Fareham ready for promotion next year

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Ben Barnes insists Fareham are capable of challenging for promotion to National division one next season after missing out at the Indoor Hockey 5s Championship last weekend.

The National League conference west side finished fourth out of six teams at Whitgift School, winning two of their five games across the weekend.

Fareham’s performance director Barnes said: ‘There was a sense of frustration. We would have had a very good chance of qualifying with a full group.

‘We would have exceeded expectations if we had got promoted but it shows that next year we can challenge for the top places.

‘We know what to expect now.’

Fareham began with a 6-2 defeat to Sheffield Hallam, who finished second to go up alongside West Herts.

They also suffered a 4-2 loss to Cheltenham.

On Sunday they beat Barford Tigers 5-3 and Indian Gymkhana 6-3, with the majority of goals scored by Ben Hibberd.

Barnes’ men finished with an 8-3 defeat to unbeaten champions West Herts.

‘We ran out of steam with the games on Saturday against Cheltenham and Sheffield,’ said Barnes.

‘It was only 2-1 at half-time against Sheffield and they scored right on half-time to go into the lead.

‘They were able to out-run us in the second half and it was the same story against Cheltenham.

‘We changed our style a bit on Sunday and had a few more players back.

‘We played patiently and we kept the ball better against Barford. We played really well and even better against Indian Gymkhana.

‘We controlled both of those games.

‘West Herts were worthy winners of the division.

‘They caught us on the counter-attack in the first half.

‘But in the previous qualifiers, we showed that we can be competitive with them.

‘I was really pleased with the spirit of the players.’

A number of first-team players were missing but youngster Tom Larcombe stepped up with an impressive performance.

‘Tom Larcombe played his first senior indoor game and he did really well,’ said Barnes.

‘He didn’t look out of place at all.

‘To be able to give a youngster that kind of experience, it’s invaluable.’

Meanwhile, Fareham seconds put five goals past Southampton for the second time this season in Hampshire/Surrey division one.

Teenager Callum McInally, Chris Davey, Craig Sims, Ben Cooper and David Roach were all on the scoresheet in the emphatic victory.

Fareham Ladies followed up last week’s win over Southampton with a 4-2 victory against Wanderers in South Clubs’ Women’s League division three B.

The hosts took the lead in the first minute thanks to Vicky Field’s cool finish.

Maggie Kinder’s reverse-stick shot extended their lead on 11 minutes, before Emma Jones made it 3-0 shortly afterward.

After the half-time interval Wanderers came back to make it 3-2 and, when they looked to be pressing 
for an equaliser, Hannah Oldham was on hand to collect a rebound from another penalty corner to fire home a reserve-stick shot and secure the three points.