US vs Havant
Game 1 of the new season kicked off with a grudge match against Havant 3s. Spirits were high as US trialled a new system with some new positions.
US won the toss and opted to swap ends. Havant started the game and US pressed through with intent.
During the first half the new system proved effective, and US had loads of opportunities. A spell of link up play and possession led to a dangerous attack, which resulted in the first penalty corner of the season. A quick huddle to decide the routine. Straight from the training ground Callum Stoyles took charge of the strike from the top, hit low and hard, which struck the post and fell kindly to Tom Singleton for a simple tap in. 1-0 US.
Havant responded quickly with a break on the left hand side which left US short in defence. Havant managed to beat Gumpey back post with a pass to the free man. 1-1
Soon after, another US break resulted in the second short corner for US. “If it’s not broken don’t fix it” was the suggestion from the captain, so once again Callum stepped up and hit from the top. A fortunate bounce caught the keeper off guard, and bounced over the line below the backboard. 2-1 half time.
Lots of positives in the first half, and a Havant side needing to change their tactics to overcome a threatening US team. The second half started in the same fashion as the first half ended, fast paced and physical.
The main difference in the second half was fitness. US began to tire, and Havant took advantage with additional substitutions on the bench and younger wingers, who used their pace difference to their advantage.
Despite some threatening attacking hockey from US we couldn’t convert any chances in the second half, and were beaten on the counter attack on multiple occasions.
The final score was 7-2 Havant. US gave it their all, but it wasn’t to be.
Mom - Lewis Cartmell - debut as a centre back.
Tim - double fitness on Thursday for anyone holding a hockey stick.
Callum - I did 12km today lads, wanna see my heat map?
Angus - did you know I’m sponsored this year?
Gus - I wonder how much longer I can blag this injury for?
Fareham 5 Vs USPHC Men’s 2
With two US goal keepers on the pitch, one ex goal keep starting up front and a goal keeper in the stands the debut of George Hopkins was set to be heavily scrutinised.
First win of the day went to US who won their first toss of the season . Early pressure resulted in the first shot on target from Ben Organ resulting in a solid save from the Fareham keeper.
A tight 8 minutes resulted in the first green card of the season to James Gisbonre for “accidentally” hitting the ball away.
First defensive error resulted in Fareham going 1 up. But with positivity and encouragement US rallied and took the attack to Fareham with good
solid build up play.
Drama as the Fareham sniper appeared and sent Reece Sherman tumbling on a dry, flat, nice pitch. The inversion to the ankle causing a mixture of Fareham and US players to look away in horror. Luckily, he recovered quickly.
It then became the George Hopkins show, who time and time again stood solid against the fresh faced youth of Fareham. Entering half time at 3-0 to Fareham US looked and found plenty of positives.
Second half started as much as the first finished, with George Hopkins standing fast, flexible and mobile all at the same time to push Fareham back.
With cries of “call that a shot” he took the opportunity to head the ball away!
However, it wasn’t meant to be and after using the back of the stick to control the ball, then the front to hit the ball Fareham scored their sixth and final goal.
Happily after this every marginal decision went US’s way as both teams used the remaining ten minutes for phys.
Final score 6-0
MoM - George “the wall” Hopkins
Max “the Alice band” Evans who was a close runner up for MoM with some tidy defending