Men

Focus for Men

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!

RHC 2nd XI travelled away to last year’s relegated league newcomers reasonably confident that victory would be gained.  Our opponents had lost all six previous fixtures, letting in 38 goals in the process.  However, given our own recent defeats and variable degree of team discipline, there was definitely no room for complacency.  Again, the bonus of an away fixture, found us all changed and available in the changing room some 30 minutes before the start.  This time was well spent reinforcing how our five-man midfield was meant to work; protect the centre-midfield at all costs, and use the ball.

Despite a good team talk and an apparently focussed team, there was little time for a good warm up; limited pitch time was also broken up with a two-minute silence.  In the global scheme of things, it is important to remember those who really did give everything.

RHC got just the start that was needed with a good passing move ending up with Art B scoring after just two minutes.  However, this lead was short lived with a double deflection deceiving Nigel K in goal; a lack of personal focus, trying to play, run the subs and coach does not work!  That said; this set back woke RHC up.  In defence, Jamie S, Rob N, Ali N and Ben D easily contained sporadic attacks and even found time to attack.  Greig S produced a composed performance at centre midfield ably supported by two of Art, Felix C-S and Neil S in rotation.  Wide midfield support and pace was provided by Connor O’D, Sam W and Archie A, again two of three in rotation.  Connor and Sam particularly impressed with fine, but differing personal skills.  Mozza S-S ran tirelessly and added his special wow factor up front.  Attractive, attacking hockey flowed; the ball often seeming to bounce around a pin ball machine.  As a result, RHC were 6-1 up at halftime.  Interestingly, this was without a single penalty corner being won; we used the ball, made the passes and the opposition were unable to get near us.

In the second half, despite periods of fast, balanced hockey, too many fine moves foundered on poor final passes or lost possession following selfish individual play.  What is for certain, running with the ball equals confusion.  That said, we won several penalty corners and did manage to convert two; not route one, though, but by the passing ball around.  Despite a final score of 9-1, RHC’s second half team discipline was somewhat disjointed.  A tight mutually supporting formation will be essential against future opponents.

In summary, a morale boosting victory.  Excellent performances from Mozza, back to his best after illness, and all our youngsters.  The challenge now is to harness this youthful exuberance.  What works against school or junior opponents does not always work against wily old defenders.  We are getting there and the team, young, old and ancient seem to be enjoying each other’s company.  If we can keep our team tight, personally focused and playing to the plan, we can start to beat the best, rather than just compete.

MoM:  Mozza (4 goals), not forgetting:  Sam (3) & Art (2).

DoD:  Ali (asking where we were playing, losing the hat, then finding it!)

Result: 2-1 (loss)

 

It was a very youthful Bournemouth 4th XI who travelled to HCS for this Hampshire Division 4 clash – both sides looking to get their seasons back on track with a win, in what promised from the outset to be a very close encounter. A bold selection saw Captain Ali Nawn drop into a defensive role, with two deeper-lying central midfielders positioned to provide additional passing options from defence.

 

A buoyant Romsey opened in a very promising fashion – whilst overlooking the midfield in favour of a more direct approach, solid early passing lead to several good opportunities. Perhaps the most important of these saw Art Barcia break into the ‘D’; a quick one-two with Mozza on the edge of the ‘D’ creating Romsey’s first clear sight of goal. Art’s shot whistled just centimetres wide, but he’ll have been left rueing Mozza’s poor decision-making – had Mozza held the ball for a moment and then passed, Art would have been left staring at an open goal.

 

The rest of the half was characterised by typically frantic end-to-end exchanges, with two very solid defences greatly limiting good scoring opportunities. Whilst Nigel King (making his 33rd appearance for RHC2XI) made several excellent stops, it was Bournemouth who opened the scoring midway through the first half; a loose forward escaping the clutches of an otherwise resolute Romsey defence, and finishing a fine Bournemouth move with a far post tap-in. It was a moment that temporarily damaged Romsey’s confidence – and the second Bournemouth goal followed in similar fashion shortly afterwards. At 2-0 however, there was a strong sense that the score line didn’t reflect the balance of play. As though recalling their comeback from 2-0 down last week, Romsey pressed on to get back into the game. Several outstanding pieces of attacking play from Connor o’Dowda down the Romsey left went unrewarded. An Ali Nawn short corner strike whistled inches wide of the left-hand Bournemouth post. A clever little dinked ball from Mozza on the edge of the ‘D’ to Dave Miles almost created a one-on-one chance for the latter – finding excellent space with his runs from midfield. Just when the half looked lost, Dave Miles returned this favour with a ball to Mozza on the edge of the ‘D’, who turned and blasted it into the bottom left corner. 2-1 at half time… game on!

 

The second half saw an early shift in the balance of play, Bournemouth retaining possession well, and using it with purpose. When Romsey did take possession, there was an evident struggle to penetrate the Bournemouth defensive lines, and create opportunities for the forwards. Despite their chances, Bournemouth were unable to capitalise – credit to the outstanding efforts of Noah, Jamie, Ali and Rob Noble in defence, who, alongside Nigel in goal, looked extremely solid throughout. As the half progressed, Romsey maintained the work rate, and created several good opportunities. Most notable amongst these was a wonderful piece of counter-attacking play which saw a quick ball to Mozza immediately shunted into the path of an onrushing Art Barcia, who in turn took a single touch before firing into James Fraser (making his return to RHC2XI hockey), making a late run at the top of the ‘D’. Fraser struck the ball beautifully – but it flew against the angle of crossbar and post… outcries of frustration from the spectators, as the shot bounced across the face of goal, the keeper completely, hopelessly beaten, and out for a Bournemouth sideline ball.

 

And so the game finished – a very unlucky 2-1 defeat for Romsey. Despite the result, a very good game of hockey played in good spirit, with some excellent umpiring and very good points for an improving Romsey to take into next week.

 

MoM:  N/A – but the author would give it to Noah and Connor for frankly outstanding personal performances.

DoD:  Rob Kerr – went to Romsey School for the meet. At least he had his shirt this week though! 😉

Romsey enjoyed another entertaining topsy turvy Saturday encounter to remain unbeaten so far after four matches.

Romsey started strongly with Rob Cav having plenty of possession down the left, he and Ben Parker joined up to play in C Harwood but his pass in to the circle was cleared by the keeper before J Harwood could get to the ball.

M Duke making his debut was instrumental in setting up a one two with Carl Hendy but solid Salisbury defender kept Romsey out.

Then midway through the half the tide turned and it was Romsey on the back foot. Two long threaded passes found Salisbury forwards, the first saw a shot to the top corner that keeper B Wathen did brilliantly to claw away with his hand. Then the keeper was called upon to make a save with his feet.

L Suleja and D Loescher worked tirelessly to keep wave after wave of long balls at bay, and J Tower helped out at right back to make two clearances, before finally Salisbury made the break through to go 1 0 up at HT.

Romsey regrouped and the second. Half started like the first, this time J Harwood and D Andrews cut out every ball in the midfield with support of Duke, to set up Hendy and then E Colyer.

Another move saw Hendy and Duke interchange passes and when the keeper saved Dukes first attempt his followed up was stopped on the line with a foot for a penalty stroke. Duke stepped up and put the ball low in to the bottom left corner for 1 1 in a Man if the Match performance.

Romsey continued their onslaught, with Parker and Cav strong down the left and Tower and Colyer equally effective down the left.

Colyer played in C Harwood in the last few minutes his shot hit a foot, but Romsey failed to convert penalty corner chances and the game finished 1 1.

Romsey remain unbeaten so far this season, but this game felt like two points dropped in what was a see-saw encounter.

Romsey started brightly but couldn’t quite make that final pass in to the circle to create an opening, passes from Dave Andrews and Phil Humphreys just missing Romsey sticks, and Will Ritchie was unlucky when his shirt just went wide with the keeper beaten.

When Hamble attacked Stu Robertson in central defence ably covered and James Tower and Ben Parker were strong and solid either side, so it was somewhat disappointing that from a penalty corner that Romsey appeared to have closed down the initial danger, the ball found its way back to the striker to give Hamble the lead as keeper Bryn Wathen came across to try and block the shot but it went past him in to the goal.

Romsey raised their game and James Fuller and Will Ritchie combined down the right for Josh Harwood to almost get a shot away, and when Dave Andrews won a long corner, Colin Harwood moved to the 23 yard line to take it. His pass square to Josh Harwood saw Humphreys make a run that took the defender so Harwood junior threaded the ball through to the advancing Harwood senior who slammed the ball in from the top of the circle under the advancing keeper for a 1 1 half time score line.

Romsey dominated at the start of the second half, man of the match Will Ritchie won a penalty corner at the start of the half, and great work from Elliott Colyer down the right allowed Romsey to advance in to the circle and win another.

From the penalty corner, Stu Robertson played the ball right from the top of the circle to Ritchie who took a touch and then produced a wonderful strike to put Romsey 2 1 up. Ritchie then had to leave the field as a shot from Harwood was kicked up in to the young lads forehead from the keeper.

From the penalty corner Romsey won a penalty stroke as Harwoods goal abound  follow up shot was stoped on the lie with a foot.

Harwood delegated the stroke to Robertson, but the keeper made an amazing save to keep the score 2 1.

Romsey has a third goal scored by Josh Harwood disallowed for a third party obstruction, and this seemed to spur on Hamble.

With just three minutes remaining and after solid defending from Rob Cavalier and Ben Parker down the left the ball was eventually moved in to the circle and after a scramble Hamble equalised.

A disappointing point, but with good news that Ritchie was OK after having to go off and get checked out, Romsey head to Salisbury next week.

Romsey travelled to Wide Lane looking to get the season back on track against a strong Southampton University 3s side.

The match started in typical frantic fashion. Romsey struggled to string passes together as the University side pressed high and put pressure on the ball. That pressure told early as Romsey lost the ball on the halfway line and the students surged forwards setting up an easy finish from the penalty spot.

Romsey tried to orchestrate an immediate comeback but despite some good breaks found it difficult to create any clean cut chances. Continuing to commit men forward, the travelling team were dispossessed on the opposition 25 in the dying minutes resulting in a 3 on 1 counter attack and another goal to take the score to 2-0 at the break.

Half time brought about a lively discussion and concluded with a Spencer Le Grande inspired change in approach.

A slightly deeper midfield gave more passing options for the defence and the more composed approach to developing attacks created immediate success. A well worked short corner took the scores to within one as Rob Noble rifled the ball across the D and Rob Kerr slotted home from close range.

Romsey continued to look in control for large parts of the second half and an inevitable equaliser came by way of Martin Simpson-Scott’s reverse stick with 15 minutes to play. It looked like that breakthrough could signal more and Romsey were favourites to win for the remainder of the match. A couple of half chances were batted away before a last minute string of University short corners set hearts racing but were soundly dismissed by the solid Romsey defence.

The 2-2 draw a fair result in the end. Both teams would feel they could have won it but a battling comeback gave promise for the upcoming games. A special mention

MOM: Rob Noble

DOD: Rob Kerr – always bring a match shirt

Despite last week’s 2-3 setback; a reasonably confident, but depleted RHC 2nd’s set off literally into

the eye of the storm – Storm Brian – to face US Portsmouth. However, bar a pre-match shower, it

was not to be the elements but the on field antics that proved tempestuous!

As expected, RHC’s defence were soon put under pressure by a speedy, feisty, well-drilled

opposition, who constantly probed and harried to get the ball. Mostly fairly, but always pushing the

limits. All decisions were verbally contested and RHC’s young team did well to remain composed.

Rob N and Jimmy P worked tirelessly to contain very lively forwards, ably supported by JCB and Hugh

Davidson. Many attacks were snuffed out and those that did get through found Nigel K back to his

best in goal. In midfield, Ali N and Greig S worked their socks off with Cam Le G and Ben D a constant

threat out wide. Unfortunately, RHC were always chasing, as such there was not much joy in the

final quarter. Neil S had to come back to get any ball; in effect, we were forced into a half-court

game – their choice, not ours! This constant pressure was always likely to tell and resulted in several

penalty corners against. RHC dealt well against good, varied routines, but one deflected shot found

its way through the RHC wall, via a defenders body. 1-0 down at half-time; all things considered not

a bad half.

Efforts remained positive in the second half, but an early penalty corner shot wide for a planned

deflection soon made it 2-0 down. Pressure started to tell and, as tempers started to fray, umpire

control started to degenerate. To be fair, the home umpire did issue three green cards and one

yellow to US P… but RHC also picked up two separate yellow cards. On reflection, all justified.

During this period of to and fro, both sides were awarded several penalty corners, more to US P than

RHC, but neither side could convert. RHC played the last 10 minutes one player short, home pressure

told and an overload led to a third goal against. Undeterred, RHC kept playing structured hockey, but

a last minute breakaway 3 v 1 on goal left the final score 4-0 down.

In summary, a difficult game and certainly one of our more demanding. However, there were several

fine personal performances. Both defence and midfield actually played quite well, our formation

worked and we have gelled as a team. Unfortunately, this time, we were just a little bit too

stretched. Both Noah and Bailey, playing in midfield, showed flashes of inspiration and are certainly

prospects for the future – well done both! We now face 5 very winnable league games. If we believe

and execute our routines as planned, we will do it.

MoM: Cam & Rob N (excellent performances)

DoD: Ali (over strenuously defending the cause; he likes the hat anyway)

Romsey faced a tricky away trip to Lavant who boasted a 100% record from their three previous outings in the season so far, while Romsey had played only once picking up an away point.

The game started evenly, and it was the solid defence of Romsey, with Duncan Sanders and Dave Loescher commanding the centre at the back that allowed Ben Parker to play a superb clearance to Elliot Colyer.  The youngster moved the ball up the Romsey right before playing it on to Colin Harwood, his first time pass played in James Fuller, who had much to do.  The 13 year old Fuller drove down the right and cut in to the Lavant circle pulling the Lavant keeper to cover the near post, Fuller calmly played it to the back post for Josh Harwood to coolly swipe the ball in for 1-0.

Soon after Romsey doubled their lead, some good central interchange of passes between the reliable Dave Andrews, Rob Cavalier and Josh Harwood see the latter move in to the circle, after his first attempt was blocked Harwood reverse swept the ball in to the far corner for 2-0 Romsey.

Romsey then had to absorb some Lavant pressure, but a long clearance from the Romsey circle found its way up field via Carl Hendy and James Fuller, with the Lavant keeper then in two minds as to whether to leave it or keep it in play, his weak clearance was picked up by Josh Harwood who finished in style for his hat-trick in his Man of the Match performance.

This saw Lavant raise their game, and after winning a couple of penalty corners which Romsey stoutly defended, a good through ball saw debutant Romsey keeper Nick Welby upend the centre forward, and a penalty stroke was awarded.  Welby, who hadn’t played a match for 21 years, was more than up for the challenge, using his experience to calmly save the stroke and keep it 3-0 at half time.

The second half saw Romsey absorbing pressure, James Tower at right full back was able to clear on a number of occasions and allow Elliot Colyer and James Fuller to break, and a good move between the two played in Josh Harwood to cross for Colin Harwood, who managed to push his shot on the base of the post and the rebound was cleared.

Romsey stretched their lead soon afterwards though, when Carl Hendy played in Colin Harwood who made no mistake pushing the ball past the keeper and the far post for 4-0.

Lavant still upped their game, and stout defending from Stuart Robertson saw him take a nasty deflection above his right eye and had to leave the field for the rest of the match.  This allowed Lavant to finally pull a goal back after two fine saves from Welby and clearances from Parker, Loescher and Sanders.

Lavant pushed for a second, and Romsey looked tired, but a long clearance upfield from Parker to Cavalier allowed the left half to play the ball to Colin Harwood, with Lavant having committed players up field Harwood took the ball in to the circle and his shot bounced under the keepers foot for 5-1.

Lavant had the last word with a consolation in last minute for 5-2, but Romsey were delighted with their efforts which were built on solid defending and great central midfield play from Dave Andrews and Josh Harwood, allowing the younger players to express themselves brilliantly.

Romsey 2nd XI welcomed a strong Swanage and Wareham team to HCS to defend our position at top of the table. Romsey fielded a strong line-up, but with a couple of regulars away, some positional rejigging was required.

The acclimatisation period was evident for the first 10 minutes as we figured things out. A few weak passes and some equally weak tackling allowed Swanage to counter repeatedly, although the back four of Rob, Noah, Jamie and Ben did manage to keep them at bay, with the experienced Nigel making his usually selection of spritely saves. Eventually we settled down and started playing some good hockey. Pass speed went up and we made some good counter breaks down both wings through Cameron and Ben Davidson, with Ali and Christian both finding the wide men regularly.

The breakthrough eventually came from some good interpassing between Mozza, Art and fellow forwards in the Swanage D, with Ali managing to get on the end of one for a “lanky reverse stick wobble” shot into the back of the goal.

Swanage however, quickly clawed on back with some good passing to find a lone forward who managed to slot away an opportunistic reverse stick shot. 1-1 at half time.

The second half saw Romsey continue to play some good fast hockey. Swanage, obviously tiring from a frantic first 35 mins, opted to sit deeper in their own half after the whistle. This allowed us to build our attacks more constructively and penetrate their D on regular occasions. Cameron particularly effective on the left wing, until a cynical Swanage shoulder rendered him unable to walk on a dodgy ankle.

Romsey bagged their second goal after an Ali Nawn short-corner piledriver drilled a Swanage defender on the foot infront of goal. P-flick awarded, Ali to step up and slot away. 2-1.

The lead was short lived though, when Swanage countered quickly, making their way down field for yet another reverse stick shot into the back of the net. 2-2.

Romsey then really started taking the game to Swanage to claw back the lead. Some fantastic one-two passing upfront leading to some good chances often shying just wide of the mark. The rare chance Swanage did manage to get into our D, they won a short, and a rather effective drag flick into the top left gave them the lead. 3-2.

With time running out, Romsey piled the pressure on Swanage for the remainder of the game with frantic play upfront trying to find that last goal. Unfortunately, time ran out before we were able to get a successful shot in.

Overall, a really good performance from the 2nd XI in terms of quality hockey and shear effort. The scoreline was not really a fair reflection of the game, but Swanage proved to be a more physical and experienced side than we have faced so far this year. Onwards and upwards.

DoD: Nigel King – ‘dropping the mic’ in the team Whatsapp group chat

MoM: team as whole from good all round performance

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