Winchester suffered probably their heaviest ever defeat when unbeaten South League Premier Division leaders Guildford crushed them 10-2 at Broadwater – ironically after the ancient capital city side had led 1-0 !
Ross Fergusson notched a double hat-trick as Guildford swept to a sixth straight win to enhance their positions as favourites to repeat last season’s title triumph.
All started optimistically for the visitors as Winchester forced their way into the opposition "D" and Ben Hibberd slammed home from the edge of the area.
They knew there would be a response, but centre backs Harry Trussler and James Pauley held firm, at least for a few minutes.
Then the retaliation came swiftly in three quick counter-punches. Firstly a well-worded penalty corner, then a long through ball to the unmarked Ferguson and then a brilliant deflection from a narrow angle. Winchester had had barely time to draw breath between them.
Keeper Ally Birch then made a great save (applauded by a large home crowd) to keep Winchester alive and enabling the visitors to gain some composure in the lead up to half time and continued to create their own chances.
However, Guildford's fourth came shortly before the break and effectively put the game out of reach as the Winchester defence needed on-too-many touches to clear to safety and paid the ultimate price. The last play of the half saw Kent Langridge's effort cleared off the line by a Guildford defender. Half-time Guildford 4 Winchester 1.
The second period was one to forget for Winchester, who tried throughout to frustrate Guildford's superior ball possession and passing accuracy but were hit relentlessly with a succession of goals.
The first a dribbling effort that just made it over the line, then a powerful drag flick, then a penalty stroke, then a well worked open play effort from the left flank.
Todd Hutcheson gave Winchester some cheer as he fired home from Luke Whittome's cross to make it 8-2, but late goals, one a solo effort rounding full back and keeper and a final penalty corner drag flick took them into double figures.
George Harris's young team is still developing and would have learned much from this game in which they continued to try to play decent hockey throughout.
However, next they are faced with a second successive away game against second placed Indian Gymkhana, who nailed Trojans to the bottom with a 5-w win at Stoneham Lane, where Alex Odoine scored four times. Matty Bell and Scott Summers were on target for struggling Trojans.
In Hampshire/Surrey Regional 1, Fareham were thumped 9-0 by leaders Barnes and lie on the league basement with one solitary win from six outings.
Basingstoke, in contrast, are second after a 5-2 win over Oxted with goals from Andy Pett (2), Ben Jubin, Dean Record, and Phil Stewart.
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