Haslemere Men’s 1st XI 6 – 1 Romsey Men’s 1st XI

Romsey were outclassed by table toppers Haslemere as the slick passing and movement of the hosts ran the Abbey side ragged for much of the game. Romsey defended doggedly for the opening quarter but their inability to put together any significant amount of possession meant the waves of pressure kept coming.

It was a matter of time before the hosts took the lead and when Romsey were left two defenders short at a penalty corner after twice being penalised for breaking early, Haslemere used the vast superiority in numbers to work the ball for a tap in on the post.

The lead was doubled before halftime by an angled shot and after the break the home side continued the ruthless conversion of the chances they were creating to extend their lead twice more with pinpoint finishes.

Romsey restored a touch of pride when they got on the scoreboard from a slickly executed penalty corner routine as a dragflick from Joe Welch flew past the ‘keeper.

Haslemere returned to the attack and scored from a penalty flick awarded after a shot was stopped on the line by a defender’s body. Romsey were ripped open one final time with a excellent team move that saw the ball worked to the baseline and squared for a near post finish.

Late on Ben Butcher picked out David Edwards in acres of space at the top of the D but his shot was comfortably saved by the ‘keeper.

Romsey must regroup quickly as they host bottom of the table City of Portsmouth next Saturday.

Yateley Men’s 1st XI 3 – 5 Romsey Men’s 1st XI

Romsey picked up their first points of the season with a showing that combined plenty of attacking endeavour with some sloppy discipline and an inability to defend penalty corners that resulted in the scoreline being closer than it perhaps should have been.

The visitors dominated the first half and were well worth their 3-1 advantage at the break. Romsey were unable to convert an early series of four penalty corners as the goalkeeper saved dragflicks from Joe Welch and a deflection from David Edwards on separate occasions. The visitors were not to be denied much longer however as Welch returned later for a third flick and kept his effort low enough to beat the ‘keeper’s dive.

Yateley struggled throughout the game to create opportunities in open play but showed their effectiveness from penalty corner routines as a poor tackle saw a set piece awarded and the hosts put away the rebound after Scott in goal saved the first attempt.

Romsey hit the hosts with back to back goals to seize control of the game, with Lewis Birch showing great pace down the right wing to go the long way around the defence and then composure in picking out Neil Strong at the back post. This was followed by a quickly taken free hit in the 23 which ended with Ben Mullan’s ball into the D being deflected inside the near post by captain Ben Butcher.

After halftime Romsey had a big opportunity to move further ahead when they won possession to set up a three-on-two but Mullan’s effort at the end of the move was saved by the ‘keeper. Man of the match Chris Mason was showing great creativity and workrate up front and almost converted from the tightest of angles as a reverse stick effort came back off the post and then the ‘keeper.

Yellow cards for Mullan and Murray then offered the home side a platform to apply pressure and they took full advantage, converting a penalty corner during each of the powerplays to level the score.

After being restored to a full eleven, Romsey regrouped and retook the lead from a penalty corner as Welch’s flick was saved but Mullan was first to control the loose ball and lift it into the net. The win was secured by a second goal from Mullan at the end of a counterattack as his reverse stick shot looped over the GK who was on the floor from a previous phase of play.

Romsey Men’s 1st XI 1 – 3 Addiscombe Men’s 1st XI

Romsey’s league season started with the disappointment of a home defeat as their London based opponents exploited errors by the hosts to take all three points.

Both sides looked to make themselves hard to break down when out of possession by adopting half pitch defensive press formations. Romsey had an early opportunity as striker Neil Strong was found in space in the area by a clever pass but his neat deflection lacked a runner at the back post to put it in.

Addiscombe took the lead when a couple of fluffed penalty corner routines resulted in further set pieces being awarded, and the third effort was executed cleanly with a dragflick launched high into the net.

Romsey improved as the first half progressed, retaining the ball better to build their attacks more effectively and eventually they were duly rewarded with an equaliser. A quickly taken 23 metre restart ended with Joe Welch fizzing a slap pass into the D where Chris Mason’s well timed run deflected the ball up into the goal.

After halftime the hosts came close from a penalty corner of their own as Jack Forrest-Charde fired a 2nd phase shot narrowly wide after his first effort was charged down. Addiscombe retook the lead after Romsey gave the ball cheaply on halfway and compounded the error by conceding a silly penalty corner with a rash tackle, with the following dragflick slotted precisely inside the left post.

The visitors made sure of the points by capitalising on another Romsey error as Scott in goal looked to prevent a 23 metre restart by kicking the ball to his centreback, but instead found an attacker to set up a two-on-one opportunity that was converted.

Romsey will continue with a trip to Yateley next Saturday.

Romsey Men’s 1s (3) vs (1) Portsmouth University 1s

Scorers: Welch, Mason, Butcher

It was a Saturday afternoon, Romsey’s local beach already overflowing with tens of passionate hockey fans. This mighty colosseum would see Romsey take on Portsmouth University. A game that would shadow the upcoming England v Wales meet.
loz-pflick
Romsey, hoping to continue their undefeated preseason campaign start slow. Portsmouth using this to their advantage winning themselves an early penalty flick from an unlucky Romsey foot on the goal line. The Portsmouth player confidently placing the ball high right.

Spurred on by the early goal alongside pure fear of Coach Miles, Romsey instantly improved, instinctively finding last week’s form. The scales started to favour Romsey as the half continued. A strong formation and quick counter win Romsey a penalty corner. The ball calmly finished by a rebound off his own drag flick. Joe Welch evens the score.

shortcornerattack
The first half would see one last crucial play. Romsey win a second Penalty corner. This time corner specialist Jack Charde takes control. He finds Ben Mullan on his low reverse stick rebounding the ball to Neil Strong. Who, with a touch of class, directs the ball goalward forcing the keeper off his line allowing Chris Mason an easy tap-in to secure the goal.

The second half saw the teams settle into the game, both producing chances. If not for a spectacular save from a low volley by Romsey’s keeper Loz Scott Portsmouth would have levelled the game.

butcher
Looking to seal the victory Captain Ben Butcher wins the ball in the opposition’s quarter, helped by a great line into the D past a defender Butcher finishes with a finesse reverse sweep into the bottom right corner.

The game reached the closing minute, Portsmouth University sustaining high pressure causing Romsey to give away a penalty corner. With the final whistle blown, the four defencemen would face 10 outfield players. Disgraced by this call, defender Dave Miles, still annoyed from a bad mornings crabbing in Lymington, snapped. Hooking himself a green card. Even so, Portsmouth were unable to break through Romsey’s defence preserving Romsey’s two goal difference.

Final score Romsey 3 Portsmouth University 1.

Trojans Men’s 2nd XI 0 – 2 Romsey Men’s 1st XI

Romsey’s warm up for the league season continued its positive trend as they secured a well contested victory with an efficient display.

In the first quarter Romsey did a good job in sticking to their plan of settling into the game by being hard to break down out of possession, but were too slow to commit players to the attack after winning the ball back and hence were not able to adequately threaten the home defence.

They stepped up a couple of gears and won the game with an excellent performance in the second quarter as they remained disciplined out of possession but added a much needed cutting edge to their counterattack play, hitting the hosts with two goals at the end of excellent moves.

Jack Forrest-Charde twice provided through balls that cut the home side wide open as Romsey seized upon turnover ball to exploit the high line of the Trojans defence. In the first instance his perfectly executed aerial set Neil Strong free, who showed composure when closed down by the goalkeeper to set up Sam Barcia for a finish from a narrow angle.

Minutes later a ball along the floor from Forrest-Charde picked out perfectly captain Ben Butcher surging forward and he drew the ‘keeper out before selflessly squaring to leave a supporting David Edwards to pass the ball into the empty goal.

There was almost a third goal from a similar source as the visitors hounded Trojans into conceding possession and then broke free down the right flank, with Butcher advancing into the area and firing a shot which was denied by the keeper’s right kicker.

Romsey rather lost their way in the final two quarters, dropping too deep in their defensive press and inviting pressure around their own area which saw the hosts happy to fire in threatening balls that caused some moments of concern in the visitors’ D. Lozz Scott was the strong presence in goal that was required to keep the hosts out, stepping forward to kick a couple of hits into the area clear and padding away some close range deflected efforts.

Romsey had chances of their own with Barcia creating space at the top of the area with some great skill but fluffing his subsequent reverse stick attempt, and Butcher again breaking clear of the defence but also miscuing his shot from a very tight angle after bypassing the goalkeeper.

Romsey Men’s 1st XI 6 – 3 Andover Men’s 1st XI

Romsey’s positive start to the season continued as they recorded a victory in this friendly at home to a side they will face in the Regional Hants/Surrey 2 division this year.

With their goalkeeper arriving late, Andover began the game with eleven outfield players and this enabled them to apply pressure by outnumbering the hosts in the middle of the pitch, but left them vulnerable when Romsey were able to work the ball into the area.

The home side struck first when Dave Miles picked up the ball in the final third and with the top of the D lightly defended was able to advance inside and flick a finish into the bottom corner.

Romsey anticipated Andover being dynamic in attack and the visitors didn’t disappoint, showing plenty of creativity and fast paced play that troubled the home defence. An equaliser came after Scott in goal made an initial save but then got the ball trapped under his kickers and dawdling by the defenders allowed an attacker to nip in first to score from close range.

The visitors came close again when a penalty corner dragflick was only kept out by an intervention on the line by David Edwards. Instead it was Romsey who retook the lead as man of the match Edwards joined a counterattack and was rewarded with a simple finish after receiving a pass into the area from Jack Murray.

The Andover ‘keeper entered the action soon after but this could not prevent the lead being extended before the break as a quickly taken free hit saw Tom Ponsford’s pass set up Ben Butcher for a reverse stick shot that found the net after being deflected.

After halftime Andover earned the opportunity to close the gap as a penalty stroke was awarded when a defensive foot prevented a shot going in. However Scott came out on top in the one-on-one duel as the taker dragged his effort onto the left post and then wide.

Minutes later Romsey were awarded a penalty stroke of their own and Jack Forrest-Charde stayed cool to place the ball into the bottom corner. The rash of penalty strokes continued as an Andover player was obstructed when about to shoot; on this occasion the stroke taker went left again but managed to keep his effort inside the post to reduce the deficit.

Romsey responded with the goal of the game as Sam Barcia showed great skills and composure by driving strongly past players into the area and deftly knocking the ball past the ‘keeper as he advanced from his line.

Murray rounded out Romsey’s scoring and became their sixth different scorer of the afternoon as his low flick from a penalty corner eluded both the attacking runners and the defender on the post to find the bottom corner. Andover got a late consolation with a well worked break after a poor turnover of possession by the hosts left them outnumbered in defence.

Wimborne Wayfarers Men’s 1st XI 1 – 1 Romsey Men’s 1st XI

Romsey began their quartet of pre-season friendlies by earning a draw on the road in Dorset against higher division opposition. It was the the first fixture under the new leadership combination of team coach Danny Miles and captain Ben Butcher and they will have been generally pleased by the manner in which the team applied their pre-game tactical plan.

Wimborne seemed initially uncertain how to respond to Romsey’s adoption of a half-pitch press when out of possession and began to play into the visitor’s hands by trying to force long balls through the defensive lines which were well organised from the back by man of the match Mark Gilbert. Romsey played on the break and created some openings including an effort from Sam Barcia that went wide of the near post.

As the game progressed it became a match of few clear open play chances and both sides dealt comfortably with each other’s set piece penalty corners. Romsey were patient and disciplined when out of possession but were also guilty of too often giving the ball away cheaply after winning it back. This limited their ability to create more goal scoring opportunities, through striker Lewis Birch did look threatening when picking up the ball in advanced positions.

In the final quarter the visitors began to lose their team shape and a miscommunication in the Romsey defence allowed a striker to get free in the D and he finished clinically after receiving a pass. Romsey recovered to earn themselves a penalty corner with just seconds remaining and a well executed routine saw Birch deflect the ball into the goal from Jack Forrest-Charde’s top-D slap pass to ensure honours finished even.

Romsey Men’s 1st XI 3 – 3 City of Portsmouth Men’s 1st XI

Romsey battled back from a deficit three times to claim a point from the final fixture of their Regional Div. 2 season. They finish in 10th place and must now wait upon the outcome of playoffs in higher divisions to determine whether this is sufficient to avoid relegation.

The teams were well matched throughout the opening 35 minutes, with neither side able to convert any of the half chances they created in the opening quarter. Hosts Portsmouth were their own worst enemy at times as yellow cards for ill discipline and poor tackling saw them reduced to nine men for a time. Romsey’s attacks in the powerplay were too direct to really trouble the defence and instead the home side led at the break after converting a penalty corner with a dragflick.

After halftime Romsey’s attack began to link up well and interplay from Jack Forrest-Charde and Neil Strong set up Lewis Birch for a reverse finish that levelled the score. Parity lasted only a short while however as the visitors failed to clear in the area and Portsmouth scored a close in rebound.

The increasingly influential Birch was the inspiration for Romsey’s second equaliser as he arced in from the left channel and found Tim Bailey who spun and placed a finish low into the far corner. The hosts had no legal answers to Birch’s searing pace and instead the last outfield defender fouled him to the ground on two separate occasions with crude tackles, but Romsey were ineffective with their resulting penalty corners.

Portsmouth converted a second penalty corner with a dragflick placed perfectly inside the post, but Romsey earned a deserved point in a dramatic conclusion to an entertaining game as Birch’s reverse hit from outside the D got the touch it needed from Strong at the back post.

Romsey Men’s 1st XI 8 – 1 Southampton University Men’s 1st XI

Romsey romped to victory in this local derby against the already relegated Uni, giving their own hopes of avoiding the drop a big boost as they moved out of the immediate relegation places with just one round of fixtures remaining.

Striker Lewis Birch, marking his return to action after missing several games through injury, notched an impressive five goal haul including a first half hat-trick. His first was set up by a pass from Chris Mason and was backed up by a Jack Forrest-Charde dragflick that nutmegged the Uni’s stand in stopper, before Charde became the provider with a ball fired into the area which Birch neatly deflected to wrongfoot the ‘keeper.

The care-free end of season approach exhibited by the students combined with a Romsey School pitch that was proving most difficult to play on to produce a game that was full of action and entertainment but lacking in quality. The Uni did plenty of attacking of their own and the exposed Romsey keeper Lozz Scott had to win three one-on-one situations to prevent them scoring.

The hosts added to their lead before the break as Birch fired a trademark narrow angled shot into the roof of the net and Jack Murray calmly placed a neat reverse stick finish low into the far corner.

Birch continued to enjoy himself in the second period as he claimed the sixth with a close range rebound before Murray assisted the next by skipping the ball around the goalie to set up Mason for a finish that his recent creative performances have well deserved.

Romsey’s final goal was their best move of the match as they broke away at the end of a Uni attack with Will Archibald bringing the ball out from the back before passing to Mason who set up Birch to complete his rout of the Uni defence.

The students kept going until the end and finally had some reward late on as their centre-forward managed to get on the end of a cross smashed into the D and finished it with a well taken deflection.

Romsey Men’s 1st XI 0 – 4 HAC Men’s 1st XI

Romsey were well beaten on their trip to Dulwich but will be frustrated at the tame manner in which some of the goals were conceded and at chances of their own that were not taken.

The visitors got off to the worst possible start as they never really got a tackle in against HAC’s first attack, and after Lozz Scott in goal had cut out a cross into the ‘D’, an attacker was first to the loose ball and lifted it into the net.

Romsey responded quite well to this very early blow and threatened several times in the next quarter hour, with Chris Mason particularly creative on the right wing, but he perhaps had better options than shooting with teammates well positioned in the area.

Ben Mullan fired a fierce effort wide when the HAC defence froze in expectation of a penalty corner being awarded against them, and Danny Miles forced the keeper into action to keep out a flick at the end of a set piece routine.

HAC were creating plenty of chances of their own and looked especially dangerous at set pieces as they consistently sought to make close range deflections, eventually putting one of these high into the net to double their advantage.

Romsey started the second half just as badly as the first, conceding within thirty seconds of the pushback, and their play became rather ragged with a series of fantastic interventions from Romsey’s man of the match Scott needed to prevent further damage on the scoreboard. The visitors’ best chance came when a ball across the area arrived for Tim Bailey near the back post but his effort went wide.

Romsey’s tired legs were evident just before the final whistle as the hosts ripped the defence open with an excellent team move, switching the attack from the left channel to the right before the eventual cross was met by a well timed run and finish.

Romsey Men’s 1st XI 1 – 6 Reigate Priory Men’s 1st XI  (28/02/15)

A mass of injured and unavailable players forced Romsey into the unenviable situation of travelling to clear league leaders Reigate with a bare 11 players, including several who do not normally play at this level.

Reigate’s aim was clear from the start as they sought to put the ball on defensive feet in the area and win penalty corners for their highly effective drag flicker to ply his trade from.

Lozz Scott in goal made a fine diving save to deny the first such effort but it proved impossible to hold back the tide for much longer. With the umpire allowing the Reigate centre forward to get away with throwing his considerable weight around, the home side clinically converted three penalty corner flicks before half time.

Romsey were disciplined in their half pitch press and did a good job of limiting the space Reigate had to work with high up the pitch, restricting the hosts to a handful of shots in open play. Danny Nicoll did a fine job in an unfamiliar right back slot in his first game at this level, making several well timed tackles to break up Reigate attacks.

Romsey started well after the break and surprised the hosts with the opening goal of the second half. It also came from a penalty corner situation as Jack Forrest-Charde and Danny Miles exchanged passes and the former found the backboard with a flick from the middle of the area.

Reigate returned to the attack and scored a fourth dragflick that was the pick of the bunch, rifled in off the underside of the crossbar. Romsey were unfortunate when a penalty stroke was awarded, with the umpire feeling the ball was stopped in front of the line by a leg rather than the defender’s stick. Scott got a touch on the resulting effort but could not prevent the goal, before the hosts exploited tiring Romsey legs to complete the scoring with a nicely worked team goal.

Romsey Men’s 1st XI 1 – 2 Addiscombe Men’s 1st XI  (21/02/15)

Romsey produced a display much improved from the previous weekend and can consider themselves unfortunate to have ended the game empty handed after hosting the promotion chasing London side.

The game was played with a fantastic intensity, particularly so in a first half in which the two sides largely cancelled each other out. Early on an Addiscombe player was perhaps lucky to avoid a sin binning after being penalised for cutting out a promising aerial ball with a stick above his shoulder.

The visitors won penalty corners throughout the game but rarely looked dangerous with their routines, whilst Romsey’s only set piece of the game came just before the break and saw a ball to the back post from Danny Miles cut out by the goalkeeper.

Addiscombe’s game plan relied on seizing upon turnovers to break quickly and Romsey were punished when a stray pass amongst the backline went straight to an opposing forward, leading to a clinical counterattack and shot inside the left post.

Lucas Cross fired a shot across goal as the hosts started the second half well and an effort from centreback Joe Welch at the end of a powerful run was blocked by the keeper. The ball fell to Ben Mullan at the top of the area but he could not make the most of the exposed goal with a shot that flew off target.

Romsey did level things up however when Rob Kerr received a ball up the left channel from captain Dave Miles, allowing him to play in Lewis Birch who coolly played the ball through the stopper’s legs as he closed the striker down.

The game was opening up with both sides seeking all three points but Romsey shot themselves in the foot once more as a failed aerial gifted Addiscombe the ball high up the pitch. The shot at the end of the resulting attack was partially blocked by Lozz Scott in goal and Romsey insisted that a diving Dave Miles had managed to clear the ball before it crossed the line, but the umpire disagreed an awarded a goal.

Romsey Men’s 1st XI 2 – 3 Fareham Men’s 3rd XI (14/02/15)

Romsey face an uphill battle to maintain their Regional 2 status after losing this key relegation faceoff in Fareham on Saturday. The abbey side were deservedly punished for their lacklustre performance by the hosts who showed more desire and application throughout the game.

Romsey were a little fortunate to escape a cagey and goalless first half on level terms as Fareham failed to convert any of the numerous penalty corners they earned. Ben Mullan had the best open play chance for the visitors but his low flick was tame, whilst Joe Welch could not continue his drag flicking heroics of the previous weekend, slamming two early efforts into the ‘keeper’s chest.

Romsey failed to raise their game after the break and duly found themselves trailing by two goals, with Fareham catching them cold twice with well worked counterattacks.

Romsey hit back as Welch stepped forward for another penalty corner and this time drove past the two runners before locating the left corner with a low flick from the middle of the area.

The hosts restored their cushion with a penalty flick awarded when Scott was adjudged to have felled an attacker who had been sent through one-on-one with the ‘keeper.

Danny Miles gave the visitors fresh hope with a little over 5 minutes remaining, scoring a reverse sweep on the rebound after his initial deflection from Lewis Birch’s ball fired across the D was well blocked by the keeper, but Romsey could not find a late equaliser.

Romsey Men’s 1st XI 5 – 3 Wimborne Wayfarers Men’s 1st XI  (07/02/15)

A much improved performance from Romsey saw them surprise promotion chasing hosts Wimborne and give their own hopes of avoiding relegation a big boost.

A pass from Danny Miles allowed Ben Mullan to drive at an unguarded top of the area and he opened the scoring by placing a low push into the left corner. Romsey gained confidence from this early lead and dominated the next fifteen minutes, opening a 3-0 advantage thanks to two Joe Welch drag-flicks at the end of fluently executed penalty corner routines.

The hosts hit back just a minute before halftime, winning a penalty corner which was put away on the rebound with a crisp reverse stick hit after Lozz Scott had pawed away the initial flick.

Wimborne piled on the pressure immediately after the break and the lead was trimmed further as the hosts were once more quickest to the loose ball after the first shot was saved at a penalty corner.

Romsey went two clear again when Lewis Birch received a pass from Jack Forrest-Charde and fired a shot inside the near post from the tightest of angles, catching out the ‘keeper who probably did not expect him to shoot from so close to the baseline.

Romsey could not rest easy though as their cushion was again cut with Wimborne breaking out from a sideline ball in the left channel, passing by several weak tackles and finishing with a sharply taken volley when the ball was squared inside the area.

The Abbey side finally made sure of the win when Joe Welch stepped up to fire in another rising dragflick which the ‘keeper had no answer to. This hat-trick goal secured both the three points for his side and the man of the match award for Welch personally.

Romsey Men’s 1st XI 3 – 4 Bank of England Men’s 1st XI  (31/01/15)

Romsey continue to slide down the Hants/Surrey 2 table after coming out on the wrong side of this keenly contested fixture between two relegation threatened sides, again experiencing the narrow margins between victory and defeat at this level.

Bank started the day immediately above the hosts and claimed victory by putting away penalty corners, with Romsey struggling to execute their own routines. The visitors were ahead 2-1 at the break after converting two set pieces, with Lewis Birch levelling the scores between those goals.

His goal was reward for good pressing work that caused a rash pass by a Bank defender which Jack Forrest-Charde seized upon, returning the ball to Birch who finished with a reverse shot under the advancing keeper. Romsey had a good chance to peg Bank back again as Danny Miles got into space in the area with the ball, but miscued his shot.

The visitors extended their advantage after halftime with a third penalty corner conversion, struck fiercely into the bottom corner. Romsey soon hit back with Jack Murray driving into the right of the area and squaring for Birch, who was fouled as he went for a sweep shot, but picked himself up to convert the resulting penalty flick.

Poor penalty corner injections had plagued the Romsey for most of the game but once this was corrected the hosts immediately looked dangerous, with a low Joe Welch dragflick pushed onto the post by a brilliant keeper save.

It was a key moment in the game as Bank then re-established their cushion, bypassing some weak tackling in the right of the area and getting first to a rebound off keeper Lozz Scott for a tap in.

Welch returned for another effort and was not to be denied again, leaving the keeper little chance as his rocket of a dragflick found the roof of the net. This set up a tense final ten minutes, but Romsey were unable to produce a valuable equaliser.

Romsey Men’s 1st XI 2 – 3 Camberley & Farnborough Men’s 1st XI  (24/01/15)

It was a familiar story as for a third game running Romsey came away from a tight fixture with disappointingly little to show for their efforts, though they can take encouragement from their competitive performance.

The first half was played mostly in the midfield and Romsey were unfortunate to be denied the lead, with the umpire whistling to award a penalty corner just before Jack Forrest-Charde hit a fine strike that found the goal.

Instead it was the home side who took the lead from a penalty corner with a nicely taken deflection at the back post to put in a hit from the top of the area. The advantage was doubled before the break when an aerial ball opened up the Romsey defence and the move was well finished with a ball fired across the area and deflected over the diving keeper.

Camberley had managed to charge down most of the visitor’s penalty corner efforts in the opening half, but after halftime Romsey had some luck as a deflection from a defender’s stick saw the ball loop up on to the crossbar and go in off the unfortunate keeper.

Romsey’s equaliser was pure skill however as Joe Welch made a burst forward in the midfield before finding striker Lewis Birch in the area, who fired a trademark rising reverse stick shot into the net.

The game was well balanced and might have gone either way but Camberley won it when the ball was deflected into the air where the Romsey goalkeeper was blinded by the low sun, allowing a forward at the back post to knock in the decisive goal.

Romsey Men’s 1st XI 2 – 2 Sunbury & Walton Hawks Men’s 1st XI  (17/01/15)

Romsey picked up a decent point when hosting Sunbury but will be disappointed to have fallen short of the victory having led for almost the whole game. Romsey played some fantastic hockey in the opening quarter hour to surge into a deserved 2-0 lead but the visitors worked their way into the game and secured a draw late on.

The scoring was opened early by Danny Miles from a narrow angle when found at the back post by Tom Ponsford’s diagonal ball across the D. This was backed up by a brilliant play when Joe Welch threw an aerial from centreback that beat the Sunbury defence, allowing Lewis Birch to run clear on goal and finish after rounding the keeper.

Man of the match Ponsford was in the right place to clear the ball from his own goalline as Sunbury edged back into the game over the remainder of the half, but Romsey’s advantage was cut by a strike from a penalty corner.

After halftime Romsey had chances to re-establish their cushion as Birch fired a fierce shot into the ‘keeper’s chest and Miles dragged an effort narrowly wide of the left post. However it was the visitors who created more of the 2nd half chances and goalkeeper Lozz Scott was in fine form, producing a series of close range blocks with his body to preserve the lead.

Romsey looked edgy as they neared what would have been an important win and their failure to retain possession and finish the game was punished as Sunbury won two penalty corners, converting the second when a strike outside the back post was deflected in by a runner.

Romsey Men’s 1st XI 2 – 3 Bournemouth Men’s 1st XI

A spirited fightback was insufficient to overcome an early deficit when Romsey travelled to their high division opponents, but the Abbey side can be pleased that they recovered from a very poor start to hold their own in the remaining three quarters of the game.

Romsey fashioned the first chance when striker Lewis Birch won the ball after putting a defender under pressure and the resulting shot was fired through the legs of the advancing goalkeeper and only just wide of the the target.

Soon the visitors were on the back foot however as Bournemouth settled into their rhythm whilst Romsey looked nervous in possession. A rash attempt to force a long ball from defence was picked off and the hosts punished the mistake fully, converting the counter-attack with a low reverse stick effort.

Bournemouth were looking consistently dangerous as they pinned the visitors into their own half,  peppering the final third of the pitch with through balls searching for their ever willing attacking runners, and it was little surprise when a second goal came in similar fashion to the first.

Romsey got themselves back into the game when Ben Mullan drilled a hit into the crowded ‘D’ and Neil Strong showed sharp reactions at the back post to put the ball away after it took a deflection off an attacking stick. Romsey’s attacking pressure won several penalty corners during the game but they were unable to produce much from these opportunities.

In the second half Romsey continued to improve in possession, demonstrating the necessary patience to transfer the ball around the back until the right ball forward presented itself, whilst Mullan earned his sides’ man of the match nomination for working tirelessly in the midfield to link up play. Bournemouth finished a penalty corner with a pinpoint dragflick into the bottom left corner to extend their lead however.

Tom McCarthy had already troubled the defence on several occassions with his silky skills and incisive dribbling and he cut the deficit by driving along the baseline and flicking a finish from a narrow angle as the ‘keeper prematurely stepped out anticipating a pass.

Romsey Men’s 1st XI 6 – 6 Hamble Men’s 1st XI

Encounters between these two sides over recent seasons have typically produced plenty of goals and this pre-season friendly at Romsey School certainly lived up to that reputation with a feast of attacking hockey on display. The home side began well with Sam Barcia deflecting in Jack Murray’s flick early on before Tim Bailey fired in a second on the reverse stick after the ‘keeper had parried an initial shot.

Hamble began to build momentum on the back of picking off numerous loose passes from the hosts, who were too often guilty of trying to force the ball past well set opponents. The visitors got on the scoresheet when Romsey erred in allowing a midfielder to drive at the top of the ‘D’ and get a shot off under little pressure. Goalkeeper Lozz Scott kept the first strike out with his kicker but the ball rebounded to the same player and he scored second time around.

Next Hamble counterattacked after a turnover and Scott came off his line to deny a shot, but once more Romsey failed to gather the loose ball and were punished by a finish from a narrow angle. The visitors then took the lead when a straight strike penalty corner found a way through the goalkeeper’s pads, but Lucas Cross tied the scores moments before halftime with a brilliant run and cool finish after being sent into space by Ben Mullan.

After the break Romsey thought they had retaken the lead via a Lewis Birch strike but were denied when the umpires conferred and ruled the ball had previously hit a teammate’s foot. Instead the home side found themselves once again playing catch-up as Hamble scored a fourth, but Neil Strong got them back on terms as he somehow managed to finish a rebound despite falling to the floor at the time.

The see-sawing continued when Jack Forrest-Charde coolly sold the GK a dummy pass and instead roofed a reverse stick flick, but Hamble hit back with two further goals of their own and led once more. Romsey had the final say with yet another effort on the rebound as Birch found the backboard with a crisp strike after Tom Ponsford had set Mullan up for the first shot.

Romsey can take plenty of positives from this performance against higher placed opposition, but will also seek to tighten up certain aspects of their play when they travel to Bournemouth next Saturday for another challenging friendly.

Romsey Men’s 1st XI 3 – 0 Honourable Artillery Company Men’s 1st XI

Victory in their final league game lifted Romsey to a very respectable 7th place finish for their first season of highly competitive regional hockey in Hants/Surrey Div. 2, but the win was far from straightforward. HAC hit the post and won numerous penalty corners with Joe Welch denying a couple of these efforts on the line, who then went up the other end of the pitch to show the toothless visitors how to finish a set piece, placing a dragflick neatly inside the right post.

Romsey were soon rewarded for their improved play after the break as Mark Gilbert quickly restarted play after being fouled and a clinical move via David Edwards and Jack Forrest-Charde saw Ben Mullan supply an assist for Neil Strong’s pinpoint finish into the corner.

Tom Ponsford - Carded !

Tom Ponsford – Carded !

A third goal soon after appeared to seal the result, with Forrest-Charde’s lifted shot deflected into the roof of the net by Lewis Birch’s lightning sharp reactions.

Romsey were then under the cosh for a ten minute spell with HAC seemingly certain to score on several occasions, only to be denied by last ditch tackling and numerous fantastic saves by man of the match Lozz Scott in goal.

With quarter of an hour left Romsey suffered a wholly unnecessary implosion that threatened to ruin the previous hard work. Tom Ponsford took his complaints to the umpire much too far after a penalty corner was awarded and received a sin-binning for the remainder of the game, and compounded the matter by ignoring instructions from the official regarding where he should serve the penalty, leading to the Romsey captain being yellow carded as well in punishment.

A couple of minutes later the home side were temporarily down to eight players as Birch was carded for a slide tackle, yet HAC actually threatened the goal less than when facing a full side, with Romsey holding on relatively comfortably. This brought the haul from their final nine games to seven wins and a draw, a brilliant run which saw them climb from a position several points adrift at the bottom of the table to their eventual mid-table security.

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