensible passes were made and the pace was simply too much for less dynamic opposition.  Minutes later, it was 3-0 to RHC with both Zac C and Ali N finding the net.  Play continued in this vein for the first quarter of the match.  However, A&F then woke up and, aided by some poor passing by RHC, started to apply pressure themselves.  Nigel K in goal produced a fine diving save and RHC defence had to contend with several penalty corners; all producing viable shots.  The game then really started to flow from end to end, RHC scored two further goals through Zac C and Art B and even had one goal ruled out, much to everyone’s surprise.  RHC’s team play was excellent; a joy to see and to play in.  5-0 up at half-time.

Despite a positive half-time talk, RHC then started to falter.  Although running the same substitution routine as in the first half, the team shape suffered, as did ball possession.  RHC lost personal discipline, became less team focussed and were unable to contain A&F counter attacks in numbers.  Whilst Mozza scored two more poacher’s goals and had a third disallowed, RHC conceded three in the last fifteen minutes: a rebound off Nigel K after a good first save, a 2 v 1 and a deflected overtime penalty corner.  In many ways, the central midfield and even the wide defenders seemed to have forgotten their defensive duties, leaving Ali N, Rob K and Rob N over exposed.  Final score:  7-3.

In summary, a game of two halves; I have been waiting to be able to say this!  A fantastic team performance in the first half with near perfect execution of everything demanded by Ali N; the game plan worked!  However, despite requests for the same again, individuals seemed to forget their team roles and, in a few cases, seemed more interested in personal glory.  Yes, we achieved our aim of three points.  However, against a stronger team we would have been well and truly punished.

MoM:  Zac C (excellent commitment) and Rob K (steady play in an unusual role).

DoD:  Nigel K (teddies & cots; not acting his age!).

RHC 2nd XI returned to HCS to take on league leaders Fleet & Ewshott 1st XI.  Outwardly quite bubbly following the 10-man 2-2 draw against Basingstoke 3rd XI, pre-match banter revealed that many had the same feeling – this game was going to be tough.  That said, a positive team talk and lively warm up saw RHC more than ready to do battle.  In defence: a back three of Jamie S, Rob N and James M with Dave M as sweeper.  In midfield: a five-man formation designed to provide control and mutual cover, Connor O’D and Ben D wide, with Ali N, Zac C and Felix C-S central.  In attack:  a lone forward, Mozza S-S.  Further cover was provided by initial substitutes:  Noah C and James F, the latter home for a guest appearance.

Early exchanges proved to be somewhat mixed.  RHC made good use of pace on the flanks with Connor on the left particularly making some incisive runs.  However, midfield support proved to be inconsistent and possession was frequently lost.  Under duress, players forgot to use the ball and pushed too hard.  Fleet also had their moments, but RHC’s defence, in particular James M, held firm.  Against expectations, RHC really started to take control and the visiting goalkeeper had to be sharp on a number of occasions.  Zac C and Felix C-S really combined well and, ably supported by Ali N, kept the pressure on.  A couple of penalty corners came and went; simple routines, but poor execution.  Unfortunately, then, two major lapses in defence allowed Fleet to score two goals in quick succession; the first from a penalty corner breakdown and the second from an open play miss-flick.  Neither Rob N nor Nigel K managed to stop what would have been routine last season.  To RHC’s credit, the team came back well from these setbacks.  James F and Noah C subbed in and out of the front six seamlessly and by half-time RHC seemed to be playing the better hockey; 2-0 down did not really reflect our performance.

Following a positive half-time talk, RHC took to the pitch as a team and produced some excellent hockey.  The ball was played early, at pace, around the whole team, but fine defending prevented any breakthrough.  Several penalty corners ensued, shots were taken, but no conversions achieved.  Fleet were clearly under the cosh, surely this relentless pressure would tell.  It did!  RHC’s first goal came from a moment of individual inspiration.  Noah C, noticing that Fleet defenders were distracted, took a quick free hit, dribbled into the D and pushed the ball past a less than ready goalkeeper.  Much discussion ensued, but the goal stood.  This turn of luck was just what RHC needed.  Ali N had already given just about everything, but now produced a real moment of magic.  Setting off on a trademark lanky run, he found himself in the D and converted with aplomb.  2-2!  Needless to say, the final five minutes of the game were frantic, but RHC held firm.

In summary, an excellent team performance, knocked back by two soft goals against and continued poor penalty corner execution.  However, a perfect way to lead in to the team’s Christmas meal.  Looking to the future, RHC need to play to the advertised game plan, listen to Ali N and keep the pressure on the opposition.  If we do, we will score; positive results should then follow.

MoM:  Ali (excellent drive and commitment).

DoD:  James F (a stitch up, but it was his turn!).

Romsey, putting out an almost full squad of 15 players, managed to hold on to win the match with the last touch of the game being a save from Joe Williams the Romsey Goalie.

It was a very even contest, with much of the match taking place in the midfield section of the pitch.  The first of 3 periods finished goalless despite shots on goal from Luke Walter and Jack Meehan and a short corner to Romsey.  At the other end the defence, including Owen South, Frederick O’Hara and Daniel Hodge, held well with Hamble only managing to force one save from the Romsey Keeper.

The second period started with a bang as Jack Meehan scored early, only for Hamble to hit straight back with their goal. After the fireworks of the first couple of minutes, normal play resumed with an arm wrestle in the middle with the wide players of Rupert Willes, Henry Allsopp, Will Rossdale, Harry Garton and Jack Jones making ground when they received the ball.

The third period started with the teams still level, Romsey had the better of the opening exchanges, but the goal to break the deadlock did not seem to be coming their way. The midfield player, Jack Jones, Thomas Hodge, Jack Wormgoor and Sebastian Wells push up to increase the pressure on the Hamble defence.  Jack Meehan had a shot cleared off the line, having gone around the goalie, Rupert Willes’s shot hit the goalie as he was scrambling back into position and at a short corner, Will Rossdale had two shots brilliantly saved.  Finally, the goal arrived, as Marcus Lake made a run from the edge of the dee to score the decisive goal.  From the resultant restart Romsey were determined not to slip up, but Hamble, a player down due to injury, wanted to claim a draw and with the last play of the game they came very close to succeeding.

Romsey faced tough opposition in high flying United Services who look like the other challengers for the Div 9 South title with Isle of Wight, who were the only team to defeat Romsey so far this season before this match.

Romsey who usually start quite brightly, we’re on the back foot early on. Good tackles by T Sanders and L Suleja kept USP outside the circle, and D Sanders and D Andrews then provided further cover to keep the ball out, before it was drilled in from the USP left across the circle to find a stick at the far post to put USP 1 0 up.

Romsey rallied, and youngsters J Fuller, W Ritchie and E Colyer all started to make moves down the wings trying to create an opening.

C Harwood intercepted the ball and played a pass to J Harwood who played in C Hendy, but the top marksman couldn’t get his shot on target.

With Andrews and J Harwood starting to control the midfield Romsey suddenly looked the stronger team.  J Tower pushed up the right and interchanged with Colyer to get the ball in the circle but no chance could be created.

N Mason and Hendy upfront were supported with the tireless running of debutant S Field, and when J Harwood won a penalty corner Romsey had their best chance of an equaliser.

With B Parker played the ball to Hendy his pass to Mason was hit on goal and saved by the keeper, only for Parker to nip in and push the ball over the keeper and over the line for 1 1.

Romsey nearly went in ahead at the break as J Harwood somehow kept the ball in on the left and smashed it in to the circle, Hendy couldn’t get a touch and Colyer was almost able to steer it in at the back post but not quite.

Sadly the USP team with an extensive squad were able to up their game in the second half. Early on a great move by the visitors saw a first time shot saved by the in form B Wathen in goal, but USP followed up with a well timed second shot for 2 1.

Then a long through ball midway through the half saw Wathen rush out to narrow the angle but the USP forward took it round him and wide to push the ball in to the goal.

With the game closing out USP got two more chances and two more goals, the first a very well timed reverse stick volley to win 5 1, which was harsh on Romsey after their first half display.

Romsey 4s have one more match before Christmas and currently have 12 points, from 3 wins, 3 draws and two defeats against the top two and sit fourth in the table.

RHC 2nd XI returned to Romsey School to host high flying Havant 4th XI.  Team spirit seemed good following the previous week’s easy victory.  However, there was still plenty to discuss pre-match.  Basically, in defence, once we lose the ball, cover back to protect our central midfield against a quick counter attack and, in attack, improve our decision making and pass selection.  Above all else, use the ball at pace.

 

RHC attacked from the start and a fine flowing move down the right saw Ben D feeding Felix C-S who scored his first league goal at the second attempt.  Spurred on by this goal, RHC then produced fifteen minutes worth of balanced team hockey.  Greig S controlled the midfield confidently, ably supported in rotation by Ben M, Art B, Rob K and Felix.  Wide midfield support and pace was provided by Connor O’D, Ben D and Archie A, all making frequent solo probing runs into the final quarter.  Despite several close calls from Mozza S-S, no further goals were scored.  Havant also played their part and became increasingly competitive.  Initially, RHC’s defence held firm, but pressure eventually told.  Inevitably, a scrappy deflected goal was conceded.  Buoyed by this, Havant really turned the screw.  Penalty corners flowed and two goals were conceded, the first deflected in off Nigel K and the second straight through Ali N on the left post.  3-1 down at half time.         

 

In the second half, despite initial efforts and sporadic attacks by RHC, Havant continued to apply the pressure.  RHC’s defence comprising Dave M, Rob N, Jamie S and Ali N played well, but errors started to creep in.  Two further goals were conceded.  Another unlucky deflection and a kamikaze defensive pass leading to Nigel K in goal being hopelessly exposed.  RHC’s woes continued as Greig S departed injured.  At this point and with nothing to lose, Ali pushed forward; another one of his trademark mazy runs reduced the score-line to 5-2 against.  However, this was not end, as yet another defensive lapse left Nigel K exposed yet again.  Final score 6-2 to Havant.  On reflection, they are the best team we have faced so far.  A fine combination of teamwork and personal skills, well deserved league leaders.

 

In summary, a reasonable effort, but we missed Ali N in midfield.  Many of our youngsters showed flashes of flair with the ball.  However, as team, we are still struggling to defend as a whole.  On occasion, we shoot ourselves in the foot through letting the ball go too easily; we must retain possession, be patient and learn to strike when appropriate. 

 

MoM:  Not awarded.

 

DoD:  Ali (not writing this match report on time or at all!).        

Romsey U12 Boy’s held on for a thrilling win against Gosport Borough Under 12.  In the closing seconds of the match, Gosport were awarded a short corner, which, to build up the tension, had to be retaken as one of the Romsey defenders was deemed to have leapt from the goal line before the ball was injected by Gosport.  At the second attempt, all the Gosport team, bar the goalkeeper, filled the Romsey Dee meaning 10 players attacked against 4 defending.  To end the game as winners Romsey needed to clear the ball from the goal area, Gosport attacked as the rest of the Romsey players ran from the halfway line to help as Joe Williams in goal, Harry Garton, Jack Jones and Frederick O’Hara defending tried to clear the ball.  Gosport managed a shot at goal but it was too high and the game was won by Romsey.

The game started a little one-sided, as Romsey’s passing game meant that they had most of the territory and possession. Early runs for Luke Walter and Rupert Willes led to shots from Jack Meehan being well saved by the Gasport Keeper. The first Romsey goal came from a short corner, Romsey’s third of the match, Luke Walter injected to Marcus Lake who passed back to Luke who had run to the near post for a well-worked goal.  Gosport tried to hit back quickly with Romsey’s Goalie Joe clearing the line as a goal looked imminent, Romsey defence, including Henry Allsopp, making his debut, and Daniel Hodge managed to keep the ball was in Gosport’s half for the remainder of the first period which finished 1 nil to Romsey.

The second period started with more Romsey pressure as the midfield of Thomas Hodge, Owen South, Sebastian Wells and Harry Garton dominated possession.  The Gosport Goalie kept his team in the match as Romsey couldn’t find a goal that their pressure deserved.  Marcus Lake forced the Keeper to make several saves, Rupert Wills had three shots saved within seconds and then Gosport hit back with a length of the pitch attack that was stopped by Jack Jones running back as he clearing the ball from the Romsey Dee to the sideline. 

The second period may have finished goalless but the third period opened up with goals from each side.  For Romsey Marcus Lake, who was nominated as the man of the match, scored a well-fought goal having muscled his way past 4 defenders to increase the lead.  His goal was immediately cancelled out as Gosport scored from a short corner, won straight from the re-start.  Gosport soon scored again as a long ball downfield was slotted into the Romsey goal.  With the score at 2, 2, Jack Meehan was unlucky to have a shot deflected by the Keeper, as the ball looped onto the top of the Gosport goal.  Jack then followed up with another attack, forcing the keeper to save, but this time Marcus was lurking close to goal to score with a real poachers effort, picking the ball up from just behind the Goalie to score a simple goal.

As the match drew to a close the tension increased as Gosport mounted several attacks, which resulted in the short corner being the final play.

The U12 girls travelled to Trojans this Sunday for their 3rd game of the season, having just 11 players and no subs. The team was without 2 key defenders so several players had to step into unfamiliar roles. Strong performances from Molly K, Annabel C and Evelyn B helped the team to fend off numerous attacks from a well drillled Trojans side. Defending for much of the first third, the team produced some solid passing hockey, but were unable to capitalise on the attacking opportunities they had. Trojans had one extremely tall, skillful player who was able to outrun the Romsey defence and produce many hard struck shots on goal. 3 of these were on target and the girls were 0-3 down by the end of the first third.

Romsey played their best hockey of the season in the second third, dominating the game much more. Numerous long balls got through the Trojans defence to find Phoebe L, Issy  R and Olivia W. The girls passed the ball well producing some great attacking runs, but were unable to convert their chances into goals. However the constant pressure from the midfield and good defence from Charlotte A, Eleanor B and goalkeeper Anna L denied Trojans the opportunity to score and the second third saw no goals.

In the final third a tireless Mia A, now tasked with marking the Trojans centre forward, managed to limit her ability to get into the D, but could not prevent a couple of great shots from finding the target. Despite some suberb goalkeeping from Anna L, Trojans always seemed to have a player ready to pounce on any ball kicked away. Romsey were feeling their lack of subs, but kept pushing forwards. A final opportunity came at the end as Romsey were awarded an attacking short corner, but the final whistle blew as the team were judged not to have allowed the ball to go outside the D. The final score was 5-0 to Trojans, but this was probably Romsey’s strongest performance so far and the girls have much to be proud of.

Star player was awarded to Phoebe L.

Romsey travelled to Swanage with only 11 players and initially the absence of the Harwood clan saw Romsey fall two behind to some simple goals.

At this point Romsey reacted positively without their talismanic skipper and and started to put together some excellent moves going forward. A Nick Mason shot was deflected past the keeper by old stalwart and top scorer Carl Hendy.

This was followed by superb work by midfield duo of D Andrews and M Duke keeping Romsey on the front foot and resulting in Mason scoring a wonderful solo effort to draw the teams level.

Romsey took the lead from another rMason strike and continued to dominate.

Disappointingly despite resolute defending from Parker, Loescher, Cavalier and Suleja Swanage poked the ball past Wathen in goal to equalise before half time.

The second half saw the opposition strengthen their midfield and in a close fought half another moment of solo magic by Man of the Match Mason won it for Romsey 4 – 3, maintaining their unbeaten start to the season after five games, with next up unbeaten Isle of Wight this Saturday, another encounter where Harwoods Senior and Junior will be missing!

Romsey Ladies 1XI travelled to Basingstoke for an early morning game. Basingstoke started confidently, looking to build on their strong start to their return to Division 1. On a wet and bouncy pitch, Romsey tried to acclimatise themselves to the conditions, working the ball well from defence through the midfielders to the forwards. Kate Moss and Bethan Knights worked well in the centre of the pitch, distributing the ball out and working well to cover the direct moves that Basingstoke were making as they looked fierce in attack. Romsey worked well as a team, coming back to cover when Basingstoke made moves forward causing Emily Slade to make some committed challenges to break down the attacks. There were some promising attacks from both sides, with Emily Williams, Emma Beeching and Kate Olingschlaeger making runs up front and driving the ball into the D to try and get a shot off on goal. However, neither side could make the most of their chances, and the score was 0-0 at half time.
Basingstoke came out hard after the break, GK and player of the game, Laura Kemp was quick to drop to the floor and prevent Basingstoke from finishing off one of their direct attacks on goal. Romsey gained in confidence as they kept the home side at bay, with S.Forbes and Emma Bouchard working hard in midfield to try open up gaps in the Basingstoke back line. Romsey were determined to make the most of their penetrations into the D, winning numerous short corners. Erica Jenner stopped the ball at the top of the D and dribbled in towards to goal, causing the Basingstoke keeper to drop to the floor to try to prevent an attack. This allowed R.Cooper to slot the ball into the goal past the keepers pads with 8 minutes of the game to go. All Romsey had to do was keep their heads and try prevent a Basingstoke attack. G.Hebert worked relentlessly in defensive to ensure that Romsey finished the game 1-0 winners. A total of 8 players received players for man of the match, which sums up how much of a team performance this win was.

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