Fareham keen to Cook up a storm in survival bid

Craig Peel will lead the Fareham charge in the second half of the season
Craig Peel will lead the Fareham charge in the second half of the season
The Queen talks to members of the ship's company, during the commissioning of HMS Queen Elizabeth at Portsmouth Naval Base
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Nigel Cook surveyed Fareham’s England Hockey League men’s conference west league position and declared: We can survive.

Fareham embark on the second half of their league campaign tomorrow with a home game against Team Bath Buccaneers.

The match comes over two months since the Henry Cort side last played a competitive fixture – against Reading in the National Cup.

And is a remarkable nine weeks after their last league trip up to the University of Birmingham in mid-November.

That 3-1 defeat saw Fareham drop down to eighth in the league table.

And with the locals unable to rectify the situation immediately because of the annual winter break, players, coaches and fans alike were afforded plenty of time to dwell on their current league standing.

Not that Cook, is overly concerned with his side’s current plight.

He’s confident his charges can turn their troubles around, starting with their rearranged home tie against promotion-chasing Bath.

‘We always knew it would be a tough season, being only our second in the national league,’ said Cook.

‘But, in all honesty, in most of our games this season we have created more chances than the opposition.

‘With a bit of luck in our favour, we can avoid the bottom two.’

Fareham face a tough task if they are to push themselves clear of the drop zone with immediate affect.

They haven’t won in four outings – their last being a 7-2 thumping of Stourport – while the 2009 National Cup semi-finalists have only two league wins to their name all season.

Their opponents tomorrow will be no pushovers, either.

Bath currently sit second in the league, behind leaders University of Exeter only on goal difference.

They have also won seven of their league outings to date and will go into the clash brimming with confidence.

However, Fareham’s progression to the last four of the 2009 cup shows they are capable of mixing it with the league’s so-called big boys.

They also produced a comeback of stunning proportions to draw with Havant prior to the Christmas break.

And with Cook able to call upon the services of new addition David Howes, Fareham will be keen to kick-start their push for survival.

Fourth-placed Havant, meanwhile, have to wait another week before they recommence their league campaign – against Stourport at home on February 5.

Also this weekend, United Services men’s first XI entertain Basingstoke seconds, while Portsmouth & Southsea firsts at are home to Andover II.