Top of the table USP took all three points as they look likely champions and promotion to Division 8 awaits, although the score line was harsh on a young Romsey team.

Romsey started from the pushback and got the ball in the USP circle through Ollie Bryant, but a solid clearance saw the chance come to nothing and then soon after USP took advantage down their right, overloading Ben Parker two on one, and then crossing and leaving Bryn W and Lukasz Suleja outnumbered to take an early lead.

Josh H and Will R were getting on top in the centre of the pitch but couldn’t set up any clear chances.

Romsey had to defend some penalty corners, but USP could make nothing from them, James Tower was always quickly out and one shot they had on goal was far to high.

The second half saw the young Romsey players attack USP and with James Tower pushing forward they looked the more dangerous.

Sean Rawles was unlucky when he combined with Carl Hendy, but it was a pass out to Dan B by Josh H that saw the forward beat two men and see his cross pushed for a long corner.

Colin Harwood moved up to take and played the ball wide to Josh H, he controlled the ball and moved forward playing it back in to the circle at pace to Colin Harwood who had moved with him, and as the ball bobbled up from the pass, Harwood unleashed an unstoppable shop that beat the keeper at the far post for a Romsey equaliser. “what a goal!” Echoed around the stadium and Romsey were back in it.

The equaliser saw USP up their game, and sadly for Romsey the scores weren’t level for long.

A USP break saw them play in their for forward to be one on one with Bryn, the keeper did well to smother the chance but the USP man managed to push in the rebound while on the floor.

Simeon Field playing at right had a great game, keeping the USP quiet and remaining calm under pressure, so USP switched the ball central and took a well timed shot for 3 1, which was harsh after the excellent defending by Field, Parker and Suleja.

Romsey almost snatched a second through half chances that fell to Sean Rawles and then young Barry H, but it wasn’t to be, and

in the  last few minutes a ball in to the circle hit a Romsey foot and bounced up to hit a USP stick and deflect pass Bryn for 4 1.

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Romsey took their chances and three points as expected against bottom of the table Poole.

It didn’t take long for Romsey to open the scoring Colin H won a free hit outside the circle and Chris H made a run in from the right to intercept a perfectly weighted pass to cross to Carl H who controlled and turned to shoot from a narrow angle for 1 0.

Romsey doubled their lead when the ball was played up to Carl H at the top of the circle who played the ball to Colin H to make it 2 0.

A well worked move then saw Josh H square for Dan B to shoot, but his shot was blocked by the last defender only for Josh H to sweep in the rebound.

Carl H made it 4 0 from a penalty corner strike, and then another penalty corner was played out to Colin H who passed back to Josh H, his shot was blocked on the line but the corner taker Ben P made no mistake from an inch out following up, to give Romsey a 5 0 HT lead.

The second half allowed for Romsey to play an open game with everyone getting time on the ball.

From a penalty corner early in the second half Ben P pushed out to Colin H, who stopped the ball and passed to Chris H, his slip to Josh H saw a family passing move end with a cool finish.

A young Poole side had played some good hockey and won a penalty corner of their own. Colin H and James T ran out but were taken out of the move by a swift pass and this allowed Poole to strike fiercely past the onrushing Bryn W for 6 1.

Romsey weren’t stopping their though, and from another penalty corner Colin H passed directly to Josh H for 7 1 and the first hat trick of the match.

With Romsey now playing some open hockey, Lukasz S made sure Poole didn’t make it in to the circle again, and Rob C, Simeon F and James T gained confidence with time on the ball, and played some strong passes to build moves through the midfield.

Colin H picked up a loose ball and beat two defenders before playing a great one two with Carl H and sweeping the ball home for 8 1 and then he returned the favour by playing in Carl H, who saw his first shot blocked but made no mistake hammering in the rebound for 9 1 and his hat trick.

Carl got his fourth and Romseys tenth when Will R played in Josh H to square for the striker to shoot calmly in to the goal, and Will R was unlucky not to get on the score sheet as his play on the left had been so strong all match.  At the end Dan B was set up by Colin H for what would have been his first goal for the club, his shot beat the keeper but came back square off the foot of the post and Romsey put the rebound wide.

Romsey went in to this match on a four game winning run, and an eye on runners up spot, unless current second placed Lavant, who Romsey had already beaten home and away, could win against top of the United Services.

Sadly Romseys result and a win for Lavant make that an even greater challenge now.

Romsey were all over the Swanage defence from the off, the Swanage keeper in inspired form kept out efforts from TK, Carl H, Colin H and Sean R, with Man of the Match Matt D seeing two efforts flash just wide.

With Romsey having to make enforced changes as Dave M, Dan B and Ben P all went off injured for short periods, Swanage too their chance on the break and despite the heroics of Nick W in goal who kept out a number of shots, Swanage took a lead in to the break.

Romsey started the second half as they had started the first, Dave M, Dan B and Carl H all went close, but the Swanage keeper kept all chances out and then history repeated itself as a fast break saw Lukasz S as last man and a fine cross saw a first time strike for 2 0 to the away team.

Romsey rallied and with 15 minutes to go, after Josh H had a penalty corner strike ruled out for a lifted shot, Colin H made no mistake with a first time shot inside the post.

Alas, Romsey couldn’t manage to get a point from the game as with Rob C and Simeon F pushing up to support the attack along with James Tower, the forwards contrived to swing and miss when composure was required and so Romsey ended up losing 2 1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Please take a few minutes to review the one page document; Safeguarding is a club wide responsibility.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MoM:  Rob N (excellent commitment).

DoD:  Not awarded (too many sinners!).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RHC 2nd XI set off for Farnham for a 4pm fixture on a wintry December afternoon.  Played under lights throughout, frost was not that far away.  Aldershot & Farnham 3rd XI, our opponents, were promoted as runners up to RHC 2nd XI two seasons ago.  However, last season’s results 3-3(H) and 0-6(A) ensured that RHC could not afford to be complacent.

Good 1st & 2nd XI availability ensured that RHC were able to travel with 14.  In defence: a back three of Ben M, Rob N and Ben D with Rob K as sweeper.  In midfield: Connor O’D and Art B wide, with Ali N, Zac C and Tom W central.  In attack:  Mozza S-S.  Initial substitutes:  Jamie S (def), Archie (wide mf) and Sam B (fwd/mf).  Pre match, Ali N briefed his plans, in particular, stressing the need to maintain our five-man midfield shape and to use the ball at pace.  Players seemed to be listening and, following a rather short warm-up, took to the field determined to build on last week’s fine performance.

In this respect, RHC could not have started better.  With barely a minute gone, Mozza chased an apparently lost cause high on the left, dived forward and sent a reverse stick screamer across the D.  Tom W arrived at just the right moment, the goalkeeper did not move, and the ball flew into the net; 1-0.  Buoyed by this start, RHC really started to tick, it was clear to see the formation, there was always strength in depth, sensible passes were made and the pace was simply too much for less dynamic opposition.  Minutes later, it was 3-0 to RHC with both Zac C and Ali N finding the net.  Play continued in this vein for the first quarter of the match.  However, A&F then woke up and, aided by some poor passing by RHC, started to apply pressure themselves.  Nigel K in goal produced a fine diving save and RHC defence had to contend with several penalty corners; all producing viable shots.  The game then really started to flow from end to end, RHC scored two further goals through Zac C and Art B and even had one goal ruled out, much to everyone’s surprise.  RHC’s team play was excellent; a joy to see and to play in.  5-0 up at half-time.

Despite a positive half-time talk, RHC then started to falter.  Although running the same substitution routine as in the first half, the team shape suffered, as did ball possession.  RHC lost personal discipline, became less team focussed and were unable to contain A&F counter attacks in numbers.  Whilst Mozza scored two more poacher’s goals and had a third disallowed, RHC conceded three in the last fifteen minutes: a rebound off Nigel K after a good first save, a 2 v 1 and a deflected overtime penalty corner.  In many ways, the central midfield and even the wide defenders seemed to have forgotten their defensive duties, leaving Ali N, Rob K and Rob N over exposed.  Final score:  7-3.

In summary, a game of two halves; I have been waiting to be able to say this!  A fantastic team performance in the first half with near perfect execution of everything demanded by Ali N; the game plan worked!  However, despite requests for the same again, individuals seemed to forget their team roles and, in a few cases, seemed more interested in personal glory.  Yes, we achieved our aim of three points.  However, against a stronger team we would have been well and truly punished.

MoM:  Zac C (excellent commitment) and Rob K (steady play in an unusual role).

DoD:  Nigel K (teddies & cots; not acting his age!).

RHC 2nd XI returned to HCS to take on league leaders Fleet & Ewshott 1st XI.  Outwardly quite bubbly following the 10-man 2-2 draw against Basingstoke 3rd XI, pre-match banter revealed that many had the same feeling – this game was going to be tough.  That said, a positive team talk and lively warm up saw RHC more than ready to do battle.  In defence: a back three of Jamie S, Rob N and James M with Dave M as sweeper.  In midfield: a five-man formation designed to provide control and mutual cover, Connor O’D and Ben D wide, with Ali N, Zac C and Felix C-S central.  In attack:  a lone forward, Mozza S-S.  Further cover was provided by initial substitutes:  Noah C and James F, the latter home for a guest appearance.

Early exchanges proved to be somewhat mixed.  RHC made good use of pace on the flanks with Connor on the left particularly making some incisive runs.  However, midfield support proved to be inconsistent and possession was frequently lost.  Under duress, players forgot to use the ball and pushed too hard.  Fleet also had their moments, but RHC’s defence, in particular James M, held firm.  Against expectations, RHC really started to take control and the visiting goalkeeper had to be sharp on a number of occasions.  Zac C and Felix C-S really combined well and, ably supported by Ali N, kept the pressure on.  A couple of penalty corners came and went; simple routines, but poor execution.  Unfortunately, then, two major lapses in defence allowed Fleet to score two goals in quick succession; the first from a penalty corner breakdown and the second from an open play miss-flick.  Neither Rob N nor Nigel K managed to stop what would have been routine last season.  To RHC’s credit, the team came back well from these setbacks.  James F and Noah C subbed in and out of the front six seamlessly and by half-time RHC seemed to be playing the better hockey; 2-0 down did not really reflect our performance.

Following a positive half-time talk, RHC took to the pitch as a team and produced some excellent hockey.  The ball was played early, at pace, around the whole team, but fine defending prevented any breakthrough.  Several penalty corners ensued, shots were taken, but no conversions achieved.  Fleet were clearly under the cosh, surely this relentless pressure would tell.  It did!  RHC’s first goal came from a moment of individual inspiration.  Noah C, noticing that Fleet defenders were distracted, took a quick free hit, dribbled into the D and pushed the ball past a less than ready goalkeeper.  Much discussion ensued, but the goal stood.  This turn of luck was just what RHC needed.  Ali N had already given just about everything, but now produced a real moment of magic.  Setting off on a trademark lanky run, he found himself in the D and converted with aplomb.  2-2!  Needless to say, the final five minutes of the game were frantic, but RHC held firm.

In summary, an excellent team performance, knocked back by two soft goals against and continued poor penalty corner execution.  However, a perfect way to lead in to the team’s Christmas meal.  Looking to the future, RHC need to play to the advertised game plan, listen to Ali N and keep the pressure on the opposition.  If we do, we will score; positive results should then follow.

MoM:  Ali (excellent drive and commitment).

DoD:  James F (a stitch up, but it was his turn!).

Romsey faced tough opposition in high flying United Services who look like the other challengers for the Div 9 South title with Isle of Wight, who were the only team to defeat Romsey so far this season before this match.

Romsey who usually start quite brightly, we’re on the back foot early on. Good tackles by T Sanders and L Suleja kept USP outside the circle, and D Sanders and D Andrews then provided further cover to keep the ball out, before it was drilled in from the USP left across the circle to find a stick at the far post to put USP 1 0 up.

Romsey rallied, and youngsters J Fuller, W Ritchie and E Colyer all started to make moves down the wings trying to create an opening.

C Harwood intercepted the ball and played a pass to J Harwood who played in C Hendy, but the top marksman couldn’t get his shot on target.

With Andrews and J Harwood starting to control the midfield Romsey suddenly looked the stronger team.  J Tower pushed up the right and interchanged with Colyer to get the ball in the circle but no chance could be created.

N Mason and Hendy upfront were supported with the tireless running of debutant S Field, and when J Harwood won a penalty corner Romsey had their best chance of an equaliser.

With B Parker played the ball to Hendy his pass to Mason was hit on goal and saved by the keeper, only for Parker to nip in and push the ball over the keeper and over the line for 1 1.

Romsey nearly went in ahead at the break as J Harwood somehow kept the ball in on the left and smashed it in to the circle, Hendy couldn’t get a touch and Colyer was almost able to steer it in at the back post but not quite.

Sadly the USP team with an extensive squad were able to up their game in the second half. Early on a great move by the visitors saw a first time shot saved by the in form B Wathen in goal, but USP followed up with a well timed second shot for 2 1.

Then a long through ball midway through the half saw Wathen rush out to narrow the angle but the USP forward took it round him and wide to push the ball in to the goal.

With the game closing out USP got two more chances and two more goals, the first a very well timed reverse stick volley to win 5 1, which was harsh on Romsey after their first half display.

Romsey 4s have one more match before Christmas and currently have 12 points, from 3 wins, 3 draws and two defeats against the top two and sit fourth in the table.

RHC 2nd XI returned to Romsey School to host high flying Havant 4th XI.  Team spirit seemed good following the previous week’s easy victory.  However, there was still plenty to discuss pre-match.  Basically, in defence, once we lose the ball, cover back to protect our central midfield against a quick counter attack and, in attack, improve our decision making and pass selection.  Above all else, use the ball at pace.


RHC attacked from the start and a fine flowing move down the right saw Ben D feeding Felix C-S who scored his first league goal at the second attempt.  Spurred on by this goal, RHC then produced fifteen minutes worth of balanced team hockey.  Greig S controlled the midfield confidently, ably supported in rotation by Ben M, Art B, Rob K and Felix.  Wide midfield support and pace was provided by Connor O’D, Ben D and Archie A, all making frequent solo probing runs into the final quarter.  Despite several close calls from Mozza S-S, no further goals were scored.  Havant also played their part and became increasingly competitive.  Initially, RHC’s defence held firm, but pressure eventually told.  Inevitably, a scrappy deflected goal was conceded.  Buoyed by this, Havant really turned the screw.  Penalty corners flowed and two goals were conceded, the first deflected in off Nigel K and the second straight through Ali N on the left post.  3-1 down at half time.         


In the second half, despite initial efforts and sporadic attacks by RHC, Havant continued to apply the pressure.  RHC’s defence comprising Dave M, Rob N, Jamie S and Ali N played well, but errors started to creep in.  Two further goals were conceded.  Another unlucky deflection and a kamikaze defensive pass leading to Nigel K in goal being hopelessly exposed.  RHC’s woes continued as Greig S departed injured.  At this point and with nothing to lose, Ali pushed forward; another one of his trademark mazy runs reduced the score-line to 5-2 against.  However, this was not end, as yet another defensive lapse left Nigel K exposed yet again.  Final score 6-2 to Havant.  On reflection, they are the best team we have faced so far.  A fine combination of teamwork and personal skills, well deserved league leaders.


In summary, a reasonable effort, but we missed Ali N in midfield.  Many of our youngsters showed flashes of flair with the ball.  However, as team, we are still struggling to defend as a whole.  On occasion, we shoot ourselves in the foot through letting the ball go too easily; we must retain possession, be patient and learn to strike when appropriate. 


MoM:  Not awarded.


DoD:  Ali (not writing this match report on time or at all!).        

Romsey travelled to Swanage with only 11 players and initially the absence of the Harwood clan saw Romsey fall two behind to some simple goals.

At this point Romsey reacted positively without their talismanic skipper and and started to put together some excellent moves going forward. A Nick Mason shot was deflected past the keeper by old stalwart and top scorer Carl Hendy.

This was followed by superb work by midfield duo of D Andrews and M Duke keeping Romsey on the front foot and resulting in Mason scoring a wonderful solo effort to draw the teams level.

Romsey took the lead from another rMason strike and continued to dominate.

Disappointingly despite resolute defending from Parker, Loescher, Cavalier and Suleja Swanage poked the ball past Wathen in goal to equalise before half time.

The second half saw the opposition strengthen their midfield and in a close fought half another moment of solo magic by Man of the Match Mason won it for Romsey 4 – 3, maintaining their unbeaten start to the season after five games, with next up unbeaten Isle of Wight this Saturday, another encounter where Harwoods Senior and Junior will be missing!

RHC 2nd XI travelled away to last year’s relegated league newcomers reasonably confident that victory would be gained.  Our opponents had lost all six previous fixtures, letting in 38 goals in the process.  However, given our own recent defeats and variable degree of team discipline, there was definitely no room for complacency.  Again, the bonus of an away fixture, found us all changed and available in the changing room some 30 minutes before the start.  This time was well spent reinforcing how our five-man midfield was meant to work; protect the centre-midfield at all costs, and use the ball.

Despite a good team talk and an apparently focussed team, there was little time for a good warm up; limited pitch time was also broken up with a two-minute silence.  In the global scheme of things, it is important to remember those who really did give everything.

RHC got just the start that was needed with a good passing move ending up with Art B scoring after just two minutes.  However, this lead was short lived with a double deflection deceiving Nigel K in goal; a lack of personal focus, trying to play, run the subs and coach does not work!  That said; this set back woke RHC up.  In defence, Jamie S, Rob N, Ali N and Ben D easily contained sporadic attacks and even found time to attack.  Greig S produced a composed performance at centre midfield ably supported by two of Art, Felix C-S and Neil S in rotation.  Wide midfield support and pace was provided by Connor O’D, Sam W and Archie A, again two of three in rotation.  Connor and Sam particularly impressed with fine, but differing personal skills.  Mozza S-S ran tirelessly and added his special wow factor up front.  Attractive, attacking hockey flowed; the ball often seeming to bounce around a pin ball machine.  As a result, RHC were 6-1 up at halftime.  Interestingly, this was without a single penalty corner being won; we used the ball, made the passes and the opposition were unable to get near us.

In the second half, despite periods of fast, balanced hockey, too many fine moves foundered on poor final passes or lost possession following selfish individual play.  What is for certain, running with the ball equals confusion.  That said, we won several penalty corners and did manage to convert two; not route one, though, but by the passing ball around.  Despite a final score of 9-1, RHC’s second half team discipline was somewhat disjointed.  A tight mutually supporting formation will be essential against future opponents.

In summary, a morale boosting victory.  Excellent performances from Mozza, back to his best after illness, and all our youngsters.  The challenge now is to harness this youthful exuberance.  What works against school or junior opponents does not always work against wily old defenders.  We are getting there and the team, young, old and ancient seem to be enjoying each other’s company.  If we can keep our team tight, personally focused and playing to the plan, we can start to beat the best, rather than just compete.

MoM:  Mozza (4 goals), not forgetting:  Sam (3) & Art (2).

DoD:  Ali (asking where we were playing, losing the hat, then finding it!)

Result: 2-1 (loss)


It was a very youthful Bournemouth 4th XI who travelled to HCS for this Hampshire Division 4 clash – both sides looking to get their seasons back on track with a win, in what promised from the outset to be a very close encounter. A bold selection saw Captain Ali Nawn drop into a defensive role, with two deeper-lying central midfielders positioned to provide additional passing options from defence.


A buoyant Romsey opened in a very promising fashion – whilst overlooking the midfield in favour of a more direct approach, solid early passing lead to several good opportunities. Perhaps the most important of these saw Art Barcia break into the ‘D’; a quick one-two with Mozza on the edge of the ‘D’ creating Romsey’s first clear sight of goal. Art’s shot whistled just centimetres wide, but he’ll have been left rueing Mozza’s poor decision-making – had Mozza held the ball for a moment and then passed, Art would have been left staring at an open goal.


The rest of the half was characterised by typically frantic end-to-end exchanges, with two very solid defences greatly limiting good scoring opportunities. Whilst Nigel King (making his 33rd appearance for RHC2XI) made several excellent stops, it was Bournemouth who opened the scoring midway through the first half; a loose forward escaping the clutches of an otherwise resolute Romsey defence, and finishing a fine Bournemouth move with a far post tap-in. It was a moment that temporarily damaged Romsey’s confidence – and the second Bournemouth goal followed in similar fashion shortly afterwards. At 2-0 however, there was a strong sense that the score line didn’t reflect the balance of play. As though recalling their comeback from 2-0 down last week, Romsey pressed on to get back into the game. Several outstanding pieces of attacking play from Connor o’Dowda down the Romsey left went unrewarded. An Ali Nawn short corner strike whistled inches wide of the left-hand Bournemouth post. A clever little dinked ball from Mozza on the edge of the ‘D’ to Dave Miles almost created a one-on-one chance for the latter – finding excellent space with his runs from midfield. Just when the half looked lost, Dave Miles returned this favour with a ball to Mozza on the edge of the ‘D’, who turned and blasted it into the bottom left corner. 2-1 at half time… game on!


The second half saw an early shift in the balance of play, Bournemouth retaining possession well, and using it with purpose. When Romsey did take possession, there was an evident struggle to penetrate the Bournemouth defensive lines, and create opportunities for the forwards. Despite their chances, Bournemouth were unable to capitalise – credit to the outstanding efforts of Noah, Jamie, Ali and Rob Noble in defence, who, alongside Nigel in goal, looked extremely solid throughout. As the half progressed, Romsey maintained the work rate, and created several good opportunities. Most notable amongst these was a wonderful piece of counter-attacking play which saw a quick ball to Mozza immediately shunted into the path of an onrushing Art Barcia, who in turn took a single touch before firing into James Fraser (making his return to RHC2XI hockey), making a late run at the top of the ‘D’. Fraser struck the ball beautifully – but it flew against the angle of crossbar and post… outcries of frustration from the spectators, as the shot bounced across the face of goal, the keeper completely, hopelessly beaten, and out for a Bournemouth sideline ball.


And so the game finished – a very unlucky 2-1 defeat for Romsey. Despite the result, a very good game of hockey played in good spirit, with some excellent umpiring and very good points for an improving Romsey to take into next week.


MoM:  N/A – but the author would give it to Noah and Connor for frankly outstanding personal performances.

DoD:  Rob Kerr – went to Romsey School for the meet. At least he had his shirt this week though! 😉

Romsey enjoyed another entertaining topsy turvy Saturday encounter to remain unbeaten so far after four matches.

Romsey started strongly with Rob Cav having plenty of possession down the left, he and Ben Parker joined up to play in C Harwood but his pass in to the circle was cleared by the keeper before J Harwood could get to the ball.

M Duke making his debut was instrumental in setting up a one two with Carl Hendy but solid Salisbury defender kept Romsey out.

Then midway through the half the tide turned and it was Romsey on the back foot. Two long threaded passes found Salisbury forwards, the first saw a shot to the top corner that keeper B Wathen did brilliantly to claw away with his hand. Then the keeper was called upon to make a save with his feet.

L Suleja and D Loescher worked tirelessly to keep wave after wave of long balls at bay, and J Tower helped out at right back to make two clearances, before finally Salisbury made the break through to go 1 0 up at HT.

Romsey regrouped and the second. Half started like the first, this time J Harwood and D Andrews cut out every ball in the midfield with support of Duke, to set up Hendy and then E Colyer.

Another move saw Hendy and Duke interchange passes and when the keeper saved Dukes first attempt his followed up was stopped on the line with a foot for a penalty stroke. Duke stepped up and put the ball low in to the bottom left corner for 1 1 in a Man if the Match performance.

Romsey continued their onslaught, with Parker and Cav strong down the left and Tower and Colyer equally effective down the left.

Colyer played in C Harwood in the last few minutes his shot hit a foot, but Romsey failed to convert penalty corner chances and the game finished 1 1.



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