Fareham feeling Super after 6s qualification

Ben Hibberd was Fareham's top scorer in Eastleigh Picture: Mick Young
Ben Hibberd was Fareham's top scorer in Eastleigh Picture: Mick Young
Luke Cornish snatched Fareham a point at Olton

Cornish grabs Fareham a point in thrilling game at Olton

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It was a job well done for Fareham in the opening weekend of the indoor hockey season, after they qualified for the national division two round of the competition.

Ben Barnes’ side finished second in the Men’s Indoor Super 6s division two south table following a hectic round of fixtures at Fleming Park, Eastleigh at the weekend.

Fareham played Indian Gymkhana, Cheltenham, Ashmoor, Ashford (Middx) and Teddington, winning three and drawing one of their matches.

Barnes, the club’s performance director, said: ‘I’m pleased we qualified. It’s always a bit up and down in the first weekend of the competition.

‘Everyone’s a bit rusty and tends to be a bit inconsistent. That was the case with us.’

Fareham won the first game 6-4 against Ashford but Barnes said it was a case of getting used to the pitch.

Despite not playing their best, they came away with an important three points, which set them up for the rest of the weekend.

The second game, against Teddington, saw an improved performance with an 11-5 win, but it was marred by a serious injury.

‘We played much better against Teddington, we moved the ball around better and were more compact,’ said Barnes.

‘The chances that we weren’t putting away first time round, we scored from, so that was key.’

Goalkeeper Rory Kemp had to be taken to Southampton General Hospital with neck and back injuries following a collision with a Teddington player.

‘There was nothing malicious, it was a complete accident,’ added Barnes.

‘It took an hour for the paramedics to get him off the pitch so the game was delayed. He was in a neck brace at Southampton. We wish him a speedy recovery.’

For indoors, clubs are allowed to register two players from other clubs, so Fareham have brought in Winchester goalkeeper Ed Heathcock as a replacement.

Fareham began Sunday’s programme with a narrow 8-6 defeat to Indian Gymkhana, but they followed it up with a 7-5 win over Cheltenham.

They finished with a thrilling 6-6 draw with Ashmoor to ensure their qualification.

The national league side were actually 5-1 up but Ashmoor stormed back and grabbed an equaliser with 30 seconds remaining.

Ben Hibberd was the side’s top scorer with 12 goals over the weekend, and there were also notable performances by Nathan Palmer in defence and James Seager in midfield.

Now Barnes has set his sights on qualifying for division one.

He said: ‘The goal was to qualify. It was a tough weekend but we will regroup in two weeks’ time.

‘I think we can have a proper go at it now we know what it’s all about.

‘We didn’t have the numbers last year but everyone will be available this time so we’re looking to be in the top two and qualify for division one.’