Men

Focus for Men

Romsey had another tough encounter, but managed to make it four wins in a row in against a strong Salisbury.

Salisbury started strongly, but with James T moving up to centre midfield to support Josh H, the two started to gain control of the game. The two played a number of interchangeable passes and Dan B and Carl H both had half chances, but Romsey couldn’t make the early break through.

Romsey had two more chances when Colin H broke in to the circle, his first effort went wide of the far post, and his second effort whilst on target was a disappointing shot too close to the Keeper.

Romsey eventually won a penalty corner, and Carl H made no mistake, after Stuart R’s neat trap, with his low drilled shot inside the post.

Romsey doubled their advantage when Stuart R beat three players on his was in to the circle, his shot come cross was touched on by Carl Hendy where Josh H found himself unmarked at the far post to turn and shoot for 2-0 at Half Time.

Salisbury had a break away, and as Bryn W came out to narrow the angle, the Salisbury forward to it wide round him, but could only lift his shot in to the side netting.

Salisbury started the second half as they had the first, except this time they made their pressure pay by winning a penalty corner and as Carl H as done for Romsey drilled in a shot for 2-1.

They continued to press, and Romsey were indebted to Colin H for making three key interceptions as he added his centre back cover to that of right back and left back in the second half.

With Ben Parker solid at left back, he and Elliot Colyer started to make some moves back in to the Salisbury half, but Dan B couldn’t get the vital touch to move the ball on.

Matt Duke made the Romsey right half his own as time went on, and he made a number of passes with Josh H to get in to the circle, before setting up Carl H took control to make it 3-1.

Romsey couldn’t hold their two goal advantage for long, and Salisbury pulled a goal back when a Bryn W save was controlled by the Salisbury forward to smash in the goal for 3-2.

Romsey needed their fourth goal, Dan B was unlucky when he took the ball up to the keeper but the ball ran the wrong side of the post.

With Lukasz S becoming the saviour in the final moments making a number of important interceptions, Romsey were able to run out 3-2 winners.

Romsey went in to this encounter off the back of a fine win last week against the second placed team, Hamble a place below then appeared on paper to be an easier fixture, but it didn’t work out that way.

Romsey dominated the first ten minutes, creating fin runs in to the last quarter through Matt D and Josh H, with Greig S providing good cover support, but Sean R and Dan B couldn’t get any final touches.

Josh H made one run and elected to pass when Sean R and Carl H had taken the two defenders away and the young midfielder may have been better to go through on his own.

With Bryn W in goal making a tremendous clearance when he took the ball cleanly and the Hamble forward went spinning over him, Romsey returned to pushing forward.

Romsey won a penalty corner and Ben P dispatched to Greig S who lifted the ball in to the top corner, the Keeper got a hand to it but it dropped down over the line to give Romsey a 1 0 lead.

Greig went close again when Carl H set him up but a fine save kept the ball out and Matt D couldn’t get to the follow up before it was cleared.

In the second half Romsey piled forward, Andy M on the right and Barry H on the left in only their second matches did well down both flanks but Romsey couldn’t score.

Josh H set up Carl H to shoot wide and Sean R then was played in only to see his shot from a narrow angle cannon back off the post.

Lukasz S and Ben P were commanding at the back allowing James T and Rob C to push forward but this left Romsey exposed to the counter attack.

Man of the match Bryn W in goal saved what looked like a certain equaliser when he saved with his left leg in a three on one situation to maintain Romseys third clean sheet in their three matches since Christmas.

With the Hamble GK saving twice from Colin H, Dan B had a chance to make it 2 0 when played in by Sean R but the keeper was again in inspired form and came out to the top of the circle to save the goal bound shot.

Romsey Hockey Club is committed to protecting the welfare and safety of the children at our club. The latest Safeguarding Parent / Legal Guardian Information and Guidance document can be downloaded here.

RHC Parent / Legal Guardian Information and Guidance

The document covers:

  • What can you expect from RHC?
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Please take a few minutes to review the one page document; Safeguarding is a club wide responsibility.

Romsey took on high flying second placed Lavant, trying to repeat their efforts of the away match when they deservedly won 5-2, with four players making their Romsey debut.

Romsey came out of the blocks on top, and applied pressure early on through Josh H & Chris H controlling midfield and James T holding the right.  Dan B made a great move to the left and played in Sean R, but the striker couldn’t get the ball the right side of the post.

Romsey maintained possession, and control at the back from Lukasz S and Duncan S kept releasing the ball to Ben P as excellent relief play to ensure Romsey kept the ball in the Lavant half.

Romsey eventually won a penalty corner and a good one two at the top of the circle between Dave M and Colin H saw a strike on goal balloon up of a Lavant foot towards the goal, the ball was cleared back to Dave M who made no mistake for 1-0.

Romsey then had to absorb Lavant pressure after they changed their Goalkeeper, and the defence of Nick W in goal was superbly supported by Lukasz, Duncan and Dave M, with the Harwood brothers coming back to ensure Romsey maintained the ball.

Romsey doubled their lead before half time when Chris H got the ball at the top of the circle and beat two men to allow himself time to cross for ace marksman Carl H to coolly plant it in for 2-0.

The second half belonged to Romsey, and with the defence solid, Chris H was played in at the top of the circle and smashed an unstoppable shot in to the bottom corner for 3-0.

Then a pass from Colin H to Josh H saw the man of the match strike on goal and the shot bounced under the keeper for 4-0 , a repeat move five minutes later saw Colin H’s cross-shot stopped by Josh H and he calmly rolled the ball in for his second, and 5-0.

With Andy M and then Dan B on the right dominate and interchanging with James T, Romsey were able to ensure they got a sixth goal, young Barry Hatch played the ball to Sean R and up popped Colin H for 6-0.

There was still time for an outstanding save from Nick W, which pleased Romsey to keep the clean sheet, and Romsey who have three games in hand on Lavant remain 9 points behind the second placed team after a fantastic win.

Another one of ‘those’ weeks – RHC2XI were once again struck by a severe lack of availability, as a rag-tag team comprising a mixture of 2’s, 3’s and 4’s players made the long trip to Swanage to play an eminently beatable Swanage side. Returning were heroes of old Carl Hendy (making his 101st appearance for RHC2XI) and Colin Harwood (making his 102nd RHC2XI appearance). Joining the ranks, and making his debut, was ‘Dan’… and he was joined by young pretenders Will Richards, Josh Harwood and Matt Loveday… who on the evidence of their performances today, are worthy of monitoring closely with a view to permanent elevation.

Following a rousing pre-match address from captain Ali, the away side started incredibly well. Sensible, simple hockey was supported by a youthful exuberance and energy that more than just holding Swanage at bay, threatened to steal the lead. Notable amongst these early opportunities, a break down the right-hand-side saw Mozza hit the byeline, to cut the ball back to a very intelligently positioned Dan, who glanced the ball centimetres wide; a very encouraging indication of the natural attacking movement of this striker, on debut. Shortly after this chance, Captain Ali went close from a penalty corner, and Matt Loveday was similarly close to a reverse stick goal following a defence-splitting, cross-field long ball from Mozza – the keeper making an excellent save from close range.

It felt against the run of play, but it was Swanage who struck with two late goals in the first half. Both finished well, with defence and keeper blameless – there are times where you must simply say ‘well played’. 2-0 at half-time, and consensus from all that despite the scoreline, it had been an outstanding first half performance. Characterised by sensible, intelligent hockey from the likes of Colin Harwood – electing to crash the ball down the lines from defensive positions when attacking players were waiting to receive, rather than encouraging play back inside (something that while laudable, has cost RHC2XI a number of goals recently in trying to play their way out of defence in recent games).

So… the second half began with a similar level of commitment and energy from RHC2XI, buoyed by a determination to enjoy the game, and express themselves. Early chances again materialised; ‘Dan’, following some magnificent hold-up play as lone striker on the edge of the ‘D’, delivering an outstanding ball for the onrushing Connor to place the ball just wide of the target. The pass of the game. Carl, replacing Mozza, showed similarly brilliant hold-up play shortly afterwards – and Romsey were unlucky to see Connor’s strike from the resulting reverse stick through ball, saved expertly by the keeper. Mozza, making a run across the top of the ‘D’, created space for a reverse stick strike – again, well-saved by the Swanage keeper.

Frustratingly, it was then Swanage who again managed to find two more goals, as Romsey desperately pressed for the goal that would bring them back into the game. The intervening period produced a green card for the Romsey keeper Nigel King for requesting umpire dialogue (following disagreement between the officials) following the award of a goal to Swanage from a short corner – and this may have further galvanised the iron resilience this team demonstrates – week-in, week-out – to keep going and keep working, whatever the scoreline. Excellent work by Colin Harwood on the right side, somehow finding himself in the ‘D’ from the right-back position, resulted in a scrappy but well-taken goal by Matt Loveday.

4-1 the final result then, but so much to take from this game that was positive. Ben Davidson deserves a special mention in dispatches; playing an unfamiliar centre back role, his second half performance in particular was sensational as he picked tackle after tackle, and made countless interceptions. ‘Dan’ too, on debut for the club, showing a natural ability that the club will hope to harness again into the future. It should also be noted (his words not mine!) that Carl Hendy hit the post with only his second touch, back in the RHC2XI side for the first time in 2 years. Millimetres from equalling the RHC2XI current scoring record – the fox in the box ain’t lost it!

MoM:  Josh and Colin Harwood (though this may have been self-awarded lol!)

DoD:  Ali N (green card, not going back for teas (as captain), and absent from DoD vote even though he knows everyone likes him to have the hat).

Back home against a lower team, RHC 2nd XI might have been forgiven expecting to win.  However, team captain Ali N again faced availability and selection difficulties.  In the final event, RHC took to the field with 12 players, but with only one preferred defender, Dave M.  Ali and Ben D dropped back to sweeper and right defender respectively, and Archie A found himself at left defender; a role he carried out with aplomb (more later).  On the positive side, Greig S returned from injury.

RHC made a slow start, possibly due to a less than arduous warm up.  Play was reasonably even for the first 10 minutes, but then Fareham won a series of rather strict penalty corners.    Unfortunately, the first was turned in by RHC’s post man and a breakdown at the fourth led to a short range shot being smashed home.  0-2 down with a quarter of the game gone.  To RHC’s credit, the team then really started to play well.  Midfield duo Greig and Felix C-S supported by Ali from sweeper and Connor O’D and Zac C wide, started to take control.  Bailey B also played well as a midfield substitute  Several near misses, good saves and the post, twice, kept RHC at bay.  However, eventually, this sustained pressure led to goals from Mozza S-S and James F.  2-2 at halftime seemed a fair reflection.

For a change, RHC started the second half where they left off, camped in the Fareham half.  Several strong plays resulted in James F eventually slamming in a rising shot from the edge of the D.  However, this joy was shot lived as yet another defensive lapse found a stray Fareham player free in the D, 3-3.  Incredibly, this sequence of scoring was then repeated.  RHC scored through Mozza S-S following yet another fine team move, but Fareham then responded by driving into our D and scoring with a fine low open play flick.

In summary, a good up and down game.  Somewhat frustrating that we did not win, but we must sort out our defensive lapses.  Greig and Felix played particularly well in midfield and Archie worked hard in a totally unfamiliar role; Bailey B also played his part.  Looking ahead, two broader club issues need to be resolved, where are the defenders and should a better balance of old/young be employed throughout the Club.

MoM:  Greig S and Archie A (excellent commitment).

DoD:  Ali N (20 minutes late, green card and absent from DoD vote).

Due to an administrative oversight, RHC 2nd XI found themselves meeting at 7.30am for a 10am start.  Just as the first half of the season ended, the second half started – in total darkness!  RHC’s difficulties were further compounded by travelling with eleven with only two regular defenders.   Captain Ali N faced a dilemma, drop himself back to sweeper or remain at centre midfield.  In the end, he was convinced to play the latter, with Ben M and Art B assuming unusual defensive roles.

RHC made an excellent start.  A strong run down the left by Connor O’D found Mozza S-S high and free; a quick turn and slip under the advancing goalkeeper and 1-0 up within the first minute.  RHC enjoyed sustained pressure for several minutes.  However, numerous shots and penalty corners all came to nought with James F, Felix C-S and Zac C all making positive contributions.  Blandford then woke up and started to play their part leading to several penalty corners for the home side.  However, it was from open play that they drew level.  An initial shot was well saved by Nigel K, but in the ensuing breakdown, a rasping reverse stick shot only deflected off his stick and in.  Play then continued up and down, with poor pass selection and/or fine defending keeping scores level.  RHC were indebted to Rob N who made many fine interceptions in central defence.

Despite a positive half-time talk, RHC’s play then followed a familiar routine.  Promising much, but failing to deliver.   Several attacks went close, but too many individual runs were made resulting in lost possession.  As the pressure came on, concentration levels dropped.  Midfield players failed to react to turnovers and RHC defenders found themselves overloaded.  Something had to give.  Two lapses in defence found loose forwards able to slot home close range shots.  Disappointingly, this left us with a final score of 1-3 against and no points for our efforts.

In summary, a mixed and, at times, frustrating game.  Several classy moves, particularly in the first half, but not quite so good in the second half.  Yes, we competed; the game was actually quite even.  However, we forgot our game plan; we failed to move the ball around at pace, pressed too hard and possession seemed less valued.  As a team, we can do it, but we need to be more consistent.

MoM:  Rob N (excellent commitment).

DoD:  Not awarded (too many sinners!).

Romsey thought they would have just the bare 11 players for this fixture, but played two thirds of the match with only 10, and this made the result even more magnificent.

Despite their lower numbers Romsey started brightly, Rob Cav and James T linking up down the right to craft move in to the circle and then Will R and Ben P doing the same down the left to raise confidence.

Josh H received the ball in the centre of the pitch and then went on a run towards the right of the circle, his skill and pace saw him beat three players before crossing to ace marksman Carl H who made no mistake shooting first time to put Romsey 1 0 up.

Romsey continued to create chances Will R nearly scoring from the top of the circle and Colin H having a shot from a penalty corner move cleared off the line.

The defence was solid, Bryn W covered his angles at his near post when Alton did get in,  but Duncan S and Lukasz S stopped everything coming centrally and were on top from playing hits from the circle out and up to Carl H who as the lone striker held the ball up brilliantly.

Romsey knew they would tire in the second half but the younger trio of Will R, Josh H and James T didn’t show any signs and continued to put Alton on the back foot.

Romseys 11th player turned up with 20 minutes to play and this added to the attack, Josh H saw his shot rebound back off the post, before a few minutes later he and Carl H set up Matt L to shoot, his initial shot was deflected in for 2 0.

Romsey wrapped up the win with another well worked goal like their first, Colin H panted a free hit to Josh H on the edge of the circle Down to the right corner. Josh H smashed his cross to the far side of the circle for Matt L to shoot first time for a 3 0 victory.

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!).

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