Locks Heath boss Dave Fuge hoping for better squad commitment in 2022/23 after reaching Hampshire Premier League Cup final with victory over Moneyfields

Locks Heath boss Dave Fuge admits reaching the Hampshire Premier League Cup final has helped gloss over a disappointing league campaign.

By Simon Carter
Thursday, 31st March 2022, 11:40 am
Locks Heath's Jamie Hall, right, was playing only his second game last night after five months out with a knee injury.

Picture: Keith Woodland
Locks Heath's Jamie Hall, right, was playing only his second game last night after five months out with a knee injury. Picture: Keith Woodland

Locks claimed a 4-3 victory over Moneyfields at Fareham’s Cams Alders last night, shattering Moneys’ double hopes in the process.

For the second season running, Locks are through to the final. Last season, in the post-lockdown L4 Teamwear Challenge Cup, they lost 2-1 to Bush Hill at Westleigh Park. ]

Now they face Sway at Winchester City FC on May 7 aiming to win the club’s first HPL silverware since Fuge guided them to the title in 2012/13 in his first spell in charge.

Locks led 3-0 after 34 minutes last night before Moneys netted twice before the interval.

Ryan Bath’s early second half penalty eased any Locks nerves, and they held on even after Moneys had grabbed a third.

‘At 3-0 I thought we were going to take them apart,’ said Fuge. ‘But two failed clearances made for a completely different team talk. At 3-0 up, it would have a different chat.

‘We dug deep in the second half, we worked hard, they all did themselves proud.

‘It was a really good result, and it shows what we can do when we have a strong side out.

‘We’ve beaten all the top teams this season - Denmead, we’ve beaten Moneyfields twice, Stockbridge, Fleetlands.

‘We’ve struggled with player availability for a few weeks, but it’s funny how availability is good for a cup semi-final at a Wessex League ground!’

Locks’ starting XI last night was as strong as they have fielded all season.

Only six of the XI started the recent 2-0 league loss to Fleetlands, while only four started a 1-1 draw with Winchester Castle last month.

One player who has returned to action recently is centre half Jamie Hall, who was playing only his second game in five months last night after a knee injury.

Locks slipped down to fourth in the Senior Division last season and will drop further if Colden Common and Stockbridge win their games in hand.

‘I’m not overly happy with the league table,’ declared Fuge. ‘We’ve slipped away a bit due to player availability.

‘That was our team talk last night - the league’s out of our hands, let’s try and reach a cup final.

‘It’s a Hampshire League commitment mentality … at the next level commitment is better, which is better for the coaches and managers.

‘When we played Fleetlands recently, we had nine players out and lost convincingly.

‘If player commitment improves next season, we could have a chance of winning the league and a cup.’