Fareham have pulled off a major coup by signing former Great Britain Olympian Richard Mantell, who will make his debut in Sunday’s England Hockey Western Conference visit to Team Bath Buccaneers, 1pm.
The 37-year old had intended to hang up his stick after a trophy laden 15-year career with Reading, but head coach Ben Barnes wasted no time in talking his old team-mate into joining Fareham directly Mantell relocated to Lymington.
A penalty corner specialist, Martell was part of the England teams that won European gold in 2009 and bronze in 2011.
He represented England at two World Cups and the 2010 Commonwealth Games, as well as appearing for Great Britain at the 2008 Olympics. He made his international debut in February 2003 at the age of 21 and went on to win 165 outdoor caps for England and Great Britain, scoring 68 goals.
No-one can disguise a slider pass as Mantell can, and his drag flicks at short corners have put the fear of god into many a National League goalkeeper and defence line.
An excited Barnes said: “It’s great to have Richard on board. Something I had hoped would happen as he is not only such a high quality player but someone who I think will add more than just that to the Fareham group.
“Now for it to be a reality is very exciting, as it has given the group not only a lift but added to the competition for places.
“Having played together at Reading and even in his first England international I know how enjoyable it is to play with him.
“A dangerous passer and obvious penalty corner threat are easy talking points, but his experience and reading of the game will add to our group’s threat and increase confidence across the whole squad.
“He will slot in the squad really well and play his part in our ambition to move up the Western Conference table each week.
“We’ve got to learn quickly to find our best squad and balance of players as Richard, Matt Ramsay and the former Havant player Adam Broomfield add different qualities to the group.”
Havant visit winless Western Conference rivals Isca at Exeter University on Sunday (12.30) looking for a repeat of the 3-1 victory at the College in early October, with goals from Jack Stubbings and two penalty corners from Fede Bertoni.
But they’ll be without Akhtar Ali, who has returned to Pakistan having scored twice in four starts. Adam Bloomfield, who has joined Fareham having been frustrated in not getting a regular place in their match day squad. Jamie Whitehouse, though, has returned from Chichester.
Havant have played a couple of warm up games over the past weeks resulting in a loss to Richmond and a draw against Brighton.
“Despite the squad being short in both games the quality of hockey was good,” reflected President Chris Pickett.
He continued: “Many clubs in the bottom half of the table have strengthened their squads in the hope they can make up ground and finish in the top six to automatically qualify for the new First Division league next season.
“The results prior to Christmas may well be misleading and I think we are in for a few surprises in the last nine league games.”
Chichester visit Cardiff & Met at Sophia Gardens on Saturday.
Southampton ladies cemented third spot in South Women's League Division 3B with a 1-0 win over lowly Horsham, Naomi Bulkeley scoring their winner.
Fareham went 2-0 down to leaders Eastbourne early on at The Saffrons, clawed one back through Vicky Field but were eventually beaten 3-1 by the East Sussex side.
The scoreline didn't reflect a positive Fareham performance.
Back(from left): Abi Philp, Jo Hounsome, Kitty Brockbank, Al Micklethwaite, Laura Pitfield, Olivia Child’s, Holly Cameron. Front: Ellis Williams, Ella Chainey, Emily Lott, Shelley Mott, Sarah Johns, Katy Shipton, Rose Evill.
Winchester ladies came from behind to beat Havant 5-1 and secure a trip to holders Trojans in the quarter-finals of the Hampshire Women’s Cup on March 10.
Leading Hampshire League Division 1 and fresh from a 9-0 win the previous day, Winchester were in confident mood – but Havant struck first with a screaming shot into the top corner.
But by half-time Winchester were in front, courtesy of a Sarah Johns brace, the second following a spate of penalty corners.
A third goal from Emily Lott soon after the second half restart pointed the tie in Winchester’s direction. Johns completed her hat-trick, with Holly Cameron scoring a fifth late on.
Winchester captain Laura Pitfield said: “Winchester should be proud of a great result that was matched by a fantastic performance. The hard work has certainly paid off so far as we continue to push for a successful second half of the season.”
The Hampshire Women’s Cup quarter-final draw is: Andover v City of Portsmouth, Haslemere v Fareham, Southampton v New Forest, Trojans v Winchester
Fareham head coach Ben Barnes admits he has some “very tough selection decisions to make” ahead of Sunday’s visit to Team Bath Buccaneers (1pm), a match which marks an important second phase of the season for the club in the National League’s Western Conference.
Barnes is boosted by a confident 4-0 win at Eastern Conference side Teddington and the arrival of several newcomers, including the return of right wing-back Matt “Alf” Ramsay, pictured by Will Palmer, who has spent the past three seasons at Birmingham University.
Fareham are also poised to announce what manager Nigel Cook describes as a “marquee signing” ahead of the trip to Bath, which they must win to boost their prospects of a key top six finish in the league.
Fareham ended their pre-Christmas programme on a high, beating Chichester 4-3 before sharing the spoils 3-3 in a Cardiff Met thriller.
Captain Alex Boxall, Jack Gilbert and Niall Stott all missed the 4-0 Teddington win, all the goals coming from open play which pleased Barnes.
Phil Larcombe, the Davey brothers Chris and George, and Martin Gough got the goals.
“It was a really important game to get us up to speed. I was pleased with the overall performance and would have taken 4-0 before the game in a heartbeat,” Barnes said.
Now Fareham will want to transfer that friendly form into a victory over Team Bath, whom they’ve never previously beaten. The sides drew 3-3 at Henry Cort and 4-4 in the EH Cup just before the winter break.
Trojans have fallen three points behind Guildford in the chase for the South League Premier Division 2 title after being held 3-3 at Blackheath.
Chris Harden notched a hat-trick for the South Thames side, while James Butt, Paul Hilton and South African Sinoxolo Mbekeni [pictured] replied for Trojans.
Guildford, meanwhile, beat Woking 4-0 and now enjoy not only a three-point lead over Trojans but a plus seven goal difference. Trojans drew 2-2 with Guildford a week earlier.
Winchester suffered heartbreak in the final 90 seconds of their lower mid-table South League Premier Division 1 encounter as the officials took five minutes of consultation before finally awarding visiting Tunbridge Wells their 3-2 winner.
Whereas the players may feel hard done by, the truth was that they were unable to sustain their first half dominance and opened themselves up to the visitors rapid counter attacking by the Kent side.
The first 20 minutes were relatively even with both sides securing a couple of unconverted penalty corners.
But Winchester's third penalty corner did bring joy for the city side when Kent Langridge was able to divert Ben Hibberd's driven pass with a reverse flat stick past the Tunbridge keeper.
Winchester then took the game by the scruff of the neck, creating good chances for Hibberd and Micah Smithard.
However, the warning signs started with five minutes of the half remaining when Player/Coach George Harris (pictured), in goal, made the first of a series of saves he would have to make before the final whistle after a great piece of skill by the Tunbridge Wells forwards.
The visitors’ late pressure wiped out Winchester's lead just before the break when a sweeping mistimed tackle resulted in a Ben Allberry the penalty stroke and a Winchester yellow card.
The second half started brightly for Winchester when Todd Hutchinson created a great chance which resulted in the ball hanging on the goal line but ultimately cleared. Langridge repeated the act a few minutes later with the ball passing agonisingly across the goal line.
Both sides then received a number of yellow and green cards to disrupt play, but it was Winchester's inability to retain meaningful possession that made the large crowd most anxious and frustration showed itself amongst the players.
Despite this, Winchester regained the lead in the middle of the half, coming from a goal-of-the-season contender as they played concise one-touch passes down the centre of the pitch, freeing Mark Maunsell to strike home on his reverse stick to make it 2-1.
Most of the action then returned to the other end with Harris increasingly busy and with ten minutes remaining Tunbridge Wells equalised through Sam George as a spin pass from the top of the "D" was deflected into the net. 2-2.
Winchester went hunting for a winner but left themselves exposed at the back on a number of occasions.
In the final Tunbridge Wells surge, James Lester an attacker was left in space in the left channel and drove into the edge of the "D", unleashing a shot/pass across Harris who cleared off his pads but unfortunately into the chest of a covering defender and into the net. The discussion between the umpires then ensued, centred largely on whether the attacker was within the "D" when his strike was made. The decision was that he was and the goal was awarded.
Winchester had one last chance to equalise with a ball pulled back from the by-line, but it eluded the advancing Winchester attacking hordes.
Trojans grabbed a last gasp equaliser to rescue a point in their top of the table South League Premier Division 2 showdown with leaders Guildford, Paul Hilton’s goal securing a 2-2 draw after all seemed lost with the Stoneham side 2-0 down until late on.
Ross Ferguson gave Guildford a 1-0 interval lead, which Michael Dorgan doubled when Trojans, pushing forward, left themselves open at the back.
With eight minutes left, Colin French got Trojans a foothold back in the game and in the final play Hilton grabbed the equaliser.
Winchester Boys are England Hockey’s indoor sixes Under-16 champions !
They lifted the coveted national crown in style, crushing Harrogate 8-2 in the final, after winning all four of their Pool games, scoring a staggering 29 times on the way to being crowned champions.
Rory Penrose notched a personal tally of 11 goals, while Fergus Jackson scored seven and Will Whitmore six.
Winchester got of to a flier, scoring five second half goals to beat Clifton Robinsons 5-0 and then Manchester’s Brooklands MU 4-2, with Penrose scoring twice.
Penrose bagged a hat-trick as Old Loughtonians were beaten 4-2 in what proved a tense affair, while Winchester had to come from behind to beat Repton 4-1 to complete an unbeaten pool phase.
Winchester’s youngsters made a perfect start to their semi-final tie and were a goal up through Penrose inside four minutes against Saffron Waldon, whom hey went on to beat 4-2.
Within nine minutes, Winchester were 4-0 up through Penrose, Ollie Lander and Matt Duncombe.
Cup final opponents Harrogate had similarly dominated their Pool, but quickly found themselves trailing 2-0 to a Fergus Jackson brace.
Harrogate pulled one back, but Will Whitmore soon made it 3-1, restoring Winchester’s two-goal lead.
Goalkeeper Alex Georgiou recovered from injury to boost Winchester, who went 4-2 up (Whitmore) before sinking their Yorkshire opponents with four goals in an electric six-minute spell, with Jackson and Whitmore completing their hat-tricks alongside strikes by Matt Duncombe and Penrose.
Winchester’s trophy winning route –
Beat Clifton Robinsons 5-0: Fergus Jackson 2, Will Whitmore, Giles Hocking, Rory Penrose.
Beat Brooklands MU 4-2: Rory Penrose 2, Fergus Jackson, Tom Henley.
Beat Old Loughtonians 4-2: Rory Penrose 3, Fergus Jackson.
Beat Repton 4-1: Rory Penrose 2, Will Whitmore 2.
Beat Saffron Waldon 4-2: Rory Penrose 2, Matt Duncombe, Ollie Lander.
Beat Harrogate 8-2: Will Whitmore 3, Fergus Jackson 3, Matt Duncombe, Rory Penrose.
* Winchester’s squad was Ollie Lander, Giles Hocking, Will Evans, Will Whitmore, Ferg Jackson, Charlie Harden, Matt Duncombe, Rory Penrose, Tom Henley and goalkeeper Alex Georgiou.
The second half of Winchester’s season has begun in the same manner as the first with back-to-back South Premier League Division 2 victories over Indian Gymkhana and Milton Keynes.
Now player/coach George Harris must avoid a repetition of autumn 2018 when Winchester lost eight of their next nine matches, plunging them on to the lip of the drop zone.
Matches between Winchester and the Dons are seldom dull – 36 shots having thudded into the back boards in the past four meetings between the pair.
Winchester are 23-13 ‘ahead’ on account of a Todd Hutchinson inspired 5-3 win, which came on the back of a four-goal 15-minute second half salvo.
It was Hutchinson who broke the deadlock 20 minutes in from a well worked goal. Craig Jeffery pinched the ball, went round a defender, and squared the ball to Hutchinson who calmly slotted the ball home.
Milton Keynes then took charge and stretched Winchester with frequent aerials. They were rewarded with their good play when they won a short corner that Liam Foster dispatched past George Harris.
The closing five minutes of the first half saw Winchester overcome an assault of short corners from Milton Keynes which were brilliantly defended by Alex Everton King.
Winchester came out in the second half with contrasting tactics deployed by player/coach George Harris.
His half court press tactics proved successful as Winchester capitalised in a 15 minute spell that saw four goals fly into the Milton Keynes net – two goals from Micah Smithard, pictured, one from Kent Langridge and a penalty stoke from Ben Hibberd.
Winchester will be disappointed to concede a further two goals to Foster and James Palmer but eventually sealed the three points in a comfortable manner. They host Tunbridge Wells at Kings on Saturday, 2pm.
Back-to-back wins over Croydon & Old Whitgiftians and second placed Epsom has provided Fareham II the perfect start to the second half of the South League Hampshire/Surrey Regional Division One programme.
Paul Metcalf (2), Luke Gould and Scotsman Christian McKenna were on target in the 4-3 win over Croydon & OWs, while Owen Evans bagged a brace in the outstanding 5-2 win at title contenders Epsom, where George Davey, Luke Gould and Aidan Page also struck the back board. The wins take Fareham into sixth place in the log.
Winchester’s lean run, which had yielded only one win amid eight South Premier League Division 1 defeats, ended with a 1-0 victory over Indian Gymkhana – top scorer Micah Smithard getting the only goal of the match.
Opening salvoes on both sides created half chances but nothing that troubled either keeper.
Winchester's attacking threat was driven by the hard-running Todd Hutchinson, the effervescent skipper Kieran Malloy and the muscle of Ben Hibberd as they prevented Indian Gym's midfield from fully settling and dictating play in their usual fashion. Winchester then struck on 25 minutes when top scorer Micah Smithard collected the ball on top of the "D" from a left wing cross, beat a player and then calmly lifted the ball over the floored keeper.
The remainder of the half saw a couple of excellent chances for Winchester with Kent Langridge driving into the "D" to win a penalty corner and Malloy close after an umpiring advantage allowed play to continue.
Winchester became even stronger in the second half, the confidence that they had lacked in late 2018 returning by visible degrees.
In one move, Hutchinson and Craig Jeffery combined in a rapid counter attack but were just wide of the mark.
However, with a one goal lead, the risk of a Gymkhana comeback was always a possibility and 20 minutes-in, keeper Dave Smith made an outstanding save from a powerful high drive and was able to instantly clear to safety as the Indian Gym attackers bore down on him.
Smithard had a clear opportunity to extend the lead and take the pressure off but his shot sailed over the bar. Smith was again forced into action late in the game, but dealt comfortably with the danger.
The win sees no change to Winchester's league position, but a gap is clearly opening up between themselves and the two relegation places below them and coach George Harris’s attention can now return to moving up this tight league.
Trojans remain hot on Guildford's tails in the South League Premier Division 2 title race with a tense 4-3 win over Eastbourne at the Saffrons.
Richard Aves, Colin French, Paul Hilton and Dave McNee hit the target for Trojans, whose showdown with Guildford (6-1 winners over West Hampstead) at Stoneham Lane on Saturday (1.30) is certain to have a major bearing on the outcome of the championship race.
Salute Trojans ladies - the South Women's League Division 2 Jaffa Super Sixes indoor champions !
They lifted the regional indoor title after a triumphant weekend at Whitgift, beating Wimbledon 3-2 in their final pool match to carry off the title.
Trojans looked to have the title decider in the bag when they roared into a 3-0 interval lead through Daisy Strange, Zoe Gittens and Imogen Lea.
But a Nick Wray second period brace set up a nervy finish for Trojans, who hung on go their 3-2 lead after the Dons had narrowed the gap two minutes from the end.
Earlier, Trojans had opened with a 2-2 draw against Ipswich - Heather Batten scoring both, the equaliser right on the hooter - and earned all three points in the second game beating Brighton 2-0 a goal each for Heather Batten and Zoe Gittens.
Batten continued her goal-scoring exploits with two more goals in the 3-1 win over Bedford (Daisy Strange got the other goal) while teenager Imogen Lea scored twice alongside Heather Batten in the 3-2 victory over St Albans, which set up the Wimbledon title decider.
Trojans now qualify to play in the South League Women's League One Super Sixes next winter.
Fareham brushed off the cobwebs of the Christmas/New Year break with two goals in each half securing a 4-0 Hampshire Cup win over Trojans, who face a potential South League Premier 2 title decider against Guildford at Stoneham Lane on Saturday week.
Leading from a Jamie Rawlings drag flick from their first penalty corner, Fareham doubled their lead with a well worked George Davey goal initiated by Jack Gilbert and elder brother Chris.
A superb individual goal by Gilbert effectively ended the contest before Davey got his second following as three-man move.
Four-nil down, Trojans had chances to get on the scoresheet, with Kiwi goalkeeper Tom Mallon twice denying Paul Hilton, either side of chances going begging.
Fareham's 4-0 win sets up a home semi-final tie against Wimborne Wayfarers (2-1 winners over Haslemere) at Henry Cort in April, prior to which Havant play Winchester (February 10) for the right to play either Aldershot & Farnham or Andover.
Fareham, back in Western Conference action at Team Bath on February 2, host Oxted on Sunday and visit Teddington on January 27.
The South League resumes this weekend, with struggling Winchester at home to Indian Gymkhana and Trojans visiting Eastbourne at The Saffrons.
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