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Romsey 1st XI Vs. Surbiton 3rd XI: Hampshire Collegiate School

In the reverse fixture, the Abbey side were pinned down, and beaten into submission by the half time break, and history looked to be repeating itself. An extremely young Surbiton squad were eager to attack at any expense, and from push back, they launched an all-out assault, peppering the Romsey ‘D’, with crash balls at every opportunity. This proved, yet again, to be a thorn in the Romsey heel as a Surbiton forward found space to deflect past man of the match Lozz Scott.

Romsey’s problems looked set to only worsen. Following a spat of unconverted short corners, the Surrey side were awarded a penalty stroke, after a goal bound shot was illegally stopped on the goal line. The Surbiton striker stepped up and scuffed his strike. The miscued flick bobbled down the middle, almost embarrassing Scott who had readied himself to dive, fortunately the stroke bounced off both of Scott’s feet, before stopping dead just short of the goal line.

This warning spurred the home side on, who began to play some attacking hockey of their own, using their wide players to great effect. A solid defensive line from the Surrey team started to crumble, and a rarely seen predatory instinct took over with Romsey winning 3 penalty corners in as many minutes. Although the first 2 of which were not capitalised upon, the third was dispatched by Danny Miles with a flick, low to the left hand side of the Surrey ‘keeper.

What followed was a fiercely contested game of hockey. Romsey, caught napping from a long corner, failed to clear their lines, and were yet again punished from a routine set piece. A quick pass, and 1 touch deflection into the ‘D’ eliminated 4 players, and a scruffy phase of play ended with the ball being swept in the goal. The game continued in the same fashion, and Romsey leveled with a deflection. Jack Forrest-Charde found some space to look up and see the diagonal run of Chris Mason. A cleanly struck pass was met with the deftest of touches from mason, wrong footing the ‘keeper, and leveling the game. The Abbey side were growing into the game, and looked the better team leading up to the break. However, a few moments of bad ball management and lack of passing, left Romsey sighing with relief at the sound of the whistle.

Surbiton came out strong, and seemed intent on scoring early on. Pushing forwards high to pressure the Romsey back line seemed successful, fortunately for the yellows, they pushed their unsuccessful penalty corner attempts into double figures, with Scott making a number of vital saves to keep them within touching distance. Romsey, still competing, launched a number of their own attacks, twice missing from close range, and twice bested by the away ‘keeper in 1v1 situations. With 10 minutes remaining, a fierce tackle inside the 25 yard zone, resulted in a penalty corner for Romsey. Miles stepped up, and fired into the top left corner taking his 2017 tally to 7 goals in 5 games, to put the Abbey men ahead, 3-2.

Surbiton came agonisingly close to leveling, with a clearance of the line by David Edwards, and a diving save from Scott, Romsey appeared to be set for a second victory in 3 weeks. Ever the givers, and true to their form however, Romsey kindly offered the Londoners 2 final penalty corners with 2 minutes remaining. Riding their luck, the Hampshire side stumbled across the line, in a nail biting encounter. Finally learning from a few of their mistakes, Romsey look ahead to 3 Hampshire clashes in coming weeks. Is Regional survival on the cards?

Romsey took revenge from a home defeat before Christmas to take all three points in an evenly contested in game in which the away side took their chances and defended as a unit to keep the home side out for much of the match.
Romsey started on the offensive, and pressed Camberley in their own half, Dave Andrews and Chris Harwood pushed up and intercepted many clearances in order to maintain the pressure.

Carl Hendy was unlucky when his goal bound shot hit a foot, near the line, but a penalty corner was the result.
Romsey opened the scoring when Jamie Sanderson tackled in his own half, winning the ball and then moving forward with it he picked out Hendy, who controlled it and then played in Josh Harwood who found himself with only keeper to beat, which he did beautifully for his first league goal of the season.
Camberley then upped their game, and it was Romsey’s turn to soak up pressure. Will Richards at left back made two important tackles to keep Camberley out of the Romsey circle, and when eventually Camberley won a series of penalty corners it was first Dave Andrews deflecting the shot, then Ben Parker twice clearing the ball from around the goal line and Dave Loescher tidying up to ensure Camberley were frustrated.
As Romsey cleared their lines from another attack, Josh Harwood found himself with the ball deep in his own half, he played a pass to Colin Harwood on half way who turned and ran towards goal, as the last defender came towards him he played the ball out right to Chris Harwood who was moving at pace down the right wing, as Chris Harwood ran towards the circle he drew the goalkeeper out brilliantly before squaring the ball to up rushing Colin Harwood who first time played it in to the open goal for 2-0 HT lead to Romsey.
The second half started with Romsey again on the back foot, but Bryn Wathen in goal pulled off two fine saves to keep the Romsey goal in tact, before Loescher and then Duncan Sanders made two fine interceptions in their own circle to keep the scoreline 2-0.
An move up the pitch by Romsey saw Dave Andrews win the ball in the far right corner from the Camberley defender, he drove with the ball in to the circle, and as Carl Hendy kept won defender busy, Andrews passed to the top of the circle for Colin Harwood to rifle in an unstoppable shot for 3-0.
Camberley were not lying down however, and Wathen was forced to two more fine saves and Parker & Loescher two more clearances as the visitors absorbed all the play in their defending third, but when they released the ball to Rob Cavalier, he played in Chris Harwood to sweep the ball up to Carl Hendy, as the ball ran to the Camberley defender, he played it out to Josh Harwood who ran with the ball again towards the goal keeper. This time the young forward drew the keeper, and went round him before slotting in for 4-0.
Camberley eventually got their deserved consolation from a penalty corner, but Romsey were well pleased with their victory and the way they took their chances. 

On the back of a cancellation, Romsey played only their 2nd game of the 2017, the reverse of a fixture they could, and probably should have won back in October. With a mismatch squad, retaining a number of their up and coming talent, Romsey started the game positively, and applied pressure all over the pitch, and although a little over eager, it was a refreshing change of pace for the team still searching for their first win of the season.

The Abbey side continued to pile on the pressure, and dominantly controlled the middle of the park, and following the run of play, they found themselves in the lead after 15 minutes, when Zak Cooper won a penalty corner. Danny Miles readied himself for a routine flick, unfortunately, miss control lead to an improvised set piece, in which Miles dragged the ball onto his reverse stick, hitting across the goal, and finding the far corner.

The home side, looked set to abolish their woeful record of immediately conceding after taking the lead, however, just as the imminent threat appeared to be over, Winchester pulled a goal back. The goal came after a long passage of click passing, after dragging the home defence out of position, a pass from deep found an open player in the ‘D’ who deflected in high, past ‘keeper Lozz Scott.

Romsey entered half-time down beat about the score line, but it was well within their ability to get a result, and the second half proved this to be true. A truly open affair, saw back and forth attacking play, with both teams continuously testing one another’s ‘keeper. Unfortunately, Romsey’s lack of set-piece options, proved costly yet again, as they wasted numerous opportunities from penalty and long corners alike.

The game remained close, and although a lack of goals were on display, it was a great outing for the spectators. Unfortunately for Romsey, it was another week of despair, whilst desperately searching for that first win of the season, the Abbey side were caught on the break, and conceded a penalty corner late on. The initial drag flick was smartly saved by ‘keeper Scott, but Romsey did not clear their lines, and the ball fell kindly to the Winchester captain, who clinically lifted high into the net, whilst falling to the floor. The home side, fought valiantly to level the game, but time was not on their side. Winchester, clung on to clinch 3 points.

Next up, another home fixture against misfiring Addiscombe.

Haslemere took revenge for the reverse score line back in early December in an evenly contested game.Romsey provided both umpires and Peter Lloyd and Nick Welby allowed a great game to be played with some excellent advantage played at key times that both teams appreciated.

Haslemere were on top for the first 15 minutes, and Romsey were indebted to Bryn Wathen for a number of saves, and James Tower two first time clearances as it seemed Haslemere did everything but score.

Romsey got back in to the game and Rob Williams started linking up with Jamie Sanderson down the left to push play up the Romsey attacking end of the field.

Romsey fell behind though when the Haslemere winger got past Ben Parker and evaded Dave Loescher to play the ball across Wathen, Tower arrived with the forward but was only able to push the ball in under pressure despite his best efforts.

This raised Romseys game, Sanderson played in Colin Harwood down the left, he played in Phil Humphreys who cleverly worked the ball back out to Williams to drive the ball back in and it fell to Carl Hendy to make no mistake close in for 1 1.

Romsey started the second half on top, and had a few half chances, Harwood’s reverse strike was calmly saved by the keeper, and Josh Harwood was unlucky when he was played in and squared across the keeper only for Haslemere to clear. 

Humphreys and Williams combined with Simon Mayes but Romsey couldn’t find the final ball.

Then with Romsey tiring Haslemere won a penalty corner and somewhat against the run of play in the second half converted to retake the lead

With Romsey pushing for an equaliser and with extra players upfront Haslemere grabbed a third on the break in the final minutes for 3 1 scoreline.

A much changed, and somewhat younger looking Romsey squad , faced off against league leaders, Croydon, fielding 5 debutants, 4 straight out of senior school, and Romsey stalwart, Stuart Robertson, of an undisclosed age. This fixture was very much a glimpse into the future of Romsey hockey, with 7 of the 13 squad members still in their ‘teens’, and although the inexperience was telling, the potential was visible and promising. Unfortunately, the Abbey side started the game with a damage limitation mind-set, and this was evident from the offset, and although Romsey had their opportunities, and periods of positive possession, the lack of cohesion and familiarity with one another, quickly forced Romsey into a defensive approach that was breached time, and time again, by a well organised, and aggressive press.

Romsey were down to 10 men after 5 minutes, with ‘keeper Lozz Scott sin binned, for allegedly fouling the Croydon forward, and to make matters worse, the Londoners were awarded a penalty stroke. Ben Butcher valiantly attempted to stop the stroke, donning the protective helmet and hand guards. Inevitably, Romsey were down 1-0.

Occasionally threatening to find a footing in the game, the Hampshire side were their own worst enemy, and were 3-0 down 15 minutes later, after 2 converted penalty corners, courtesy of some nifty footwork in their defensive ‘D’. With a lack of  defensive outlets, Romsey resorted to route one passing, and holding on to the ball too often, and on 2 such occasions, conceded. A well disguised drag flick, and a successful counter-attack, meant the away side limped into half time 5-0 down.

Following a seemingly productive interval, the game was well and truly put to bed by Croydon, after a swift break resorted in a penalty corner. A low flick that wrong footed Lozz Scott, tied up the points, leaving the abbey side fighting for their pride, and to their credit, they got involved and began creating a number of opportunities. An interception, by returnee Chris Mason, lead an attack that found a defensive foot, resulting in their first penalty of the game. A misfired injection scuppered any chance of a clean strike, however, the Croydon defensive unit over ran, and Miles managed to find Mason on the back post, to seemingly tap in for a goal in his first appearance in a year. Much to his dismay, personal celebrations were cut short, as Dave Edwards crept behind to ‘keeper to pinch the goal on the line. A goal he ruthlessly claimed following a post-game discussion.

The Surrey based team quickly replied with another penalty corner, nonetheless, drawing blood buoyed the Abbey side, and an ‘onslaught’ of sorts followed. Growing in confidence the youthful away team strung a number of passes together and found themselves in dangerous positions, with Arthur Barcia going close with a rushed strike, and Chris Harwood miss-trapping in the ‘D’ after some smart build up play by Zak Cooper. The pressure was telling. The game may have been over, but Romsey can look back on some of the quick passing that ensued, leading to a penalty corner, that Miles dispatched in the top left quadrant of the goal. The London side, turned on the style in the final 10 minutes, and were pushing for double figures, and came close after converting an open field goal, and 2 late penalty corners.

At the end of the game, The Abbey side were on the end, of what would appear to be a 9-2 drubbing, and although there is a degree of truth to this, Romsey were always faced with an arduous task. A difficult game and situation, with low squad availability, brought about a silver lining, in the opportunity handed to a number of youngsters looking to play regularly in coming years, and they all did themselves justice.

On wards and hopefully upwards against local Hampshire rivals Winchester.

Romsey had one of those days where nearly everything went right in a game they needed to win to put six points and a superior goal difference between them and the Vikings.
The game started well for Romsey, Rob Williams and Josh Harwood combining off a Vikings foot for Williams to shoot, only for the play to be pulled back for foul.

Williams made up for it a few minutes later when he intercepted a pass and drove on to goal to put Romsey 1 0 up. 

Vikings pushed forward, but Dave Loescher and Duncan Sanders were solid at the back, using Will Richards to release the ball out on the left, and James Tower on the right. He started the move for the second goal, playing in James Boggis who combined with Phil Humphreys and Jamie Sanderson to allow debutant Simon Mayes to apply a deft touch at the near post for 2 0.

Romsey needed some strong defending to ensure they held a two goal advantage but Bryn Wathen in goal was never troubled.
From a penalty corner played out from Humphreys to Colin Harwood, Rob Williams fired just wide. Then Williams played in Josh Harwood who cushioned his pass to Harwood senior to fire in for 3 0.
Harwood senior made it 4 0 when he found space in the circle and was beautifully picked out by Mayes, to fire in again.
Humphreys grabbed the fifth from a penalty corner routine that broke down, but as the ball was played back in he made sure, forcing it over the line.
Boggis completed the 6 0 half time score line getting on the end of some great passing and cross from Jamie Sanderson who a reverse tap in.
Vikings held Romsey at the start of the second half, and it the home side couldn’t find a break through until Boggis crossed close in for Harwood Senior to get his hat trick. 

The from a penalty corner Harwood passed square to Mayes for him to rifle in an unstoppable shot for 8 0.
Vikings rallied and got a deserved goal back with a well worked move that saw Wathen close down the main forward only for him to pass it back for his partner to strike home
As the game closed out Harwood grabbed two more goals, one from a pass in to the circle by Man of the match Tower and then near the end Josh Harwood crossed the ball for Harwood to volley the ball first time in to the roof of the next for his fifth and Romsey tenth

A slow starting reintroduction to post-Christmas fixtures, pitted the best defence in the league, against the lowest scoring offence. Romsey travelled to league leaders Sunbury and Walton Haws 1’s.

A lethargic, and nervy opening 10 minutes, saw few opportunities arise, and unfortunately, this only grew into impatient and frantic play, with both sides coughing up possession throughout the half. Just as both teams began to settle, Sunbury won, and converted a penalty corner, a goal that should really have been stopped by the designated man on the post. With both teams having grown into the half, some neat, and tactical hockey was displayed by both sides, implementing interchanging  presses, and organised use of the flanks, Romsey became increasingly dangerous. Following 2 tantalisingly close penalty corner misses by Birch, and a miss-trap on the back post by debutante Morgan Robertson, Romsey finally leveled the game through the latter. Man of the match Robertson, had 2 early chances saved, but kept his composure to slot in the bottom corner from 6 yards after some patient build up play from Romsey. With momentum and confidence building the Abbey side were stopped in their tracks by the half time break.

The away side were showing signs of life, and at times looked to be sticking to their game plan. However, as shown in the previous half of the campaign, old habits die hard, and it was Romsey’s, overuse of the aerial pass, and apparent obsession with carrying the ball into pressure that was the telling factor.

Unfortunately there was to be no happy ending for Hampshire side, whom are still searching for their first win of the campaign. Sunbury, came out stronger, quicker and hungrier, and were 3-1 up inside 10 minutes with some seamless counter-attacking, and superior composure in and around the ‘D’. They continued to dominate with their slick one-touch passing and clinical finishing, and at the end of the day, just proved the too strong for a bewildered and depleted Romsey squad. The Abbey side failed to win a single penalty corner in the second half. Struggling to get out of their own half, frustration set in, and 2 late sin-bins for youngster Zak Cooper, and Captain Tom Ponsford, allowed a buoyant Sunbury and Walton Hawks side to finish the game in style with a 5-1 victory, taking them to the top of the table.

Romsey aim to improve their fortunes with the help of a new coach, and a new pitch for their home games, at Hampshire Collegiate School. Next up, a must win battle against fellow relegation contenders Camberley and Farnborough 1st XI.

Unfortunately training tonight has been cancelled due to the pich being frozen. Current forecast suggests that this situation will not change so we have made an early decision to cancel.

Sorry to disappoint 🙁

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.

Romsey were disappointed not to take all three points from a game in which they were never ahead but a far more chances to win the match.
The game started evenly, and Romsey dominated possession, winning a number of penalty corners but theese were all squandered.
Then Salisbury broke away and Dave Andrews was green carded for a foul and Salisbury gained some momentum. When Romsey were restored to eleven, Salisbury won a penalty corner and despite a great save from Bryn Wathen, Ben Parker and Duncan Sanders couldn’t clear the ball quick enough to stop the rebound being followed up.
Romsey equalised soon after, when from the third of three penalty corners Colin Harwood played the ball out to Carl Hendy who played it back to Harwood to sweep the ball in for 1-1.
With half time approaching Peter Cooper had a strike from a penalty corner saved, and Hendy and Rob Williams both went close, but a break away from Salisbury saw the forward wriggle through to somehow beat Wathen from a tight angle.
The second half saw Romsey defence looking far more solid and Williams and Cooper started to build some good moves, a cross from the right was almost turned in by Rob Cavalier at the far post, and Josh Harwood worked two clear openings only for the final touch to not be found.
Romsey finally equalised when Cooper forced his way in to the circle after interchanging with Jamie Sanderson and his shot came back off the post straight to Colin Harwood to make it 2-2.
As Romsey pushed for their third a breakaway led to a penalty corner award to Salisbury, and against the run of play, a fine shot went through Parker and gave Salisbury the lead for the third time.
Romsey equalised when Josh Harwood and Will Richards combined down the right to push the ball across to Colin Harwood whose shot was going wide before being touched home by Carl Hendy.
In the last minute great work by Williams played in Hendy, as he drew the keeper he squared the ball to the up rushing Colin Harwood, who stumbled as he shot, and with the keeper touching the ball away from Williams and Hendy Salisbury cleared to maintain a 3-3 final scoreline

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