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This was a point won for Romsey, as Lavant pushed to avenge the defeat they suffered at Romsey before Christmas.They pressed Romsey in the first 15 minutes and it was stout defending by centre back Ben Parker and Duncan Sanders who kept them away from clean shot opportunities. Two vital clearances by James Tower and Will Richards meant that Bryn Wathen only had to make one real save in the opening exchanges.

Romsey rallied and Carl Hendy was played in by Hal Cross, the experienced strikers shot lacked its usual power and The Lavant keeper made a comfortable save.

Buoyed by this chance, Romsey swapped a few players positions and started to be more offensive. Dave Andrews and Colin Harwood combined with a number of swift short passes to play in Steve White but he couldn’t get a shot away, then Hal Cross had a chance but his shot went wide. 

Romsey won three penalty corners and from the the third Jamie Sanderson stoped the ball and played it to his right for across to fire a shot just wide.

The second half saw more early Lavant pressure, and a move by Lavant saw the ball cut square to the striker two yards out, only for Wathen to make a great reaction save.

Then Tower and Rob Cav combined down the Romsey right to relieve some pressure and played in Hendy who was tackled.

Romsey had a half chance when Harwood was played in by Richards down the right and his cross just eluded White at the far post.

With two minutes to go Sanderson had to go off, taking a painful ball on the toe.

Lavant pushed up In search of the winner, and the ball looked like it may go off the back line for Romsey hit out, but under pressure Wathen conceded a long corner. This last chance saw Lavant drive into the circle and appeared to have scored the only goal of the game from a super shot, only for Wathen to make an amazing one handed stick save and Romsey cleared their lines as the final whistle blew.

Romsey gained another turn around victory following their defeat away earlier in the season, this team emphatically coming out on top and moving up the league table to 5th place.
Romsey started brightly and youngsters Josh Harwood, Jamie Sanderson and Felix Chapman-Sheath used their pace to move the ball around the experienced ‘Stoke back line.  They won a penalty corner early on but Carl Hendy’s shot went wide.
As the half went on it was building moves solidly from the back and keeping ‘Stoke penned in their own half and under pressure that was the key. James Tower and Duncan Sanders combined to set up Simon Mayes to drive in to circle and he interchanged with Phil Humphreys to win another penalty corner.
This time the ball was played out and Mayes beat two players before feigning to pass, and instead lifting the ball in to the goal to put Romsey 1-0 up.
As half time approached Dave Loescher had to clear up a couple of Basingstoke break aways, but Bryn Wathen was untroubled in the Romsey goal.  Then in the 35th minute, Mayes broke in to the circle and drove alone the end of the pitch to pull the ball back to Hendy who made no mistake for 2-0.
The second half started with Romsey on the attack, and early on Colin Harwood intercepted an attempted clearance down the right, he played the ball to the top of the circle, and Rob Cavalier found himself with the ball and able to get a fierce strike away for 3-0 and his first goal for the Club.
Not to be out done, Harwood then played a similar ball to the top of the circle for Felix Chapman-Sheath to lift the ball first time past the keeper and high in to the net for 4-0.
The play continued, and this time a Harwood shot was stopped on the goal line, as the ball bounced up off Humphreys stick and the goalkeeper, the Romsey midfielder made no mistake smashing the ball down in to the goal from its lofted position.
Basingstoke did pull a goal back, when a well worked moved from an interception caught Romsey short at the back, and Loescher and Wathen and Ben Parker couldn’t keep the ball out as ‘Stoke made it 5-1.
But Romsey were not finished and Humphreys bagged his second from a similar distance to his first, this time after good play from Jamie Sanderson to get the ball deep in to the circle, and Humphreys pushed the ball, this time on the ground, over the line and it was 6-1.
Then with Dave Loescher pushing up as the game drew to an end he played in Colin Harwood in the left hand corner of the pitch, Harwood lifted the ball over the defenders stick and drove towards the circle, as two defenders and the keeper closed him down he passed to Josh Harwood at the top of the circle to play the ball first time in to goal for 7-1.

League leaders Alton did the double over the Abbey side, who with no substitutes on the day pushed the home side all the way.
Romsey set up to absorb some of the Alton attacks early on, and the revised back three of Dave Loescher, Steven White and Jamie Sanderson, were able to make the necessary tackles to keep Alton out of the circle.
Sanderson started to be the outlet down the left, and his combination play with Felix Chapman-Sheath allowed Romsey an attack of their own, which ended Chapman-Sheaths cross evading Carl Hendy and Josh Harwood as it went across the circle.
Romsey were soon on the back foot again, this time Bryn Wathen in goal was called to make two saves, and Dave Andrews three clean tackles in succession to keep Alton from going ahead.
Colin Harwood intercepted two crosses, as he played deeper in the first half, but had to concede a penalty corner from one of them. This however was dealt with on the line by Loescher who smashed the high goal bound shot clear, only for the whistle to go for a high hit.
With the seconds counting down until half time, Alton won another fortunate penalty corner. The Alton player appearing to back in to Loescher and fall to the ground. As the half time whistle blew Alton crowded the circle, but Romsey managed the clear the initial shot only for it to be kept in play just outside the circle and the resulting pass found an Alton player who put them 1-0 up with the last hit of the half.
Romsey were down, but not out, and in the second half it was Chris Harwood playing centre midfield who created space for Romsey to attack more frequently. He ran at the Alton defence and on one occassion couldn’t pick out Hendy, and on another his ball to Colin Harwood was met with an Alton foot.
Man of the Match White, playing right back, then produced two pin point aerial passes, Chris Harwood collected one and interchanged with Dave Andrews and Colin Harwood collected the other to play in Hendy, but Romsey couldn’t get the vital killer last pass.
Almost against the run of play, Alton got a breakaway, and with Romsey outnumbered, squeezed the ball past Wathen despite last ditch efforts from Andrews and Loescher.
Romsey still pushed for a goal, and were unlucky when Colin Harwood, played in Chris Harwood to run down the right wing to cross to Hendy, only for the Alton keeper to smother his shot.
Then Romsey won a penalty corner, Colin Harwood played the ball to Rob Cavalier, who played it back to Harwood to smash the ball home, only for Cav to have stopped the ball just inside an not outside the circle, so the goal was disallowed.
From an Alton penalty corner, they made no mistake, and put themselves 3-0 ahead. Romseys heads remained high, and Colin Harwood poked in for 3-1 from a Chris Harwood pass, and then was inches wide from a late penalty corner that could have led to a frantic finale, but it wasn’t to be.

Romsey travelled to local rivals Southampton, a side unbeaten this season at home. Prior to push back, Southampton had a superior goal difference to their opponents, with Romsey on -36, whilst mid table Southampton were comfortable on +4

Given recent performances, Romsey were high in spirits, and from the start applied heavy pressure on the defensive line. The Abbey men were confident in possession, and organised off the ball, and on numerous occasions found themselves looking to penetrate the ‘D’, but ultimately lacked the killer instinct required. Danny Miles twice went close from tight angles, along with Ben Mullan who hit the side board after the Southampton ‘keeper closed the angle. Following the flow of play, it was the away side who took the lead. Tom Ponsford was released down the right flank, and drove towards the ‘D’ before crossing for Jack Forrest-Charde, to effortless deflect the ball into the top corner, after beating his marker with a yard of pace.

Southampton immediately replied and levelled the game with a deflection of their own. The forward found space in front of Lozz Scott, before redirecting a long pass across the goal. The remainder of the half played out in a competitive and fiery nature, the umpires kept their cards in their pockets and officiated well. With a number of clumsy challenges viewed as just that, the game retained its tempo and quality, before the half time whistle came and the heavens opened.

Southampton were creating chances, with 3 miscued penalty corners and a 2 routine saves from Scott. Their pressure eventually payed dividends. A wayward Southampton strike was redirected goal wards by a Romsey defender, catching Scott off-guard, finding its way onto the backboard. However, just as they looked to be taking control of the game, Southampton were reduced to 10 men, initially only for 2 minutes, but the blue’s midfielder argued himself into a 5 minute sinbin, and Romsey took full advantage. Zak Cooper’s tireless work on the wing, resulted in a short corner. Man of the match Danny Miles stepped up to fire in high to the left, with a drag flick potentially heading wide of the post. Unfortunately we will never truly know, as a Southampton defender deflected the strike past his ‘keeper. Southampton maintained their offensive style, and even with 10 man, came within inches of taking the lead, as a strike hit the backboard, but was deemed to have been hit outside the ‘D’ by the officials.

With 5 minutes remaining, Miles had a further 2 chances to grab a late winner. The first of which narrowly missing the top corner, and the latter was parried by the Southampton ‘keeper into the path of Zak Cooper, who produced a calm finish to beat the ‘keeper, and give Romsey a real fighting chance of survival.

4 games remain, next week against promotion long shots Andover. Following this, 3 vital fixtures against the 3 other teams a foot the Hampshire/Surrey league. An interesting month ahead.

Romsey gained another turn around victory following their defeat away earlier in the season, this team emphatically coming out on top and moving up the league table to 5th place.
Romsey started brightly and youngsters Josh Harwood, Jamie Sanderson and Felix Chapman-Sheath used their pace to move the ball around the experienced ‘Stoke back line. They won a penalty corner early on but Carl Hendy’s shot went wide.
As the half went on it was building moves solidly from the back and keeping ‘Stoke penned in their own half and under pressure that was the key. James Tower and Duncan Sanders combined to set up Simon Mayes to drive in to circle and he interchanged with Phil Humphreys to win another penalty corner.

This time the ball was played out and Mayes beat two players before feigning to pass, and instead lifting the ball in to the goal to put Romsey 1-0 up.
As half time approached Dave Loescher had to clear up a couple of Basingstoke break aways, but Bryn Wathen was untroubled in the Romsey goal. Then in the 35th minute, Mayes broke in to the circle and drove alone the end of the pitch to pull the ball back to Hendy who made no mistake for 2-0.
The second half started with Romsey on the attack, and early on Colin Harwood intercepted an attempted clearance down the right, he played the ball to the top of the circle, and Rob Cavalier found himself with the ball and able to get a fierce strike away for 3-0 and his first goal for the Club.
Not to be out done, Harwood then played a similar ball to the top of the circle for Felix Chapman-Sheath to lift the ball first time past the keeper and high in to the net for 4-0.
The play continued, and this time a Harwood shot was stopped on the goal line, as the ball bounced up off Humphreys stick and the goalkeeper, the Romsey midfielder made no mistake smashing the ball down in to the goal from its lofted position.
Basingstoke did pull a goal back, when a well worked moved from an interception caught Romsey short at the back, and Loescher and Wathen and Ben Parker couldn’t keep the ball out as ‘Stoke made it 5-1.
But Romsey were not finished and Humphreys bagged his second from a similar distance to his first, this time after good play from Jamie Sanderson to get the ball deep in to the circle, and Humphreys pushed the ball, this time on the ground, over the line and it was 6-1.
Then with Dasve Loescher pushing up as the game drew to an end he played in Colin Harwood in the left hand corner of the pitch, Harwood lifted the ball over the defenders stick and drove towards the circle, as two defenders and the keeper closed him down he passed to Josh Harwood at the top of the circle to play the ball first time in to goal for 7-1.

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.

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