Fareham are facing the biggest ‘must-win’ game in their long history at Henry Cort tomorrow (12.30pm).
Quite simply, they must beat midlanders Harborne in the first of their Conference relegation play-off matches or face the drop back into Premier South League hockey next season.
No other result is possible after Harborne’s 5-2 win over St Albans, the other club in the relegation mix, in Birmingham last weekend.
‘If we lose to Harborne, they’ll be safe and we’ll be down,’ said Fareham head coach Nigel Cook.
‘But I’m confident we will be okay as we’ve the talent to beat them and St Albans. We keep saying we shouldn’t be in the mess we’re in, but we’ve got ourselves in it and have to get ourselves out of it.’
Fareham go into the play-off showdown in confident mood after beating University of Birmingham and Whitchurch in their last two Conference West games.
‘They were good sides we beat and the results gave us a real lift,’ said Cook.
Fareham warmed up for Harborne with a comfortable 4-0 win over Bournemouth – a result which puts them into a May Day Hampshire Cup final against Havant after they beat Winchester 4-0 on Wednesday night.
Craig Peel, John Grice and South African teenager Ryan Lees gave Fareham a 3-0 interval lead, which James Seager improved after the break.