A Colin French hat-trick in a convincing 5-2 victory over mid-table Blackheath OE has given Trojans a lifeline in the relegation fight in South Premier 2.
Trojans dominated an entertaining game at Stoneham Lane and were 2-0 ahead by half-time with a goal for Dave McNee and a stunning reverse stick finish from French.
Knowing that victory was essential to haul themselves away from the automatic relegation zone, Trojans continued to attack in the second half with two further goals for French completing his hat trick and putting the home side 4-0 up.
Blackheath had few chances in the match until the league's leading scorer Chris Harden found space in the circle to slot the ball low into the goal.
The result never looked in doubt and Ben Frost added a fifth goal for Trojans sliding into a crowded goalmouth scramble to force the ball into the net before Harden added a late goal for the visitors from a penalty corner.
The 5-2 win means Trojans must beat Staines by four goals at Stoneham Lane in the final game of the season to ensure they stay up by right.
Failing that, they may be left waiting for the outcome of Fareham’s results in the National League relegation playoff to determine their fate.
Havant will return to the National League Western Conference in the autumn as South League Premier Division 1 champions. They clinched the title with a 3-1 win over Old Cranleighans, Australian Adam Seccull (2) and Marciej Janiszewski on target.
Three goals down to HAC at the half-time break, Romsey were on the brink of kissing goodbye to any hopes of avoiding relegation from Hampshire/Surrey Regional Division 2.
But they staged a stimulating second half comeback to score three times themselves to draw 3-3 – and so keep their survival prospects simmering.
Now everything hinges on the outcome of their final match of the campaign against Camberley & Farnborough at the Hampshire Collegiate School on Saturday, 12.30.
It’s a match Romsey must win – and win by two clear goals to ensure they claw their way out of the bottom two and finish above Addiscombe and HAC, both currently above them.
It will be of comfort for Romsey to know that Addiscombe – away to championship chasing Croydon & OldWhitgiftians – and HAC, at free scoring Surbiton (23 goals in their last three games), have seriously difficult games.
But Romsey will have to start better than they did against a depleted HAC, who went ahead with only eight men on the pitch and were 3-0 up at half-time with only ten !
A sin-bin laden game, just about summed up Romsey’s difficult season, with the Abbeymen peppering the HAC goal only to be thwarted by some solid goalkeeping and some sloppy finishing of their own.
Eventually finding some composure, Romsey pulled a goal back through Ben Butcher and then rattled HAC’s own defences with a Danny Miles penalty conversion.
A tiring HAC conceded a penalty stroke of their own, but Jack Forrest-Charde’s shot was saved, leaving Romsey’s frustration to get the better of them and ruffle a few umpiring feathers.
Ben Butcher did equaliser seven minutes from the end, but Romsey’s lack of killer instinct caused them to miss numerous chances in the closing stages and allow HAC to escape with a precious point.
Southampton went goal crazy, rattling 13 goals past Addiscombe and HAC – and boosting Romsey’s Hampshire/Surrey Regional Division 2 survival hopes in the process.
They beat Addiscombe 6-2 and HAC 7-1, prompting some unwanted dents in their opponents’ goal differences in the bargain.
Addicombe and HAC lie just above Romsey in the R2 danger zone.
Brimming with confidence after reaching England Hockey’s Vase final – they play at the Lea Valley Olympic Park on April 29 – Southampton swept into a 5-0 half-time lead against a bemused Addiscombe, with Simon Watson (2), Rob O’Brien, George Watling and Josh White all on target.
Watson completed his first hat-trick of the season in the second half
The rearranged game against travelling HAC gave Southampton an opportunity to work on their Vase final plans and, after banging hard on the visitors door, they eventually took a 2-0 lead through Matt Wood and O’Brien.
Southampton switched tactics after the break – and nailed the Artillery Company with a five-goal broadside.
O’Brien went on to complete his hat-trick – and finish the season with a 24-goal tally – while Watling, Liam Eastwood and Watson also got in on the scoring act.
Champions ! Winchester’s title winners.
Standing (from left): Rob Moore, Craig Simms, Adam Tollefsen, Will Phillips, Rob Goodchild, Ben Hibberd, Mark Maunsell. Front: Kevin Boniface, Caelen Dillon, Kent Langridge, Chris Jackson, Martin Harris, Isaac Hocking, Andy Thomas. Photo Jon Player.
Winchester are South Hockey League Premier League Division 2 champions.
Buoyed by two first half goals in quick succession, they clinched top spot with a 3-0 win at Ashford to regain their top flight South status after a 17-year absence.
There have been many dark days for the city club since April 2000 including spells towards the bottom of Hants/Surrey Regional Division 2.
But a steady climb back has seen them celebrate a third promotion in six seasons.
Oxford University go up with Winchester after finishing runners-up – level on 46 points with West Hampstead, but with a superior goal difference of one !
Winchester were still uncertain of promotion – let alone the title - when they arrived at Ashford.
With the lower teams in SP2 frequently springing surprise results in recent weeks, Ashford – sweating on possible relegation - had the capability of spoiling Winchester's progression.
With both sides intent on attack, a free-flowing game ensued with Mark Maunsell going close in the opening moments and Ashford firing wide a few moments later.
But two rapid fire goals got the Winchester promotion band wagon rolling.
Rob Moore opened the scoring with a thunderous reverse hit strike – a lead which Peter Symonds College student Isaac Hocking doubled in the 16th minute after Kent Langridge threaded the ball through to him.
Ashford refused to lie down and threatened through a well-worked penalty corner routine which Will Phillips snuffed out with a fine saving block.
Craig Simms and Kevin Boniface too had to be at their best to deny any serious home threats, but Winchester goalkeeper Caelen Dillon remained largely a first half spectator.
Two-down Ashford pushed forward after the break, but Winchester were unable to exploit the gaps they left at the back and so wrap up the points.
Winchester then became nervy, perhaps generated by their inability to convert so many chances, and errors crept in across every part of the field.
Not helped by playing a period of the game with nine men – two Winchester players found themselves sin-binned - it was all hands to the pump defensively, Dillon winning his spurs, making a great double save, putting the second strike over the bar with a stick deflection.
Winchester found their feet again and the previously rampant Ashford attacks subsided.
With about ten minutes remaining, promotion architect Ben Hibberd delivered the title settling third goal, a well executed penalty corner which the superb Ashford keeper parried but was unable to prevent Winchester’s player/coach roofing the rebound.
Fareham’s immediate future as a National Hockey League club is dangling by a thread.
A 5-3 last match defeat by Birmingham University, coupled with an unexpected win by fellow strugglers Chichester and Isca drawing, plunged Fareham into the bottom two in the final Western Conference table.
Now they’ll need to win a desperate three-way relegation play-off battle next month to stave off the drop, writes Mike Vimpany.
Indian Gymkhana and Liverpool-based Oxton, who kick start the play-offs in Osterley on Sunday, are the clubs Fareham must beat.
Fareham go to Merseyside on Saturday week, April 9 and then host Indian Gymkhana at Henry Cort on April 22.
Fareham needed a positive result in the Midlands to ensure finishing out of the bottom two (Bristol University were already relegated), but their world fell apart at the hands of the Birmingham students who had little but pride to play for.
They must have felt their luck was in when the Birmingham goalkeeper was injured in the warm up – forcing the University to play with a kicking-back as one of 11 outfield players.
Fareham began pretty well, with Chris Davey guiding them into a sixth minute lead.
But an ill-timed yellow card for Fareham turned the tide – with Birmingham’s 11 outfielders too much for the visitors’ nine to cope with.
Birmingham scored three times in seven critical minutes – Tom Poustie, George Sweting and Ed Whitworth were on target – and Fareham were in serious trouble.
Rob Wilson clawed it back to 3-2 before the break, but two subsequent penalty corner conversions by Sweeting and Matt Clee broke Fareham’s hearts.
James Evans got a third for Fareham at the end.
Downcast Fareham head coach Ben Barnes, who has rebuilt last season’s fourth-placed side, reflected: “It was a very cruel day that sport can sometimes throw at you.
“Having worked so hard to have the opportunity to stay out of the play-offs it was tough.
“At Christmas, making the play-offs was not a guarantee as we were level with Bristol on points.
“Even at the half way point on two points and six (points) from safety, we had done well to not be relegated automatically.
“Focusing on the positives and bouncing back for our first play-off match in Liverpool is going to be so important.”
Fareham’s slender hopes of avoiding the play-offs were dashed when Chichester, 3-0 up in seven minutes, smashed Old Georgians 5-0 and Isca drew 1-1 at relegated Bristol University.
Ironically, former Fareham defender Simon Tremlett scored the equalising goal which kept the Exeter side out of trouble.
There was a crumb of comfort for Fareham, whose second team outscored Basingstoke 6-5 to ensure safety in Hampshire/Surrey Regional Division 1.
Greg Cox (2), George Davey, Luke Gould, Tom Seebold, and Zac Way scored for Fareham.
Winchester will be crowned South League Premier Division 2 champions if they win their final match of the season at relegation play-off strugglers Ashford on Saturday.
A win double against Trojans and Tulse Hill & Dulwich has given Winchester a two-point lead over faltering Oxford University going into this weekend’s final round of matches.
Winchester’s title hopes soared when they came from behind to beat Trojans 4-2 and then Tulse Hill 3-1 24 hours later.
Then Oxford, having thrashed Tulse Hill 6-1 the previous day, crashed 1-0 at Holcombe to leave Winchester in pole position.
The Dark Blues, fresh from their Varsity victory over Cambridge, will expect to win their final match at all-but-relegated Lewes.
But if Winchester, with a superior plus-four goal difference, win at Ashford, the crown is theirs.
Winchester’s 4-2 victory over Trojans has increased the Stoneham club’s relegation fears which will only evaporate if they win either of their remaining home games against Blackheath or Staines.
Trojans grabbed the lead at Kings’, though, after a short but sustained period of pressure, Tim Broadhurst capitalising on defensive indecision to find the corner of the net.
It took a good 15 minutes for Winchester to find their feet, but improvement was marginal as they conceded possession slightly less against their high tempo opposition.
They did equalise from a penalty corner despatched neatly from a left slip to Kent Langridge for his 13th goal of the season.
Moments later it was nearly 2-1 when Martin Harris’s dive just failed to tap in from Langridge’s cross.
The momentum seemed to be swinging Winchester’s way, but Trojans continued to be dangerous and restored their lead went ahead yet again with KES student Jacob Fay volleying home after goalkeeper Caelen Dillon had made an initial save.
Nervousness abounded amongst the expectant Kings’ crowd, but Winchester didn’t panic and with the last play of the first half Harris was able to divert Ben Hibberd’s penalty corner pass into the net to make it 2-2.
Tension was slightly relieved half way through the second period when Winchester took the lead for the first time.
Hibberd’s pass to Rob Moore was initially saved by Phil Roche but Will Phillips was alert behind the keeper to knock in from six inches.
Trojans were very much still in the game and a fierce penalty corner drag-flick was diverted just over Dillon’s bar.
The final respite for Winchester came with the best goal of the game. Mark Maunsell won the ball on the half way line and threaded it through to Langridge who, in turn, drove into Trojans stretched defence before unselfishly releasing a pass to Harris to his left to make it 4-2.
The final ten minutes saw Trojans still pressing but the visitors were unable to drag the game back.
Winchester were brimming with confidence for Sunday’s visit to rock bottom Holcombe – their 3-1 win the platform to leapfrog Oxford University into top spot.
They failed to convert two early penalty corners, but midway through the first half Harry Talks scrambled Winchester in front.
Tulse Hill, ousted from the promotion race by a succession of recent defeats, equalised through Martyn White but despite strong pressure were unable to score again.
Once Winchester regained the lead six minutes into the second half through Ben Hibberd (from a fine spin drag-flick) there was only one likely outcome.
Hibberd tied it up ten minutes from the end with another drag flick.
Romsey’s gallant battle to avoid the drop from Hampshire/Surrey Regional Division 2 is going to the wire, with the Abbeymen facing another ‘must win’ showdown with HAC at Hampshire Collegiate College on Saturday, 2pm.
A 4-2 win over Hamble – relegated for a second consecutive season – leaves Romsey one point behind HAC, who they simply must beat.
Even if they do win, Romsey will still have to beat Camberley & Farnborough in their final game at HCS on April 1.
The Satchel Lane derby was a typically feisty affair, with Hamble disputing Romsey’s crucial third goal and the game ended with a flurry of yellow cards.
Romsey took an early lead through Ben Butcher after a move involving Danny Miles, but Hamble responded immediately with Matt Cross equalising with a shot which spun in off Loz Scott’s pads.
Hamble then drew an excellent save from Scot and hit the bar – only to fall behind again as teenager Sam Barcia set up Zac Cooper to make it 2-1.
The next goal was crucial – and Barcia’s strike was surrounded in controversy.
After three mis-hit shots, Barcia found himself at a tight angle, and eventually flicked over the ‘keeper to make it 3-1.
After initially signalling for a goal, the umpires decided to stop play to discuss the decision as Hamble were convinced Barcia illegally controlled the ball with the back of his stick.
After a lengthy deliberation, the officials decided their initial decision was correct, and awarded the goal, much to Hamble’s dismay.
Hamble continued with their all-out attack policy and returned fire with Paul Barber powering a trademark penalty corner drag flick past Scott to make it 3-2.
Romsey’s fourth goal decided the game – Cooper beating two defenders, firing against the Hamble goalkeeper and looping up for Miles to fire it over the line.
But it could so easily have been curtains for Romsey – especially as HAC run into a 3-0 half-time lead against Winchester II.
If that scoreline remained, Romsey would have been down.
But Winchester staged a remarkable second half comeback and ran out 5-3 winners – much to Romsey’s relief.
Andy Winnett, Rob Gunchild and Tom Bollam squared the scores before two late Stuart Swift strikes gave Winchester an improbable victory.
Alex Boxall scored twice as Fareham’s beat Bristol University 2-1 to boost their prospects of steering clear of an unwanted National League relegation play-off scrap.
The result spells relegation for the Bristol students, but leaves Fareham (14 points) above Isca on goal difference, and one clear of Chichester.
But Fareham will probably still need a positive outcome from their final Western Conference match at Birmingham University on Sunday to avoid finishing in the second from bottom play-off spot.
While Fareham play in the Midlands, relegated Bristol host Isca and Chichester entertain fourth-placed Old Georgians.
Fareham were being held 1-1 deep into the second half by Bristol, who with three minutes left on the clock made a remarkable and costly late tactical change.
Needing to win at all costs, the University threw caution to the wind and swapped their goalkeeper for a kicking back – only to concede Fareham’s winner (which ultimately sent them down) 30 seconds later.
Bristol lost possession to Sash Thomas in Fareham’s half.
With virtually all the Bristol players marooned upfield, the Australian picked out Boxall with a high aerial pass and the Fareham skipper did the rest.
It was nerve jangling stuff – as it always seems to be when Fareham play !
“All credit to the Bristol in taking off their keeper in an attempt to win the game as it very nearly worked for them,” reflected Fareham coach Ben Barnes.
“They piled on the pressure with the extra man, but it also gave us the incentive to stretch them and score the winning goal – a fantastic moment for us.
“It was such an important performance and result for Fareham and this group of players.”
With so much riding on the outcome, the Henry Cort crowd experienced a nervy watch – Fareham changing round without reward having seen four short corners stopped on the Bristol line.
“Jamie Rawlings was particularly unlucky. On another day, we could have been three or four up at half-time,” Barnes added.
Bristol continued to keep a clean sheet until seven minutes into the second half when Rawlings exploded a shot that Swedish international Henry Eriksson somehow deflected over the bar for a long corner, from which Boxall reverse sticked Fareham in front.
But Fareham were unable to hold on to their lead as midway through the period Tom Wilson beat George Harris with a deflected shot to make it 1-1.
With Bournemouth teenager Tim Nurse scoring twice to help Isca beat Birmingham University 4-1 and Hedge End based Martin Gough getting both goals in Chichester’s 2-2 draw with depleted Cardiff, Fareham were back in second from bottom place.
But that late twist in the tail saw Boxall grab the winner two minutes from time – a goal which could prove so important to Fareham short-term future.
* Havant are on the threshold of regaining their Western Conference spot after a 6-4 win at London Edwardians which puts them one point clear of Bromley & Beckenham at the top of South Premier 1.
Australian drag flick specialist Adam Seccull, previously with East Grinstead, scored four times.
Southampton are through to the England Vase final at the Lea Valley Olympic Park after coming from behind to beat Trinity Mid-Whitgiftians 4-2 in their semi-final in Surrey.
But their upcoming trip to the 2012 Olympic Games site – where they will face Scunthorpe based Brigg – was far from straight forward as Southampton conceded a first half penalty stroke and changed round 1-0 down.
Southampton tweaked a few things after the break, began to enjoy more space and soon equalised through a Rob O’Brien.
A second Southampton goal quickly followed and, after a shot by Oscar Rigby had been blocked, O’Brien followed up to make it 2-1.
A third goal was crucial if Southampton were to make the national final and, sure enough, Rigby turned creator to goal-scorer and stretched the lead to 3-1.
Trinity were picked up frequent yellow cards and when one was upgraded to a red, the Surrey hosts faced the remainder of the second period with ten men.
Just over ten minutes remained on the clock when Trinity converted a short corner to make it 3-2.
Southampton lost their calm – and two players in the sin bin – but managed to hold out for long enough for O’Brien to break down the right, beat two players and set up a final clinching fourth goal for Simon Watson.
Trojans ladies are eyeing a final third place finish in the National Women’s League Western Conference after winning their last four games.
Their 2-1 win over relegated Bristol Firebrands enabled them to leap frog Olton & West Warwicks, who crashed 3-1 to Swansea, Trojans’ final opponents at Stoneham Lane on Saturday, 2pm.
Heather Batten’s eighth minute goal gave Trojans a 1-0 interval lead, which Daisy Strange doubled after the break.
Firebrands clawed one back from a penalty corner soon after, but Trojans held on to secure a fourth straight win.
A freak own goal moments before half-time gave Didsbury Northern a 1-0 win and put paid to Trojans’ prospects of playing in the England Hockey national Trophy final at Lea Valley.
A tightly contested semi-final was decided shortly before the break when a cross from the baseline by Nick Lowden took an unfortunate deflection off the goalkeeper Phil Roch straight into the Trojans net.
Didsbury had the better of the early exchanges hitting the post from a penalty corner and dominating possession.
Trojans created few chances in a tense opening, but had more of the game in the second half; alas, Didsbury's former Great Britain international Scott Cordon broke up numerous attacks and scoring opportunities were hard to come by.
With time running out Trojans threw more men forward. Ian Bassett had a shot blocked before a deflection from Calum Crichton rolled agonisingly wide of the post.
Trojans replaced their goalkeeper towards the end of the game but even with an extra outfield player they could not break the visitors defence.
Alex Boxall scored twice including a late winner as Fareham snatched a crucial 2-1 win over relegated National League Western Conference rivals Bristol University at Henry Cort.
Boxall gave Fareham an early second half lead but the Bristol students, needing two wins to stay up themselves, equalised through Tom Wilson.
Three minutes from the end Bristol, desperate to win, substituted their goalkeeper for a kicking back – and leaked a winner when Fareham broke from an aerial and Boxall rolled home their winner.
Despite a Martin Gough brace which secured a 2-2 draw at Cardiff, Chichester are favourites for the relegation play-off. With one game to go (they face Old Georgians), Chi are one point below Fareham (who visit Birmingham University) and Isca.
Havant look set to regain their Western Conference spot after a 6-4 win at London Edwardians, while Winchester beat Trojans 4-2 to remain hot on Oxford University’s tails in South Premier 2.
National League Western Conference
Cardiff 2 Chichester 2, Fareham 2 (Boxall 2) Bristol University 1, Isca 4 University of Birmingham 1.
South Premier 1
Old Edwardians 4 Havant 6
South Premier Division 2
Tulse Hill 1 Oxford University 5, Winchester 4 Trojans 2
Hampshire/Surrey Regional 1
Wanderers 4 Fareham II 0.
THERE’S more than local pride to play for when Winchester and Trojans go head-to-head in the season’s second South Hockey League Premier Division 2 derby at Kings’ on Saturday, 2pm.
Winchester are pressing hard for promotion, whereas Trojans are desperate for points in their bid to stave off relegation to the Regional Leagues.
To add spice to an already enthralling showdown, Trojans ended Winchester’s nine-match unbeaten start, 4-2 in early December.
The stakes could hardly be higher for Winchester as they contest a four-sided promotion battle with faltering leaders Oxford University, West Hampstead and Tulse Hill & Dulwich.
A succession of erratic results has seen the Dark Blues’ lead at the top trimmed to a single point - a situation that could change dramatically this weekend with the university students hosting a crunch game with Tulse Hill, who then receive Winchester on Sunday.
Winchester could only manage a 2-2 draw at lowly Holcombe – Ben Hibberd and Will Phillips were on target – but with Oxford University and Tulse Hill both losing, it was a point gained rather than two lost.
Trojans took a 6-1 thrashing from third placed West Hampstead, but bounced back to nick a 2-1 win at Purley Walcountians – a result which edged them out of the automatic relegation zone occupied by Holcombe and Lewes.
A razor-sharp drag flick by Laxman Karan and a second soon afterwards by Tom Bullock had Trojans chasing the game against a well drilled West Hampstead, who are emerging a real threat to Winchester’s promotion challenge.
West Hampstead went on to win 6-1, with Ben Frost scoring Trojans’ consolation effort.
The result put Trojans in the bottom two – but it didn’t affect them 24 hours later.
“At Purley we played with a freedom that had been missing in recent weeks,” said Duncan Stewart.
Purley struggled to cope with the pace of the Trojans attack, with James Watts drifting into the circle unmarked to give the visitors a welcome tenth minute lead.
Despite continuing pressure, Trojans were unable to add to their lead before the break, although Scott Summers nearly extended their advantage early in the second half, his fiercely struck shot forcing a fine save.
Graham Lester equalised and, after goalkeeper Phil Roch had produced two fine saves, Rich Aves was first to react to a rebound off the upright for what proved Trojans’ winner.
Yellow cards saw Trojans reduced to nine players for the final five minutes, but they held out for a win which could prove so vital in their bid for survival.
“It should also give us much needed confidence for Saturday’s derby at Winchester and our England Hockey Trophy semi-final against Manchester-based Didsbury Northern at Stoneham Lane on Sunday, 1.30,” Stewart added.
Didsbury are currently unbeaten and top of the North West League.
Trojans will be without Sam Broadhurst, who has been banned for 16 days. They face four matches in an eight-day period.
HAVANT look set to be in a two-way battle for the South League Premier Division 1 title with Bromley & Beckenham after beating Banbury 6-4 in a match which had a dramatic beginning and end.
Niall Stott got the opening goal with just 12 seconds played. James Speke made it two and Mike Deller-Merricks got the third. Crucially in the second half Maciej Janiszewski added the fourth and Oliver Nail struck twice before being red carded.
Banbury kept battling on throughout the contest and clawed their way back after being 5-1 down.
Havant could not have started better after Deller-Merricks robbed a defender and slipped the ball to Stott who did the rest. Within a minute Havant were 2-0 up as Speke finished off a flowing move. In the eighth minute it was 3-0 when a high ball from Stott found Deller-Merricks, who cleverly flicked the ball over the advancing keeper.
Banbury won their first penalty corner in the 10th minute, which brought out a good save from Chris Bristow.
The Havant keeper had to deny the visitors again a few minutes later with another great save. Banbury got their first goal in the 21st minute from their second penalty corner.
The next goal was of vital importance and it went to Havant after a minute of the second half when Janiszewski hammered a powerful reverse shot into the net.
Once again Banbury never gave up, but it was Havant who went 5-1 up in the 58th minute.
Speke was fouled in the circle, which resulted in a penalty flick and Nail netted with an unstoppable flick.
Banbury struck one back before Havant scored their sixth goal - Stott finding Nail, who flicked the ball past the Banbury keeper.
With two minutes left on the clock, Banbury struck with two goals, initially when the visitors scored as play continued when Havant stopped after a suspected Banbury foot. The umpire did not agree and Nail received a yellow card for protesting, which was converted to a red. He has now begun a statutory 16-day ban.
Within seconds a Banbury attack saw an over enthusiastic challenge from Bristow, which resulted in a penalty flick, and he joined Nail on the bench with a yellow card.
Adam Bloomfield took the helmet but could not prevent Banbury scoring their fourth.
Teenager Kieran Page, pictured, led the way as Fareham seconds celebrated a significant Regional League and Hampshire Cup double success.
The Barton Peveril student notched hat-trick as Fareham boosted their Regional Division 1 survival prospects with a 6-3 win over Chichester and then scored again in the 5-1 Hampshire Cup victory against holders Winchester II.
Fareham swept into a 4-0 lead before Chichester mounted a comeback, Page getting his threesome alongside strikes by Greg Cox, George Davey and Nick Knight.
Cox scored twice as Fareham ended Winchester’s reign as Hampshire Open League Cup holders – Luke Gould, Page and Tom Seebold also scoring to set up a semi-final tie with Hamble on April 9. In the other OLC semi-final. Southampton University will play Haslemere.
Fareham twice had the lead wrestled from their grasp and, somewhat disappointingly, had to settle for a 2-2 draw with fourth-placed National League Western Conference rivals Old Georgians at Henry Cort.
But the point they took off the Surrey side coincided with defeats for Isca (4-1 by Exeter University) and Chichester (1-2 v Cheltenham) and edged them out of the immediate relegation play-off spot.
Fareham’s priority now is to beat the bottom side Bristol University at Henry Cort on Saturday (1.30) in arguably the most important game the club has played in years.
“I was proud of the effort the boys put in against Old Georgians and we’re now in control of our own destiny,” reflected Fareham head coach Ben Barnes.
“We’ve caught up four points on Isca in the past fortnight and now are only one point behind Chichester, whose last two games are against Cardiff Met and Old Georgians.
“We have momentum and we need to keep going at the same intensity for the last two games. Two wins is what we need to be certain and I know the guys will be going for it.”
Fareham underlined how far they have progressed against Old Georgians, who thumped them 6-1 on the opening day of the season.
They called the tune for the opening quarter and saw two chances missed before Alex Boxall got a deflection off a cross shot from Danny Rawlings.
Minutes later came a miss that possibly cost Fareham the win points.
James Evans, who is proving a handy acquisition since joining from Havant, teed up a great chance for James Seager, who rolled his shot wide with OGs keeper Chris Wyver beaten.
“JJ beat himself up about that miss and it would have given us a great 2-0 cushion,” Barnes added.
Old Georgians gained the upper hand and, after George Harris had denied former Olympian James Tindall, Andrew O’Sullivan converted their third penalty corner.
Although there were no yellow cards, tempers became frayed with the umpires having to call the two captains together at one point and cool the situation.
Fifteen minutes into an absorbing second period Fareham regained the lead.
The evergreen John Grice went in a rampaging run down the right-hand by-line and eased the ball back for Evans to make it 2-1.
Minutes later, Fareham had a let off when the umpires upheld their protests about the award a of penalty stroke and changed it to a short corner.
But Old Georgians’ pressure was mounting and Harris denied Tom Doran before the visitors did get a penalty – the ball struck Chris Davey on the goal line – and Tindall equalised seven minutes from the end.
Harris wasn’t finished yet – his late save with his outstretched legs denying Elliott Messem an OG’s winner.
Trojans scored twice in three second half minutes to seal a 4-2 win over National Women’s League Western Conference visitors Olton & West Warwicks, who had staged two previous comebacks.
Sally Gibson, who was involved in three of Trojans goals, and Kathy Petch scored in quick succession to nail any further comebacks by the Midland visitors.
Trojans, chasing a third straight win and pressing for a top three finish, took an 18th minute lead through Maddy Lambrou – but Olton were quick to respond through Katie Brough.
Trojans restored their lead four minutes after the break, but once again their joy was short lived as former Great Britain Olympian Sally Walton levelled at 2-2.
But there was no coming back from the two-goal Trojans blast which settled the game and took the Stoneham girls to within one point of Olton, with two matches to play.
Gibson’s ice cool flick over the Olton goalkeeper got Trojans back in front, while Petch got a crucial deflection to the shot from Heather Batten which settled the issue.
Trojans seconds went on a 12-goal blitz in South Women’s League Division 3B – the 12-3 win over Worthing keeping them firmly in the promotion hunt.
But Fareham went down 4-1 to Wanderers at Battersea Park and Southampton were on the receiving end of a 5-0 spanking from Wimbledon.
Rob O’Brien took his goal tally for the season to 20 as Southampton pulled off a remarkable 4-2 win over Hampshire/Surrey Regional Division 2 high fliers London Edwardians at Battersea Park.
They achieved the victory over the promotion chasing city side with a threadbare squad – a bare 11 players travelling to South London, half of them reserve teamers !
O’Brien described it as “an outstanding performance from a team that has not played together before and with no one on the substitute’s bench.
“The determination and passion shown from the players was second to none.”
Anxious not to turn the ball over or chase the play, Southampton quelled LE’s attacking intentions and snatched a first half lead through O’Brien himself.
By half-time Edwardians were deservedly on level terms, but Southampton restored their lead, again through O’Brien, after an aerial pass by Dan Brackstone picked out the visitors’ top scorer.
Having been undone by one counter-attack, Edwardians were undone again three minutes later when John Nurse rifled home a third from the top of the D.
Southampton weren’t finished with Blackstone setting up O’Brien to tee up a fourth goal for Simon Watson – the three goals coming in the space of five second half minutes.
London Edwardians, who lie fourth points behind R2 leaders Croydon & Old Whitgiftians, clawed a second goal back in penalty corner overtime.
The result secured a comfortable mid-table spot for Southampton and sent confidence soaring ahead of Sunday’s England Hockey Vase semi-final tie at Surrey Division club Trinity Mid-Whitgiftians.
Fareham twice went ahead only to have their advantage cancelled out by fourth placed National Hockey League Western Conference rivals Old Georgians, who forced a 2-2 draw at Henry Cort yesterday.
Alex Boxall and James Evans scored in each half to give Fareham the lead, but a James Tindall penalty stroke seven minutes from time gave Georgians a draw.
Relegation rivals Bristol University, Chichester and Isca all lost, leaving Fareham needing a win against the West Country students on Saturday to move out of the drop zone.
Winchester’s South League promotion hopes improved when Premier Division 2 leaders Oxford University lost 3-2 to Staines.
Winchester drew 2-2 at the bottom club Holcombe, while Trojans sank deeper into trouble with a 6-1 hiding from visiting West Hampstead.
National League Western Conference
Bristol University 2 Birmingham University 3, Chichester 1 Cheltenham 2, Exeter University 4 Isca 1, Fareham 2 (Boxall, Jones) Old Georgians 2.
South Premier Division 2
Ashford 3 Tulse Hill & Dulwich 0, Holcombe 2 Winchester 2 (Hibberd, Phillips), Oxford University 2 Staines 3, Trojans 1 (Frost) West Hampstead 6. (Stoneham, 1.30)
Hampshire/Surrey Regional 1
Fareham II 6 (Page 3, Cox, Davey, Knight) Chichester II 3, Wimborne Wayfarers 0 Havant II 2.
London Edwardians II 2 Southampton 4, Romsey 2 Andover 4, Winchester II 7 Hamble 0.
Hampshire 2nd XI Cup
Winchester 1 Fareham 5 (Cox 2, Gould, Page, Seebold).
National League Western Conference
Trojans 4 (Petch 2, Gibson, Lambrou) Olton & West Warwicks 2.
South League Division 3B
Southampton 0 Wimbledon 5, Trojans II 12 Worthing 3, Wanderers 4 Fareham 1.
The South Hockey League Premier Division 2 title race is set to go to the wire, with only four points separating leaders Oxford University, Winchester and third placed Tulse Hill & Dulwich, who still have the top two to play.
Oxford unexpectedly spilled points when unpredictable Bournemouth held them 3-3 at Chapel Gate – a result which coincided with Winchester thumping Purley Walcountians 6-0 and Tulse Hill beating Staines 3-2.
That Saturday sequence gave Winchester the chance to go top – but they fluffed their lines in the rearranged 1-1 draw with West Hampstead 24 hours later.
Every point is now crucial for the trio, with Tulse Hill’s home matches against the Dark Blues and Winchester over the weekend March 18 and 19 likely to be critical.
Winchester were a goal up inside the first minute against Purley, with Rob Moore blasting a reverse strike past the helpless Walcountians keeper.
The visitors did show some steel at this point and threatened on a number of occasions before Winchester moved further ahead after 15 minutes, Kent Langridge volleying-in off the keeper following a period of intense pressure.
Ben Hibberd fired into the side netting and Rob Moore almost repeated his first minute effort before the increasingly-impressive Isaac Hocking gave Winchester control of the game just before half time.
Purley regrouped after the break and had their best spell with central defenders Kevin Boniface and Craig Simms at their best to snuff out any threat.
Any hope of a Purley revival was removed when some excellent umpiring allowed play to continue after a clear penalty corner foul on Hibberd.
Harry Talks, unlike the Purley defenders, did not pause and planted the ball into the net for Winchester's fourth.
The fifth was not far behind, Moore crashing a shot into the post and with the ball in play, Hocking forced a good save from the keeper.
Hibberd reacted at the far post to make it 5-0.
Moore then topped and tailed the scoring for the day with a solo run and a shot into the top left hand corner with immense power.
If only Winchester could have repeated the dose against West Hampstead they would have been going to Holcombe on Saturday top of the log, instead of trailing Oxford University (at home to Staines) by two points.
There was a very different feel to the rescheduled Sunday game from the outset.
Although the pace was high, both defences were well organised and goal mouth incidents were few and far between as most attacks ran out of steam as they reached the danger areas.
Winchester did force a good save out of West Hampstead's excellent keeper from an early penalty corner, but Rob Moore's 25th minute strike, also drawing a good save, was otherwise the first meaningful goalkeeper action at either end.
It kick started a period of sustained Winchester pressure during which they failed to convert to goals and would ultimately cost them the full three points.
Despite this, the last play of the half saw Winchester’s own shot stopper Caelan Dillon pulled of a terrific penalty corner save.
West Hampstead broke through in the fourth minute of the second half with Ben Battcock deflecting a crashed-in pass high into the net.
Winchester looked a bit stunned but were rewarded for renewed efforts with an equaliser ten minutes later when Mark Maunsell found room to strike at goal but his mis-directed effort was diverted home by the alert Will Phillips at the far post.
Winchester were still the marginally stronger team, but twice late on Dillon pulled off stunning saves to prevent the Middlesex visitors snatching the win points.
A third win from four games – a 3-2 victory which ended Southampton’s unbeaten Sports Centre record – has enhanced Romsey’s prospects of points of avoiding an automatic Hampshire/Surrey Regional Division 2 relegation place.
All season long Romsey appeared doomed, but with four matches left, they are within touching distance of a miracle escape.
Just one point separates them from Camberley & Farnborough (13), who sneaked a timely win of their own, 3-2 at HAC. Romsey must win at least two of those last four games, three of which are at home and the other at basement side Hamble on Saturday week.
But the momentum is certainly with Romsey, whose came from behind to beat Southampton, courtesy of a late goal by Zac Cooper.
Romsey went close through Danny Miles and Ben Mullan before Tom Ponsford broke on the right to set up Jack Forrest-Charde for the opening goal.
Southampton’s response was immediate – James Nurse creating the chance for Rob O’Brien to equalise and send the teams in level 1-1 at the break.
After fluffing three short corners Southampton took the lead through Liam Eastwood.
But the city side were numerically weakened by a five-minute sin-bin – and Romsey cashed in.
Cooper, working tirelessly on the flank, forced a penalty corner and Miles fired a drag flick into the top corner to make it 2-2.
Even with ten men Southampton looked dangerous, having a goal disallowed as a strike was deemed to have been outside of the D.
Romsey won it in the dying embers, Miles grazing the crossbar before seeing his shot parried by the Southampton goalkeeper and Cooper steal in for the 3-2 winner.
Next up for Romsey is a visit to Hampshire Collegiate (2pm) by Andover, whose slim promotion hopes were dashed by Winchester II’s 5-3 win.
Hamble remain bottom, marooned four points adrift of safety after a predictable 7-2 defeat by table topping Croydon & Old Whitgiftians.
A goal behind within two minutes, Trojans were always playing catch up and
eventually lost 3-0 at South Premier Division 2 rivals Ashford.
Jamie Askham caught Trojans on the break for that early goal but though the
Stoneham side enjoyed most of the possession in a tightly fought first half,
they failed to create chances from open play and squandered a series of
A scrappy start to the second half saw few chances until a misplaced pass
from a penalty corner fell kindly for Ashford's Daniel Hakl to double their
Colin French went close for Trojans, a reverse stick shot clearing the
crossbar with the goalkeeper beaten, before Ashford finished the game off
with Tom Pitfield scoring from a penalty corner rebound.
The result leaves Trojans in the relegation zone two points from safety but
with a game in hand - at Purley this Sunday - over the sides above them.
A late second half goal by Rachel Rountree clinched a 1-0 win over Gloucester City for Trojans Ladies, who look set for a top five finish in the National League Women’s Western Conference.
She scored six minutes from the end to climax a successful day for the Stoneham girls whose second team beat Guildford 2-1 to maintain their South League Division 3 B promotion bid.
Sue Merry scored twice as Southampton produced arguably their best performance of the season in beating local South Women’s League Division 3B rivals Fareham 3-2.
Lifted by an early strike by Charlotte Ayres, Southampton led 2-0 at half-time with Merry scoring the first of her brace following a short corner.
Rebecca Reavell got Fareham back in the game shortly after half-time, but Merry’s second goal, created by Lou Hopkins, effectively ended the contest.
Reavell responded with a short corner second for Fareham, but it came too late.
Three goals in as many stunning first half minutes pointed Fareham towards a 5-2 win at Cheltenham – a critical result in their bid to secure their jealously protected National League status.
The win lifted Fareham (10) three points clear of the bottom side Bristol University and to within touching distance of Isca (11) and Chichester (12), the pair immediately above them in the Western Conference table.
There are now three games left, with both Fareham and Isca to play Bristol University in a dramatic finale.
Elated Fareham coach Ben Barnes said: “This performance has been coming for a number of weeks as we have been playing well but not quite able to turn it into a win.
“This result is a relief and a great boast to the squad’s confidence as we head into three absolutely crucial games.”
Fareham enjoyed a slice of luck from a blocked Cheltenham penalty corner before Rob Wilson sparked the decisive three-goal frenzy.
Alex Boxall doubled Fareham’s lead after teenager George Davey controlled an aerial pass and crossed for his captain to send a deflection past the Cheltenham ‘keeper.
With their Gloucestershire hosts all at sea, Jamie Rawlings converted a drag flick to give the visitors a 3-0 with only 13 minutes on the clock.
Soon after, elder brother Danny wasted a couple of good chances to seal the win and when Matt Cort clawed one back Cheltenham sniffed a potential comeback.
But four minutes before the interval Danny Rawlins made amends by making it 4-1.
“I was pleased for Danny, who hasn’t had much luck lately, but that fourth goal was perfectly timed,” Barnes said.
Fareham continued to control proceedings and stretched their lead from a Chris Davey short corner.
Cheltenham scored a consolation second through Craig Graham late on, but it came too little too late to affect the outcome.
Now all eyes will be focussed on the visit of stuttering Old Georgians to Henry Cort on Sunday (1.30), the Surrey side having thrashed Fareham 6-1 on the opening day of the season.
Chichester host Cheltenham, while Isca face Exeter University in a West Country derby.
Havant’s bid to regain lost National League status is gaining momentum, with their 5-0 win at Guildford coinciding with South Premier leaders Bromley & Beckenham losing 3-1 at lowly Banbury.
Welcome to Vimps at the Hockey
Powered by Cricket-Hockey.com, the hockey equipment specialists in Downton, Salisbury