Fareham turned in an impressive display to storm through to the national division two weekend of the Hockey 5s Championship.
Steve Lemon’s side booked their place alongside their northern counterparts after finishing second in the division two south competition, missing out on top spot to Indian Gymkhana only on goal difference.
That will now see them line up against the third-placed team, West Herts, as well as Cheltenham, Sheffield Hallam and Barford Tigers at Whitgift School at the end of the month, when two places are up for grabs in division one.
And as well as pushing their indoor quest for honours, Lemon believes it will give his side some extra momentum when they restart their outdoor campaign.
The Fareham coach said: ‘It’s always been something we wanted to get into.
‘The National League breaks for the indoor season.
‘But we think it’s a great sharpener and keeps the guys in good form for the outdoor season, which is always our priority.
‘We had 12 of the squad out over the weekend.
‘It was four-a-side but they are high-scoring games and it’s pretty frantic.
‘Our aim was to qualify and we achieved that.
‘Now if we finish in the top two, we will be promoted to division one.
‘It will be tough but it should be a really close competition.
‘I don’t think there will be too much to choose between the six sides.’
After opening up with a narrow 11-9 defeat to West Herts, Fareham then hit back with a hard-earned 5-4 success over Hampstead & Westminster on the Saturday at Fleming Park in Eastleigh.
And they enjoyed an unbeaten run on the Sunday, with a 9-0 win over Trojans, a 7-6 victory over St Albans and a 7-4 success against Indian Gymkhana.
It wasn’t quite enough to overhaul their rivals on goal difference, with the two clubs locked together on 12 points.
Lemon said: ‘It was a good all-round team effort.
‘But our stand-out performer was probably Rory Kemp who stepped in and did a brilliant job in goal after George Harris picked up a groin injury in the first game.’