Members from all sections of the club ran the Relay Marathon this morning. They were running to raise money for the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.

There is still time to sponsor them – please follow this link:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/romsey-hockey-club

3rd and 4th Place met for the last game of the season for Romsey with only pride at stake as 3rd and 4th were likely to be where both teams finished regardless of the result.

Romsey As has been their way this season took the game to the IOW and Chris H and Josh H ran the midfield and set up a chance first for Carl Hendy and then Dan B who saw his effort hit the outside of the side board of the goal.

Romsey kept the pressure on with Matt D on the left and Elliot C on the right providing good width.

A combination between Matt D and Man of the Match Andy Moger saw the left back run with the ball up the left and then cut inside. Eventually finding himself inside the circle he unleashed a fine shot inside the post to put Romsey 1 0 up.

Romsey were unlucky not to get a penalty strike when Colin Harwoods effort was deemed by the umpire to be going wide when it was stopped by a foot, and a penalty corner was awarded.

As the half wore on IOW got back in to the match and from a well worked move they created a good move to shoot past Bryn W in goal and Simeon Field couldn’t quite get the ball away from the goal line to avoid the equaliser going in for 1 1.

The second half saw the IOW move immediately in to the Romsey circle but the ball went off the back of the pitch.

From the 16 yard hit Lukas Suleja played the ball to Colin Harwood, he provided a deft first time touch to play the ball to Josh H, who moved forward with the ball before releasing Chris H, he went round his man and pulled the ball back to Josh H who squared to Carl Hendy to score inside the post for 2 1 and to finish off a great team move.

The IOW upped their game and Bryn W saved twice from strong shots, and two further penalty corners.

From another penalty corner an IOW shot hit a foot from the out rushing defence and the umpire awarded a penalty stroke, which was disappointing after the Romsey chance from the first half.  IOWs strong midfield player made no mistake for 2 2.

There was further dismay soon after when a shot from IOW hit another Romsey foot, and while Romsey expected a whistle the IOW forward put the ball in the goal for what proved to be the winner in a tough end of season encounter.

This left Romsey 4s with 30 points from their 18 matches, winning 9, drawing 3 and losing 6, three of these defeats being in the final four games.

Romsey managed to find the net 50 times in the league and now have two players Who have played 50 times for the team since it started three seasons ago.

Trojans reversed their 2 1 defeat at Romsey the week before with a slightly stronger side on Easter Saturday.

Romsey started really brightly and could have taken the lead when a well worked move involving Josh H, Chris H and Rob W lead to Rich L rolling the ball to Rob Cav who saw his shot blocked.

Trojans went one up from a penalty corner, with James Tower sent to the half way line for running out to quick, the Trojans striker appeared to miss time his flicked shot, but its slow speed saw keeper Nick Welby watch in despair as it went over his dive.

Romsey equalised when a penalty corner played to Colin Harwood saw his shot blocked by the keeper but with Rob W on hand to roll it in for 1 1 on the stoke of half time.

Romsey went close to taking a lead in the second half when Chris H crossed in to the circle but an almighty clearance saw the ball end up at the other end of the pitch and with the Trojans centre forward fortunate to beat Lukasz Suleja he made no mistake smashing the ball past Nick in goal.

Romsey pushed for the equaliser and after a couple of saves by the Trojans keeper a third effort fell to young Barry H, but he couldn’t quite get to the rebound before a last gasp sliding clearance from a defender, so Romsey ran out on the wrong end of a 2 1 scoreline.

Romsey secured 3 points against lower placed opposition, but they were made to pay for missed chances in what became a close fought encounter.

Romsey started brightly and immediately put pressure on the Trojans defence, eventually winning a penalty corner.

The ball was played out to Carl Hendy by Ben Parker, Hendy slipped it right to Colin Harwood who played it back to Hendy for the striker to play the ball to the far post where Dan Blackman had moved forward to, he made no mistake with a reverse stick shot for his first goal for the Club.

Romsey doubled their lead when Chris Harwood crossed to Hendy whose shot was blocked by the keeper, only for Colin Harwood to lift the rebound over the keeper and in to the net.  Harwood should have made it 3 0 when he was played in by James Tower but his shot beat the keeper and just skimmed the outside of the far post.

With young Ben H and Barry H on and having some chances the game looked sewn up, but Trojans rallied and showed some good skills to make moves in to the Romsey circle.

Trojans were rewarded when a strike on goal was deflected off Lukasz Suleja’s stick past Bryn W in goal for 2 1 at HT.

The second half saw plenty of Romsey possession and chances, Josh H solidly winning the centre midfield battle he tried to set up Sean Rawles and Dan Blackman again, and a through ball to the usually dependable Hendy saw the striker Mia time his shot.

Simeon Field was allowing an outlet up the right, and Andy Moger the left, but despite wining more penalty corners a goal was not forthcoming, and a fine save from Bryn W kept out the Trojan forward Barney H for what could have been an equaliser.

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.

Romsey Hockey Club raised £201.43 from the Christmas Party and Raffle.

The Club would like to thank the following local businesses for their support and donations:

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.

RHC Parent / Legal Guardian Information and Guidance

The document covers:

  • What can you expect from RHC?
  • What does RHC expect?
  • Who is the RHC Welfare Office?

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!).        

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