Fareham scored four times in the last 11 minutes to beat Cardiff University 6-1 – the result a perfect lift-off for new coach George Harris and his young charges following last season’s relegation to the Western Conference.
The outcome of Fareham’s visit to the Welsh capital hung in the balance on the hour mark as the students tried unsuccessfully to cancel out a 2-1 deficit.
But the wind was taken out of their sails by Chris Davey’s third for Fareham, who went on to score three more times in the last five minutes to run out comfortable winners.
Fareham, who won only twice before being relegated from National South last term, found themselves trailing to a sixth minute penalty stroke conversion by KES raised Will Penrose, who spent the last two seasons at Henry Cort and is now studying biology at Cardiff University.
Davey conceded the penalty, blocking a university strike on the line.
It took Fareham a while to emerge from a lethargic start it needed a verbal 'rocket' from Harris at quarter-time to fire them into action.
The coach got the response he was looking for as Portsmouth Grammar School’s Alex Beckett, one of numerous teenagers in the squad, equalized for Fareham in the 23rd minute from a move initiated by Phil Larcombe and shortly before half-time Niall Stott celebrated his comeback from a broken leg by converting a short corner to give the visitors a 2-1 half-time lead.
Fareham weathered a near half-hour Cardiff University spell of pressure before Davey grabbed a crucial third goal, with Larcombe again the provider.
Finishing strongly and emerging the fitter side, Fareham turned the screw and scored three more goals before the final whistle – Beckett getting his second either side of an Alex Boxall brace.
Beckett might well have christened his debut with a hat-trick but unselfishly set up Fareham's sixth for Boxall.
Havant chairman Chris Pickett has written to England Hockey asking for the 2020/21 National League season to be delayed due to the pandemic.
His concerns are mainly to do with players travelling to and from away games in wet weather without changing rooms being open.
‘It’s not ideal,’ he said, ‘but we have to get on with it. ‘There could also be problems with travelling - in our 2nd XI, for example, there are a lot of youngsters who don’t drive.
‘I would have liked to have seen the league postponed until the new year. We could have played clubs like Fareham, Chichester and Portsmouth rather than travel long distances.’
Havant and their league rivals are allowed to postpone a certain percentage of their games in 2020/21 for Covid-related reasons.
If both teams involved in a game can’t play, they are allowed to agree a 0-0 draw.
If a club postpones more than its allocated percentage, they will have to forfeit each match 3-0.
‘You could see some weird results,’ said Pickett. ‘Frankly, I have grave concerns whether the league will actually be finished.’
Havant enter the new National South season against Southgate at Havant College on Sunday (12.30) with a much-changed squad.
Argentinians Manuel Silvetti and Federico Bertoni and Pakistan international Atiq Arshad have not returned, while Michael Deller-Merricks has joined Basingstoke and Tom Croft-Baker is at university.
In addition, Charlie Stubbings has moved away to Teddington to work and the influential Matt Cox is still waiting for a knee operation and could miss a large chunk of the campaign.
Jakub Janicki, meanwhile, is playing in Berlin this season.
There is a Polish feel to the squad, though, with top goalkeeper Maciej Pacanowski and striker Maciej Janiszewski returning for another season. They will be joined by new signing and fellow Pole Eryk Bembeneck.
Tahsin Chowdhury, who has played National League hockey for Lichfield, has also signed along with Fareham’s Jamie Rawlings, who had a spell with Reading last season.
Trojans plan to take their successful pre-season form into the Southern League Premier Division curtain raiser with Winchester, whom they beat twice last term before the city side eventually staved off relegation.
They won 2-1 at King’s on the opening day with goals by Colin French and Richard Hill before hitting Winchester for six in the Stoneham Lane return, Matty Bell notching a hat-trick in the 6-3 victory.
Player/coach Richard Markham is delighted how Trojans pre-season has gone and has paid tribute to Ian Bassett “for his tireless efforts in getting hockey back at Stoneham so the team could complete a two-month preparation programme.
“This has given new faces a chance to bed themselves in and has allowed returning players to stake a claim for a squad place for the season.
“We’ve done well in attracting new players and welcome Cameron Berry, Tim Fewtrell and Piers Everleigh into the 1s squad.
“The addition of new faces and the growing maturity of the home grown players means the club have been able to play a more expansive game during pre-season with successful matches against Fareham, Bournemouth, Basingstoke, Staines and Oxford HC.”
Trojans’ match against Winchester is at Stoneham Lane, 1.30.
Fareham’s prospects for the upcoming Conference West campaign, which begins at Cardiff University on Sunday, have received a significance boost with the return of influential former Great Britain Olympian midfielder Niall Stott.
It will be twelve months ago to the day that Stott suffered a double break of his ankle and leg at Teddington – a serious injury that was to have a profound effect on Fareham’s 2019/20 season, culminating in relegation from the National South division.
The 39-year old was a member of the GB squad in the 2004 Athens Olympics and played for East Grinstead and Havant before joining Fareham three seasons ago.
Stott, who is tip toeing his way back by playing in short spells, admits he thought the injury was a career-ending one.
“In all honesty, I didn't think I would ever be back playing again. It’s the longest I have been out of hockey in my whole career. I’ve made quite a remarkable recovery. Now it’s good to be back playing again,” he reflected.
“I spent 11 weeks in a full cast and another six weeks in a moon boot. After that I was then on crutches with very light weight bearing through my foot and building the weight through my leg as time progressed.”
He explained: “I was allowed to start light training mid-July and build it up slowly and gradually. I am still not back to full training yet and that will be a few months away yet.”
Having been sidelined for almost a whole year, Stott acknowledges it will take time before he can take a full part for Fareham.
“I am nowhere near fully fit and that will take a lot longer. I am still doing rehab and prehab to get my leg as strong as possible and try to get to where I was before, but that is a long way off.
“I am just glad that I can be back on the pitch again in some capacity as that was looking unlikely at points during my injury/recovery. I will be recovering for a long time and the journey is long hard and slow.”
Amid the disappointment of relegation from National South came the green shoots of numerous talented youngsters being given valuable game time in readiness for this season.
Fareham were national finalists in England Hockey’s Under-18 Cup two seasons ago and it’s the bulk of that side that will play in Conference West this term.
Stott is looking forward to playing his part, albeit in short spells on the pitch.
“I see my role in the squad as one of experience and trying to help as much as I possibly can by using my experience and knowledge in both tactical and technical aspects of the game.
“We have a very young squad with some experienced guys in there with a slightly older head on their shoulders.
“I really hope that we can play (a full season) and get back to enjoying the sport we love.
“I think we have the making of a very good squad and we are looking to develop the players and club style of play, with a new system introduced by our new coach George Harris, which we are all getting used to.
“It is always difficult to predict how well you are going to do as there is so many variables that can happen.”
Pre-season has been encouraging, even a fairly predictable 9-1 defeat at Premier Division Beeston was not as ‘bad’ as the score-line might suggest.
Stott said: “We played some good hockey. It was a really good experience for the guys to play against a team of Beeston’s quality and a massive learning curve for the boys and the club, plus it shows the level we aspire to get to.”
The former Scottish international has expressed his thanks to Fareham for their support during this long injury period.
“I owe massive thanks to Nick Knight and his staff in the clinic as I truly don't think I would be playing hockey again if it wasn't for them.
“They helped me through the most difficult parts of my journey back to hockey. They are so knowledgeable and welcoming and would do anything to get their clients to where they were before or even better.”
Talented Harry Trussler will swap his cricket bat for his hockey stick on Saturday when Winchester launch their South Premier League challenge against Trojans at Stoneham Lane, 1.30pm.
The teenager has enjoyed a successful albeit truncated cricket season with St Cross Symondians, celebrating a maiden Southern League Cup century against Andover and a fifty in the win over Lymington.
Now he switches roles from run scorer to potential goal scorer for Winchester’s hockey team, who look to make a positive start against their arch local rivals.
Fareham’s decision to put their faith on youth following last season’s National Hockey League relegation has paid immediate dividends.
A squad largely comprising home grown players twice came from behind to beat Southgate 4-3 and earn a place in Saturday’s delayed 2109/20 Tier 1 Championship final against mighty Beeston in Nottingham.
They were twice behind inside the opening seven minutes but level 2-2 by half-time with goals by Danny Rawlings and Alex Beckett.
Fareham took a 3-2 lead ten minutes into the second half from a rasping Shane Vincent penalty corner drag flick and scored a fourth through Alex Boxall just short of the hour mark.
Fareham were forced to play the last five minutes with ten men after George Davey was red carded but even though Southgate clawed back a third the town youngsters held on.
“It really was an uplifting start to the competitive season,” enthused former goalkeeper George Harris who has replaced Ben Barnes as head coach.
“We did well in a tournament involving Barford Tigers and Havant previously so we took a lot of confidence into the Southgate match, beating them with nine home grown players in the squad which is very encouraging.
“Beeston are a massive club in English Premier Division hockey, so it will be a great experience for the lads.”
Fareham were rock bottom of the National South division with only two wins when last season was curtailed in February due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with relegation already a certainty.
They will compete in the Western Conference this coming season, with Chichester their local rivals alongside trips to Cardiff, Bristol and the West Country.
This website can exclusively reveal who Havant, Fareham and Chichester will play in the England Hockey League this winter, along with Trojans ladies in the women's competition.
Havant play in Men's South Division 1 lining up against Brighton & Hove, Team Bath, Oxford Hawks, relegated Reading, promoted Old Cranleighians, Sevenoaks, Canterbury, Southgate and Teddington.
Chichester and Fareham will go head-to-head in the West Conference, with west country trips to Ashmoor, Plymouth Marjon and ISCA, Cardiff University, Briistol University, Khalsa (Leamington) and Cheltenham.
In Women's South 1, Trojans face ISCA, Reading, Slough, Surbiton, Sevenoaks, Cambridge City, Harleston Magpies and Canterbury.
BOURNEMOUTH University has launched plans to deliver a series of improvements to the Chapel Gate sports complex, where Bournemouth plays its South League hockey.
The planning application, which has been submitted to BCP Council, includes carrying out work on the artificial hockey pitch and installing new lighting.
The site near Bournemouth Airport was bought by Bournemouth University (BU) last summer from Bournemouth and District Recreational Charity.
Refurbishments included in the proposals mark the first significant investment in the site since it was acquired.
A spokesman for the university said: “We have a plan for specific enhancements to the buildings and facilities at the Chapel Gate site, including the refurbishment of a hockey pitch, new LED lighting and car park improvements.
“This work was scheduled to take place during summer 2020. However, resource constraints at BCP Council has created delays around planning consent and so, we have taken the decision to postpone the works to summer 2021.
“We hope to still be able to carry out smaller maintenance works in the autumn, as part of our commitment to the site.”
Alongside replacing the one of the astroturf hockey pitches and floodlights for both pitches, the planning application seeks permission to create a new hockey warm up area and pedestrian circulation areas, repace the floodlights on the main rugby pitch and resurface areas of the car park and entrance road.
A statement submitted to the council’s planning department on behalf of BU by Savills says: “The application is sustainable development: it will contribute towards the maintenance of Chapel Gate as a self-funding facility for use by BU students and staff and community visitors.
“In turn the new facilities will help to make BU more attractive to prospective students, which will have a wider economic benefit for the University and the local economy.
“It will contribute to a modern facility that will encourage physical activity and engagement with the associated benefits to health and wellbeing and it will ensure that the existing natural environment is protected and enhanced.”
The 69-acre Chapel Gate is used by the university sports teams as well as local organisations from various sports including Bournemouth Rugby and Bournemouth Cricket clubs.
Fareham have fired a 'hands off' warning to prying local clubs eager to woo some of their talented youngsters away from Henry Cort following last season's relegation from National Hockey League South.
Portsmouth Grammar School's Rory Buckeridge, striker Fergus Jackson and midfielder Rory Penrose are all in England developments squads and new coach George Harris is keen they remain at Fareham to develop their careers.
"A lot of time and effort has been spent on youth development and I'm keen that, if possible, they all stay and progress with us, though I appreciate some will leave the area for university," Harris said.
Fareham's Under-18 squad
Back row (from left): Alex Beckett, Rory Penrose, Sam Mackenzie, Soren Golding, Alex Georgiou, Finn Coleman, Noah Murphy, Hugh Wilkinson, Ben Randell. Front: Alex Ellison, Phil Larcombe, Fergus Jackson, Rory Buckeridge, Sam Ratliffe, Jay Green, Luke Hett.
Fareham have appointed their former goalkeeper George Harris as head coach to succeed Ben Barnes, who has stepped down at the helm of the recently relegated National Hockey League South club.
Harris will need little re-introduction at Fareham, having played at Henry Cort for seven years prior to dipping his toes into the coaching side of the game with local South Premier Division outfit Winchester.
Discussing his Fareham return, Harris said: “It’s a huge challenge taking over from Ben at Fareham, where I spent some of my most enjoyable times in the game and where I have been lucky enough to make some life-long friends.
“The opportunity to come back and be able to put my own stamp on the playing side is too good to ignore.
“It’s a close-knit family club with a great volunteer base and a good crop of young players coming through in the next few years.
“I’m looking forward to building a team that those youngsters will aspire to and to create an environment where they can tap into the enormous amount of experience already in the existing squad.
“Of course, winning a few games generally helps with that.”
East or West ?
Harris, whose Winchester side narrowly staved off relegation from the South Premier this past season, will inherit a Fareham squad destined to drop down a rung on the hockey ladder, having finished bottom of the National South Division with only two wins.
They await confirmation from England Hockey whether they will play in either Conference East or West hockey next autumn.
Harris acknowledges that his immediate and most significant task is to ensure that most, if not all, the club’s talented stream of young players remain at the club.
“I need to speak to a few of them and try and tie down a couple who may be tempted by offers elsewhere,” he said.
“We need players who are proud to pull on the black Fareham shirt and are 100 per cent committed to the club if we are to achieve our goals.”
Harris had intended to retire from playing when he left Fareham at the end of the 2017/18 season, but Winchester’s depleted resources forced him out of his technical area and back between the posts again.
Winchester flirted with relegation all season, eventually finishing third from bottom of the South Premier League.
Harris said: “It was a huge effort by that group of players to get some crucial end-of-season wins. I’m immensely grateful for the effort the players put in and the spirit they showed to get over the line.
“However, as soon as I knew Fareham were interested in having me back there was only one place I wanted to be having previously played for seven seasons there.”
Outgoing head coach Ben Barnes believes Harris will be a success at Fareham.
“George was an obvious choice and first on my thoughts to take over. He knows the club, was a Fareham great during his spell between the sticks and has played with many of the players and most certainly will have learned a great deal in his two years at Winchester.
“I’m very pleased he has agreed to take over, I am sure he will do a great job and keep pushing the club forward.”
Ben Barnes has stepped down as Fareham’s hockey coach after seven seasons with the recently relegated National League South club – but stresses he was going to quit the job anyway !
The former Great Britain international who made his name in hockey with East Grinstead and Reading explained that: “both work and family life are increasingly taking over more time, particularly at Seaford College (Petworth), where my role is expanding and will require more commitment from the scheduled beginning of the autumn term in September.
“This past season I found it hard to juggle both as well as keeping family happy with being away all of the weekend basically.
“Fareham staying up or not, my decision would have been the same.
“I think also after seven seasons it is time for a different voice and for someone else to inject a new direction and enthusiasm into the role that needs 100 per cent attention and commitment as per the playing group.
“There are many to thank during my time as well as this group regarding the passion, time and commitment that all have shown during my time as Fareham HC coach.
“All of the players who have pulled the shirt on have been great to work with and it has been a privilege to have been part of your hockey career whether it be for all or some of those seven seasons or even just this last one. The management support both on the touchline and in the club itself has been remarkable.
“We have all shared in the highs and lows during this time and it has been quite a journey. I wish everyone at the club continued success when the lockdown finally ends.”
Fareham, who scraped into a powerful National South Division after winning the 2019/20 promotion play-off, finished bottom of the pile this term, winning only two matches against Brighton & Hove and Teddington. They were badly hit by injury before the campaign even began.
“Ben leaves us with nothing but good wishes from all at Fareham, in particular his commitment, enthusiasm and expertise he has brought to his role,” reflected FHC chairman Colin Bradbury.
“When Ben arrived he quickly bought into our family culture and both what we wanted to achieve and most importantly how we wanted to achieve it.
“I think it is fair to say that all the players he has coached over the last seven years have benefited but, in particular, to see the development of young players at the club has been rewarding and great to watch. It is in the development of young talent that Ben leaves his greatest legacy.
“So as Ben moves onto this new chapter in his life, he goes with our thanks and good wishes. We intend to retain strong links with him and hope he will enjoy watching a few games when time permits with his many friends at Fareham."
For anyone who knew Daisy Strange, they will remember her as the vivacious, bubbly, blonde haired hockey girl. For a lucky few of us, we have the privilege of remembering her not only as a teammate, but also as our close friend.
On 11 April 2020 at the age of 25 years, however, we all said one last goodbye to our beautiful Daisy as she ended her battle with cancer.
Daisy was diagnosed with Stage IV tongue cancer in October 2019, and put up a hard, gruelling fight every step of the way. Although the past 6 months will be fresh in our minds, Daisy’s life was defined by so much more than her cancer diagnosis. ‘Caring’, ‘incredible’ and ‘inspirational’ are just some of the words that have been used to describe her, giving a brief insight as to why she was loved by so many people.
Never one to brag, few people know the sheer amount that Daisy achieved throughout her lifetime; earning a sports scholarship to St Bede’s School, captaining countless sports teams, becoming the head of prep girls sport at Seaford College to name but a few. However, we all knew her best for her top-class hockey skills. Starting her hockey career at Chichester, she went on to play for East Grinstead and (after a cheeky stint in New Zealand) came to join the Trojans hockey family.
To say that Daisy left an everlasting impression on the Trojans community would be a gross understatement. During her time at Trojans, she was rarely seen without a massive, cheeky smile. Playing defence for the ladies' National League side, she was an integral member of the team, always providing entertainment both on and off the pitch. Her incredible, bubbly personality made it hard to resist the prospect of a post hockey night out, which was great fun until you had another match the next day!
Accompanied by her dog Kia, she would arrive singing and dancing (and possibly hungover), ready to spread her infectious energy to everyone surrounding her. However, it wasn’t just her zest for life that made her so remarkable; her willingness to help and support other club members meant she touched the lives of countless Trojan’s players, and for that she will be fondly remembered.
Daisy, it’s rare to find someone able to bring out the best in people, and that is something you did on a daily basis so effortlessly. Your crazy, hilarious personality is unforgettable, and we will be reminded of you in every scrunchie, every pumped-up team talk and every daisy we see in the sunshine. Love you forever and always.
Like most sport around the world, league action was halted in the middle of last month.
But while football leagues still had many games to play, a lot of the hockey divisions were coming to an end or, in some cases, had been completed.
England Hockey have taken the decision to honour the games that had been played at the highest few levels of the sport, writes Simon Carter of The News, Portsmouth.
‘Teams’ standings when the league stopped will be their final standings. Existing promotion and relegation regulations will be applied based on these standings,’ they said in a statement.
That is a different view to the one taken by the Football Association and the Rugby Football Association in recent weeks.
The FA have controversially null and voided all non-league football between steps 3-7, while the RFU worked out their final tables using a point-per-game methodology.
Both Surbiton men’s and women’s teams have won their respective national titles, but in both cases all league games in the division had been completed.
England Hockey’s decision means there is no relegation reprieve for Fareham.
They were doomed to finish bottom of the Division 1 South table when the season was halted. Though they had two games left, they trailed second bottom Teddington by seven points.
Fareham can have little cause for complaint - they scored the fewest goals in their division (21) and conceded the most (68). While their goal difference was minus 47, Teddington’s was only minus 12.
Other local clubs must now wait on the South Hockey and Hampshire Hockey organisations to decide how they want to end their seasons.
Just because England Hockey have decided to honour final placings, though, that does not mean other leagues will have to follow suit. Hockey is not like football or rugby, where there is one body overseeing all the grassroots game.
Indeed, the East of England Hockey League had previously announced they were adopting a points-per-game solution - similar to the RFU - to decide promotion and relegation.
In Hampshire/Surrey Regional 2, Portsmouth 1sts trailed second-placed Old Cranleighans 2nds by two points with two games to go.
In order to snatch that second promotion place, they would have needed to win their last two games and, due to goal differences, hope OCs only picked up a point.
In Regional 1, Fareham 2nds were entrenched in the relegation play-off zone and, with two games remaining, no chance of getting out of it.
In Hampshire Division 1, Petersfield had two games left but were certain to finish in the one automatic relegation place. As it stood, Havant 2nds and Fareham 2nds were third-bottom and second-bottom respectively and according to the league website could be relegated.
The first four division of the Hampshire Men’s League come under the South League umbrella.
In Division 3, US Portsmouth were already guaranteed promotion with two games still to play. If they had won their remaining matches and leaders Fleet & Ewshot lost their last one, US would have won the title on goal difference.
Elsewhere in the Hampshire League, Gosport 2nds finished bottom of Division 6 and Portsmouth 4ths pipped US Portsmouth 2nds on goal difference to win the Division 8 title.
In the Hampshire Women’s League, no local clubs are waiting to hear whether they will be promoted, but a few could well be relegated.
Portsmouth 1sts were third in Hampshire Premier, eight points adrift of leaders New Forest with only two games left.
Havant 3rds were bottom of Division 1 and Gosport Borough 2nd bottom of Division 2 after winning just one of their 20 games.
The latter could still have avoided finishing in the relegation zone, though, had they won their last two games and third-bottom Wimborne picked up no more than a point from their two matches.
In Hampshire 3, Petersfield occupied the second automatic promotion place. But they only held a one-point lead over Yateley 2nds with two games left.
At the bottom, Fareham 3rds were guaranteed to finish in the relegation zone.
In Division 5, Portsmouth 4ths occupied the second relegation place, but were only a point behind Salisbury 5ths with two games to go.
Gosport 2nds were also guaranteed to finish in the Division 6 drop zone, with just one game left - they trailed third bottom Swanage by six points and the Dorset club had two matches in hand.
It is expected that the South and Hampshire Leagues will reveal how they plan to bring 2019/20 to a close within a week.
Fareham ladies, South Women's League Division 3B champions 2019-20.
Standing (from left): Stephen Morse (manager), Rachael Clark, Hannah Simon, Heather Batten, Emily Denham, Kiera Denham, Laura Pendleton, Georgia Collins, Ange Cryne. Kneeling: Hayley Wood, Hannah Oldham, Sophie Raymond, Lydia Rosewall, Tara Lemon, Vicky Field, Lydia Jackson. Far right: Steve Lemon.
The UK population are being forced to improvise given the current nationwide lockdown because of the coronavirus epidemic.
And Fareham Ladies' first-team were no different as they still found a way to come together – despite social distancing restrictions - to celebrate being crowned South Women's League Division 3B champions, writes Lewis Mason of the News, Portsmouth.
Steve Lemon's side discovered top spot was secured following the authorities' decision to leave all six divisions in the section as they were after 19 matches as the hockey season was cancelled in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
That means that Fareham, a point clear of Old Georgians in Division 3B with three games left, will now go up as champions.
Fareham and OGs will replace Worthing and draw specialists Trojans II in Division 2 next season.
But there was just one thing missing as the squad and management came together on a video conference to celebrate the news - they had no trophy.
It remains to be seen when they can finally get their hands on the silverware, but head coach Lemon - whose team won 15 of their 19 games, drawing two and losing only to second-placed Old Georgians and third-placed Havant - is not overly fussed.
‘We had one of these group conference chats where we all had a chat and a beer each to celebrate and say well done to everyone,' he beamed.
'Apparently there will be a trophy at some stage. They normally hand it over at the AGM in May but that has already been postponed.
‘We’ll get a trophy at some stage when this is all over, we’ll get ourselves together and have a proper celebration.
‘Apart from my daughter, I haven’t seen any of the girls since we won it which is a little bit sad.
‘We had a little video conference chat the day after we found out.
‘I thanked the girls for all their efforts. But that’s about all we’ve been able to do.
‘We don’t need the trophy, everyone had worked hard and got the rewards for the hard work put in.'
Fareham conceded just 19 goals in as many league matches as they clinched the title, Jill Tovey producing several fine displays behind the posts.
Batten has a Field day
But it was the quality at the other end of Heather Batten and Vicky Field that made the difference.
Leading scorer Batten, who dropped down several rungs on the hockey ladder to join from National League Trojans in the summer, grabbed 24 goals while Field netted 17.
Between them, they contributed more than half of the team’s 74 goals over the league campaign.
'We’ve been in the league for five or six years and we’ve been trying to get out for a while,' added Lemon.
‘I’d have been grumpy if we hadn’t done it this season.
‘Apart from the first year, we’ve been in the top six for all of them.
‘This year we were lucky enough to sign Heather.’
Batten began the season in sensational fashion, netting 17 goals in her first five appearances.
She belted five on her debut in an 11-0 trouncing of Tulse Hill & Dulwich and added five more in a 7-0 win over Haslemere. Four more followed in a 7-1 thrashing of Lewes.
‘Heather has given us those goals to push us over the line that we probably haven’t scored in previous seasons,’ Lemon remarked.
‘Those extra 20 goals were key.'
Winchester 1-1 draw at Banbury gave them a marginal edge in their South Premier League relegation battle ahead of the now suspended final week of competition.
Winchester's final game is at home against already-crowned champions London Wayfarers, whilst West Hampstead, one point behind them and a nine-goal difference deficit, take on the mid table Banbury.
If Winchester maintain their 10th position, then hope transfers to National League Bromley and Beckenham in escaping their own relegation. If they fail to do that, then Winchester would face highly testing play offs with the teams finishing second in the two regional feeder leagues. Craig Jeffrey scored Winchester’s goal at Banbury.
Trojans, meanwhile, suffered a double dose of the Blues when Oxford University thrashed them 6-1 at Stoneham Lane, where Richard Aves was on target.
Fareham ladies took another positive step towards the South Women’s League Division 3B championship with a 3-1 win over neighbours Southampton – but they still can’t shake off title rivals Old Georgians.
With three games to go, Fareham still lead OGs by a single point – with a handy plus six-goal difference under their belts – the Weybridge girls winning 3-0 at Lewes.
“It’s going to the wire, that’s if we finish,” said Fareham coach Steve Lemon, mindful of the Covid-19 pandemic which could yet lead to a premature abandonment of the competition.
“Historically, we’ve struggled against Southampton in the past, with just one Fareham win from the last seven matches the sides and we had to work hard and only sealed it late on.
“But it’s another win crossed off. Three more, provisionally starting at Winchester on Saturday lunchtime (noon), will get us across the line.”
Fareham made most of the running in the first half, Southampton initially concentrating on containment and counter attacks but, despite having the majority of the possession, the table topping hosts had little in the way of clear chances to show for it.
The breakthrough came in the 18th minute when a loose Southampton clearance was intercepted by Hannah Oldham, who planted a reverse shot past the unsighted Linda Dunham to give Fareham a 1-0 interval lead.
Fareham were reduced to nine men after coach Lemon incurred the wrath of an umpire in a bizarre touchline incident. Despite the efforts of Lou Hopkins, Southampton were unable to make their numerical advantage count.
In the second half, however, they did increase the tempo, gradually gaining the upper hand and, seven minutes into the session and after some fine saves by Jill Tovey, grabbed a deserved equaliser.
Sue Merry forced a penalty corner and, after a move involving Zoe Stride, Nat Romain converted to make it 1-1.
But the old adage of teams being vulnerable after scoring themselves applied to Southampton, who promptly surrendered the initiative two minutes later.
Fareham’s penalty corner routines have not been at best of late, but preparatory work on the training ground paid off as Georgia Collins potted a deflected shot to restore their lead.
Their noses ahead again, Fareham enjoyed the better of the remainder of the game, but protecting a slender one-goal lead ensured a nervy finish.
Relief for Fareham came in the final minute with a points sealing third goal following a move down the right flank initiated by Collins, who fed the ball inside to Cita Haines.
Her pass set up Vicky Field, who lost her marker before sending a reverse shot past Linda Dunham to clinch the win points for Fareham
The thread by which Fareham were hanging on to the remotest prospect of National League South Division survival was finally severed by a remarkable late Teddington comeback which ensured the Middlesex club’s safety instead.
They scored three times in the last ten minutes against Sevenoaks to reel in a 3-0 deficit and force a 3-3 draw which secured the point they needed to end all hopes of a Fareham hockey miracle.
Teddington’s dramatic equalizer came from a penalty corner in the set-piece time added on after the umpires had blown for full-time.
As it was, Fareham – with only two victories all season – needed to win their final two matches of a now suspended season (against Havant and Team Bath) to stand any remote chance of finishing second from bottom and above Teddington who, in turn, would have to lose their last two games.
It means that Fareham have finished last and will play in either the Eastern (with Chichester) or Western Conference next season.
Head coach Ben Barnes [pictured] said he “was gutted to have been relegated.
“But, having been promoted into a very strong National League South via the play-offs, it was always going to be a tough challenge this season.
“We have had so much thrown at us from pre-season (when influential captain Niall Stott and striker James Speke broke their legs in the same week) and all the way through the winter that has made it a very hard and frustrating year.
“We still have the Hampshire Cup to focus on so we shall try and regroup quickly to be ready for that, should it go ahead, of course.”
Reflecting on the season, Barnes added: “The numbers don’t lie.
“Not enough goals for, too many goals against and not enough points.
“The guys have not stopped fighting, but we have been up against better teams who have ultimately been better in both circles than us.
“But we have a very young and, in many respects, talented squad, with an excellent youth section, so there are plenty of positive aspects for the future.”
* To compound Barnes's disappointment, his former club Reading (where he spent many memorable seasons in his fine playing career) were relegated from the National League Premier Division and will face Havant et al in the South Division next season.
Bournemouth penalty corner ace Conor Moors [pictured left] is on course to finish as top goalscorer in South Hockey League Premier Division 2 West.
His brace in the 2-2 draw with second placed Oxford OBU took his overall tally for the season to 23 goals - four more than the Blues own Zum Akhter, who also scored in the Chapel Gate draw.
Charlie Cooper is Bournemouth's second highest scorer with 11 goals.
Bournemouth lie fifth in the log with two matches left, having slipped out of the promotion frame after a bright autumn campaign.
Fareham seconds gave their prospects of inching out of the Hampshire/Surrey Regional Division drop zone a significant boost with an impressive 6-1 win over fourth-placed Basingstoke at Henry Cort.
The victory edged Fareham out of the bottom two places (above relegated Sunbury & Walton Heath and Teddington II) with two scheduled games left.
Fareham showed their intent from the start with crisp passing and high intensity, opening their account in the 15th minute with a counter-attack which cut through the Basingstoke defence and was finished off by Luke Gould.
Ten minutes later Zak Way added the second to give Fareham a 2-0 half-time cushion.
Basingstoke, who were pushing for promotion with wins in nine of their 11 pre-Christmas matches, were still creating chances but were kept at bay by some fine saves from Fareham goalkeeper Josh Dawson in goal.
After the break Fareham upped their game still further and added a third through Scotsman Christian McKenna finishing from close range.
The Fareham midfield continued to dominate with a mature, controlled performance put in by veteran Ed Faherty.
Shortly afterwards some fine interplay down the Fareham right led to the fourth being coolly converted by teenager Sam Ratliffe, who was soon on target against with a clinical conversion.
Basingstoke, already headed to a fourth successive defeat, pulled a goal back from a penalty stroke, but Fareham finished the game in style with McKenna adding the sixth.
Havant’s National League South Division derby against Fareham was postponed, as a member of the Havant squad (who trained with the team on Thursday evening) is self-isolating from the Covid-19 virus and, therefore, the postponement was for the welfare of the players, coaches, officials and potential spectators.
Havant hockey issued a statement saying: “We have been monitoring the coronavirus developments closely and following the COBRA meeting, there are strong indications that the event would not be attended to the level we require to make the event commercially viable.
“We are also concerned about the welfare and well-being of our membership, other hockey clubs and the general public who intended to attend the celebrations.”
Havant have postponed the Food Festival & Club Day linked with the National League South Division derby with Fareham on Sunday 15 March.
In a statement Havant said: “We have been monitoring the coronavirus developments closely and following the COBRA meeting today, there are strong indications that the event will not be attended to the level we require to make the event commercially viable.
“Sunday 15th March was also our Sponsors & Patrons Day and we will not now be able to provide the hospitality we intended, offering a pre-game lunch in a marquee pitch side.
“We had also invited and offered hospitality to a number of Fareham Hockey Club committee and supporters and are very disappointed that we will be unable to return the hospitality they offered Havant earlier in the season when our teams played each other.”
The Havant v Fareham match at Havant College will still take place, with a 2.30pm push back.
The Havant Park clubhouse will be open prior to and after the match to offer hospitality to the match officials and to provide post game teas for the teams.
Havant expect the influential Matt Cox to return from a knee injury for Sunday’s National League South Division derby against Fareham as they bid to half an anti-climatic finale to the season.
At the turn of the year Havant anticipated scrapping the title race out with champions-elect Oxted, but a run of five successive defeats has knocked them clean out of contention. Last weekend’s 2-1 loss ensured South Division safety for Brighton & Hove.
Last weekend Fareham lost heavily 11-0 at Oxted and now look certain to fill the automatic relegation spot. Anything but a win for Fareham on Sunday will confirm their relegation back to the Conference League.
When the two teams met at Henry Cort in mid-November Havant ran out 0-2 winners with goals from Charlie Stubbings and Manuel Silvetti, in what was a close and fiercely contested encounter.
Basingstoke are set to host the Hampshire ‘county day’ knockout finals at Down Grange over the weekend Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 April 2020.
Havant are already through to the semi-finals, but the other three quarter-final ties will be played this coming week, starting with Bournemouth v Aldershot & Farnham at Chapel Gate on Sunday, noon.
Yateley entertain Southampton on Wednesday evening, with Haslemere hosting Fareham at Woolmer Hill on Thursday, 8.30pm.
The Hampshire Trophy has already reached the semi-final stage, with both ties scheduled for Sunday afternoon – Alton v Fleet & Ewshot at and Hamble v Salisbury at Satchell Lane.
Finalists in the Hampshire Open League and Trophy competitions are already known, with Fareham II and Winchester II set to go head-to-head in the OL final and Poole playing Gillingham in an all-Dorset affair Trophy showdown.
Trojans, 5-0 winners over Southampton, and Havant (who trimmed Aldershot & Farnham 3-1) will contest the Women’s Ciup final at Down Grange on 25 April, with Romsey playing the New Forest for the Trophy.
The junior finals are on Sunday 26 April.
Trojans gave Winchester’s survival hopes a helping hand with a 4-3 win at South League Premier Division relegation rivals Tunbridge Wells.
But Winchester themselves remain in the bottom two after a 3-2 home defeat by Wycombe, Ben Hibberd and Harry Trussler on target for the city club.
Elliott Cole, Dan Ferrier, Colin French and Ben Frost struck for Trojans in Kent.
Bournemouth’s hopes of pushing for a Premier West 1 promotion hopes disappeared with four defeats post Christmas, but they were on target on Thames side, hitting relegated Richmond II for six.
Twenty-one goal Conor Moors remained on course to finish as the West top scorer with a brace, while Charlie Cooper, Hugo Creaney-Birch, Freddie Hares and Ross Hattemore were also on target in the lions’ 6-2 win.
Welcome to Vimps at the Hockey
Powered by Cricket-Hockey.com, the hockey equipment specialists in Downton, Salisbury