M2 Match Reports

Romsey Men’s 2’s first outing of the season meant a trip to Fareham at HMS Collingwood. With a few of the regulars absent from the line up, it meant that at the start of play it was an unfamiliar 11 players lined up to take on this unpredictable Fareham 6’s side.

You wouldn’t have thought that this bothered Romsey at all after watching the initial 10 minutes of Hockey, with some good passing and creative skill to create an opening for Captain of the day “Mozza” to score. The move was Romsey’s best of the match so far with good work from Ben Davidson, now revelling in the spot light after his older brother Hugh while he’s away, to get in down the right and a quick pass to Sam B who squared for Moz at far post. 1-0 to Romsey.

In the space of the next 10 minutes however, Fareham had got themselves in front. Overloads in the Romsey D helped by hitting the ball long through the channels, thusly cutting out the entire midfield, meant Fareham started looking dangerous going forward and an extra man at back post on one move meant Fareham were able to fire home for the 1st to go 1-1. The second came after a tough 10 minutes for the Romsey defence with Nigel King providing some excellent saves until finally having one get past him on the rebound for Fareham to go 2 -1 up

Romsey responded well though and after some constant pressure pegging Fareham back, another nice move down the right from Ben led to Art Barcia having enough space to set up his brother Sam Barcia to first time reverse hit low at the back post under the Fareham keeper for Romsey to go back to 2 – 2.

Half time talks were constructive and after a conversation between defensive stalwarts Jim Ponsford and Rob Noble, the defensive shape was altered slightly to block out the long hitting tactics of Fareham in the most part of the second half. Fareham pushed forward to try and get back in front but never looked as dangerous as they did in the first half. Romsey on the other hand were moving the ball nicely with Man of the Match Felix Chapman-Sheath providing some quick one twos to help make it 3 – 2 to Romsey. This time it was Sam again who broke free at the top of the D and produced a majestic flick to lob the keeper as he slid out. Quite superb.

4 – 2 to Romsey came in the dying minutes of the game as a now tired looking Fareham pushed higher up the field were cut down by a fantastic passing move which ended up in Cameron Le-Grande hitting the ball home in clinical fashion to seal the game.

It was a tough first away game of the season for Romsey 2’s but the cool heads and the constant threat of their front five meant they came away with a well fought 3 points to keep them top of Hants Division 4.

After two months of reasonable game and set piece training, but hampered by poor pre-league availability, a buoyant Romsey team finally delivered the goods against a relatively limited 10-man opposition.  Playing with our preferred single forward, five-man midfield and one-three defence plus three subs, a crushing result of 9-1 in our favour provided just the start that was needed.

RHC got the perfect start when Mozza Simpson-Scott seized on a defensive error to round the keeper within the first minute; this was backed up by a mazy, lanky run plus lunge from Ali Nawn – 2-0 in ten minutes.  Play then continued back and forth for most of the half.  Surprisingly, B&S won the first few penalty corners, but the home defence, well marshalled by Rob Noble and Jimmy Ponsford, held firm.  Following a couple of sharp saves from Nigel King in goal, a loopy miss-hit deceived everyone – 2-1!  Disappointed, but not undone, RHC immediately responded with Tom Wigley easing through and making it 3-1.  RHC then started to really dominate.  Strong performances from Jamie Sanderson in defence aided by Ben Davidson on the right and Felix Chapman-Sheath and Mozza higher up ensured that the ball was kept alive; several further chances went begging.  Not that everything was all one sided, the left flank of James Croft-Baker (JCB) and Cameron Le Grande also provided a constant threat.

After a positive half-time talk, RHC really turned the screw.  Six more goals followed:  Tom, Mozza, Ben, Ali and Noah Cooper (2).  Overall, RHC used the ball well, switching left and right, probing, but coming back as required; exactly to plan.  Even better, player availability for ball release was much improved; good calling and direction also helped.  On the down side, some ill considered individual runs, the odd aerial or wishful 45 degree pass still led to lost possession; patience is needed here.  Play the game plan, simple, considered; keep the ball, then pounce.  RHC gained any number of penalty corners.  Whilst we did not score, there were several near misses and, in the main, all routines looked dangerous.  Considering we had 14 players and numerous substitutions, it was good to see the team so effective in this essential set play; well worth our pre-league practices.

In summary, an excellent start against a weaker team; more demanding games will follow.  League debutants Jamie (MoM), Noah and Felix all played their part – well done.  Given their ages and relative inexperience, this was really pleasing.  A further mention must also go to Spencer Le Grande who managed to execute Ali’s substitution plan without fault; pace, structure and rhythm were maintained throughout.  Not mentioned above, but still worthy of note:  Christian Pain for a mature performance in central midfield playing ahead of Ali and Dave Miles who covered most positions in defence at some stage.

In the first run out after the Christmas break, Romsey HC 2’s were keen to put the miserable end to the previous year behind them. Losing in back to back games against Title Rivals Hamble and lowly Bournemouth had put Romsey on the brink of being pushed out the race to Hants Div 3.
Emotions were high, adrenaline was higher and Romsey started the match at an unprecedented tempo immediately putting League leaders Haslemere on the back foot.
Within 10 minutes the wave after wave of slick passing movement between the Romsey front 3 and the pacey wingers Romsey got their first short corner. A simple quick push out to the top of D on the impeccable Romsey pitch gave Ali Nawn a chance to let loose a powerful strike under the foot of the flailing Haslemere keeper, 1 nill to RHC.
Romsey looked dominant in possesion and strong at the back proving a strong opposition for Haslemere until a rare attack saw Haslemere cut back from the byline, causing the pass to glance off a Romsey foot in the D and setting up the Haslemere forward to shoot low and sure into the bottom left of the goal. 1-1.
The second half started with a fast tempo and both teams felt they could snatch the crucial 3 points with end to end attacking pleasing the now substantial spectator numbers. A rejuvenated Haslemere looked the most dangerous and Romsey seemed to be hanging on for the first time in the game, with the two pacey Haslemere forwards causing havoc attacking the Romsey goal at speed making Veteran Goalie ‘Safe hands Nige’ to pull off some classy saves, somehow keeping Romsey in it, as well as securing him MOM in the process.
Sadly even these heroics had to come to an end eventually and Haslemere completed a slick 1, 2 move at the top of the Romsey D that some say resembled “a hot knife through butter” with Haslemere scoring and going 2-1 up with 15 to go.
Romsey never really looked like getting back in the game after that and with committing more and more men forward in a valiant effort to equalise got got at the back once again and Haslemere scored again to make it 3-1.
The game ended as such and a battered and bruised Romsey left the arena knowing that not only that this result may well have ended their chance of promotion this season, but also that they have some serious thinking to do before the next fixture against Yately.

Promotion to Hants Div 4 has proved to be a challenge that has been more than met by the 2nd’s unique blend of youth, good journeymen, mature ex-stars and the downright ancient! However, inconsistency and, at times, a lack of understanding and focus, as to just what is our team strategy, have led to mixed results. Strong victories against Haslemere 3rd (6-4), Yateley 3rd (6-0), Soton University 3rd (3-0), Fareham 6th (3-0) and Swanage & Wareham 1st (7-1) plus creditable draws against Havant 4th (2-2) and Fleet & Ewshot 1st (2-2) were somewhat let down by dour draws against US Portsmouth 1st (2-2) and, disappointingly, Aldershot & Farnham 3rd (3-3) plus defeats against Hamble 2nd (1-2) and Bournemouth 4th (0-2). In defeat, our performance at Hamble was excellent, reflecting a keen team ethic, even if heads dropped following a few strange umpiring decisions. However, our efforts against Bournemouth left much to be desired; too much route one and not enough patient build-up. At the mid-point, we find ourselves 4th, some 6 points behind the leaders, Haslemere. Yet, we could so easily have gained those 6 points and who knows what? Frustrating for all, but a good lesson, which might yet reinvigorate the brain cells?! 

Player strengths and a need to control midfield have led to us having to play a midfield heavy formation. Basically, 1 or 2 forwards, 4 or 5 in midfield and a reasonably conventional 4 man defence. Width is provided by the wide midfield players and, providing we move up and down at the pace of our 2 or 3 central midfield players, we have been able to control significant periods in most games; goals and penalty corners have flowed. However, if personal discipline drops, possession becomes harder to maintain and we seem to revert to the long hopeful pass. All that this guarantees is lost possession and tired legs, as we have discovered to our cost. Our defence, in the main, has been well marshalled with few obvious mistakes; we currently have the best defensive record in the league.    

 

Availability has been reasonably consistent, but injuries and diary bookings have knocked us on occasion. Squad members are listed below.

 

Attack: Martin Simpson-Scott, Matchey Lincoln, James Fraser, Christian Pain, Ali Nawn, Joe Powell, Cameron Le Grande, Chris Harwood, Greig Stewart.  

 

Defence: Hugh Davidson, Ben Davidson, Jimmy Ponsford, Rob Noble, James Croft-Baker, Morgan Robertson, Nigel King (GK).  

 

Plus: Jonathan Cuff, Connor O’Dowda, Jon Marsh, Simon Morford, Jim East.

 

In summary, a good start to a new, stronger league. All players have played their part with many moments of magic from the very youngest all the way through to most ancient; as evidenced by the numerous different men of the match! Looking ahead, team work is everything and we can produce more. Despite the diverse mix, we all seem to thrive off each other and there is a nice buzz around the team. If we can further stir up the collective gel and keep the ball, we can really do things. Only time will tell?! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Anon.  

 

 

 

 

Team

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Romsey men’s 2nd XI continued their winning start to the season with a thumping 6-0 win over Yateley.

The visitors were hampered by an early injury to their centre forward who made little impression to the game, save to occupy one of the home defenders.

Martin Simpson Scott netted the opener when his well struck shot was deflected beyond the away keeper.

Romsey doubled their advantage when Jonathan Cuff wove a mazy path around 5 away defenders before finding James Fraser who crashed home from 9 yards in clinical fashion.

Romsey turned the screw after the break, Simpson Scott grabbing his second, smashing home a Greig Stewart pass shovelled on by Jonathan Cuff.

Fourth was a memorable solo effort from Matchey Lincoln, self passing close to the circle, advancing in and shooting high past the keepers right glove.

Ali Nawn missed a penalty stroke awarded for a foot on the goal line, but immediately made amends with a sharp reaction swat to net Simpson Scott’s looping shot over the GK.

Nawn completed the scoring with a brilliant rebound after man of the match Jonathan Cuff saw his penalty corner strike hit the base of the right hand post.

 

 

  The men’s 2s travelled to Gosport for a match that could define their season. The team, much changed from recent weeks was a mixture of youth and experience. Only 4 of their outfield players were over 18 and the lack of experience looked like it might turn the fixture into a banana skin for the visiting team.

Romsey started the match tentatively and quickly surrendered possession. The Romsey skipper then managed to kick the ball in his own D giving away a short corner. Gosport converted with a firm strike past Adam Sankey in the Romsey goal and were 1-0 after only 5 minutes.

Fortunately the shock of going behind galvanised Romsey from their slow start and they started to build up some control. The midfield pair of Ali Nawn and Christian Pain gave the visitors composure and Romsey started to pass the ball more confidently. Wingers Ben Davidson and Chris Harwood stretched the Gosport defence and Zak Cooper was a constant threat as the lone striker.

Romsey’s pressure started to tell and they secured a penalty corner of their own in the 23rd minute. A tidy routine saw a low drag flick from Pain hit the backboard, parity was restored.

Gosport owed much to their keeper who pulled of a series of stunning saves. Cooper saw two sharp deflections cleared off the line and then a penalty flick opportunity also went begging.

As the half wore on wing backs Hugh Davidson and James Manning found much more space and created mayhem with their mazes runs forward. It was one of these attacks that led to another Romsey penalty corner. In an effort to confuse the excellent home keeper Romsey varied their routine, Robertson received the ball at the top of the D held for a second a slipped the ball to Ben Davidson who made no mistake finishing neatly to go very the visitors the lead. Soon after Cooper went one on one with the Gosport goalie and although his initial effort was saved he picked up the rebound, lifted it over the keeper and scored. Romsey duly went to the turn with a comfortable 3-1 lead.

The second half saw Romsey continue to dominate an increasingly grumpy Gosport team. Great work from Ben Manning at centre back saw him win the ball and feed through to Joe Powell at inside forward. He turned his man and won another penalty corner. This time Romsey varied again, returning the injection straight back to man of the match Greig Stewart who managed to win the goal mouth scramble to put his team 4-1 up. Romsey’s last goal came again from a penalty corner. Pain struck hard but his first effort was saved. He picked up the rebound though and flicked hard past the on rushing Gosport keeper. Final score 5-1.

Romsey’s last match is against struggling Fordingbridge and it will take an likely series of results and the turnover of a 30 goal advantage for them not to be crowed champions next weekend.

Romsey were made to work in the first half for what will look like a one sided match, but the opening twenty minutes saw Romsey pressing but with no end result.
The best move in the opening period was a mazey run by Zak Cooper from his own half, but his pass to Ali Nawn couldn’t lead to a shot on goal.
Carl Hendy came on up front and his experience put pressure on the Havant defence, and with Matt Munro, Nawn and Greig Stewart then winning the midfield it was from James Manning cross Romsey won a penalty corner.

Stewart pushed out to Nawn, who shot, for Stewart to get a touch at the near post to put Romsey 1-0 up.
The lead was doubled soon after, again Manning crossed down the right and touch from James Croft-Baker found left back Hugh Davidson at the far post to sweep home for a 2-0 lead, and his first senior goal.
The arrears were almost reduced just before half time, but keeper Alex buck pulled off a tremendous one footed save from a Havant penalty corner to maintain the 2-0 half time scoreline.
In the second half Romsey went up a gear, Greig Stewart and Zak Cooper exchanged a number of one-two passes before Stewarts shot was saved and pushed across goal for Ben Manning to score for 3-0.
Stewart then took a quick free hit and ran in to the circle to shoot for 4-0 and soon after grabbed his hat trick with an even better shot.
Then it was Ali Nawn’s turn, picking up the ball from Munro, he weaved his way up the left, inside towards the circle, and then shot as he fell for 6-0.
With Skipper Stuart Robertson and centre back James Ponsford comfortable at the back, Romsey created wave after wave of attacks.  

Stalwart Hendy saw his shot saved by the keepers foot, before Nawn played in Colin Harwood to cross to Zak Cooper to get on the scoreline, and then Nawn played in Harwood who shot on the turn for 8-0 victory. 

The men’s 2s continued their impressive form following up on their 8-1 win over Salisbury with a 15-1 demolition of City of Portsmouth. With other results going their way the 2s cemented their position at the top of division 5 moving 3 points clear.
Romsey started the game in impressive fashion and were 1-0 up after 7 minutes. The visitors could not cope with Romsey’s passing game and by the turn were 9-0 down.
The Pompey skipper must have had the inspirational skills of Henry V and within minutes of the start of the second half they had pulled a goal back. The rally was short lived though and Romsey soon switched back on. Their second half display was less impressive though and they only managed another 6 more goals.
Romsey’s goals came from Tim Bailey with 5, 4 each from Martin Simpson-Scott and James Fraser and then one each from Joe Powell and Richard Lake. The 2s next match is away in Havant where another win will bring their hopes of promotion a little bit closer.

The men’s 2s produced their best performance of the season with an 8-1 demolition of Salisbury. The game started at a frantic pace with some end to end hockey. The deadlock was quickly broken though when Christian Pain threw an aerial behind the visitors defence for centre forward James Fraser to chase. He latched on to this and put a ferocious ball across the face of the goal where winger Tom Ponsford neatly deflected into the roof of the net.

This proved a false start for the home team and the scores were levelled soon after when Romsey failed to deal with a crash ball into their own D and the Salisbury front man deflected past goalie Adam Sankey. 

Romsey soon started to dominate. Their formidable midfield controlled the ball when in possession and the home side created a stifling press on Salisbury when they were not. Goals from James Fraser, Grieg Stewart, Rob Kerr and Ali Nawn completed the first half rout and Romsey went to the turn 5-1 to the good.

The flood gates appeared to have opened at the start of the second half. Within 2 minutes a home short corner routine saw an initial shot half stopped only for Chris Harwood to pop up at the near post with a neat reverse stick finish. Shortly after another short was slipped to Ponsford on the right whose shot found a hapless Salisbury foot on the line. The penalty was covered by Rob Kerr. 
This promising start to the half was not wholly capitalised on as Romsey seemed determined that everyone could get on the score sheet. A lot of pressure was not converted and the only goal action left saw Kerr complete his hatrick with a cheeky deflection in front of the visiting ‘keeper.

With a final score of 8-1 Romsey’s destiny is very much in their own hands.

The men’s 2s knew that if they returned from their day trip to the coast with points rather than just an empty bucket and spade then their destiny would remain in their own hands.

Weymouth’s young team started the game in a spirited manner threatening to but never quite making the most of their early pressure. Evergreen Dave Andrews and tyro Hugh Davidson snuffed out the wide threats which James Manning and skipper Stuart Robertson controlled the middle.

Romsey slowly started to play their own game as midfield general Ali Nawn and playmaker Christian Pain controlled and then created the match. Eventually some neat interplay gave Dave Miles possession in the Weymouth D where he won a short corner. Romsey’s routine was disrupted but a rebound was leapt on my Zak Cooper who broke the deadlock from a narrow angle. 1-0 at half time.

Romsey started the second half in a generous manner, regularly winning possession and then returning the ball to Weymouth for them to have another go. Inside forwards Ben Manning and Fergus Longman started to play with rythum and Chris Harwood was a constant threat down the wing. Eventually it was his pace the found him on the base line and his neat cross found James Croft-Baker at the back post were he made no mistake and secured the 3 points for the day trippers.

With Gillingham loosing Romsey now sit clear at the top of Division 5.

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