Fareham ladies have had to make wholesale changes from the squad which won promotion to South Women’s League Division 2 following last season’s Division 3B championship triumph.
They were without six of that title winning side and, with seven teenagers in the team, they only lost 2-1 at Oxford Hawks to a goal two minutes from time.
They took a second half lead through Vicky Field, but Hawks clawed it back to win through goals by Jess Upjohn and Annabelle Gulliver
Jo Faulkner and Laura Pendleton have stepped down from 1st XI hockey, last season’s skipper Lydia Rosewell has moved to London to work, and Georgia Collins and Sophie Raymond have gone to university.
In addition, last season’s top scorer Heather Batten is currently out with an ankle injury and Rebecca Reavell was unavailable for the season-opener. Both should be back for Saturday’s visit of 2019/20 Division 3A winners Harrow to Henry Cort, 11.45.
‘We had a very young team,’ said Lemon. ‘There were seven teenagers, including three making their debuts.’
Four of those were under 16, including 14-year-old debutants Hannah Ward and Anya Middleton.
‘Whilst disappointing that we conceded the winning goal late on, this is outweighed by the positives we can take from the game and the encouragement it can give us as we look ahead to the rest of the season,’ Lemon added.
‘We will be a much better side later in the campaign as we get used to a new league, new teammates and new positions, but the progress we have made since the start of pre-season is encouraging.
‘The aim is just to consolidate this season and then look to build. We don’t know any of the teams in our league, it’s a whole new ball game.’
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