Daniel Sampey has loved his time at Fareham so much that he has already made plans to return next season.
The Australian arrived from Perth in October and was a key figure in Fareham’s successful campaign, which saw them finish fourth in National League conference west.
It’s by far one of the best clubs I’ve ever been at so I’m definitely coming back next yearDaniel Sampey
The 24-year-old made 13 appearances and scored 13 goals during his five-month spell and cannot wait to return to Henry Cort.
‘I’ve absolutely loved my time at Fareham,’ said Sampey.
‘It’s by far one of the best clubs I’ve ever been at so I’m definitely coming back next year.
‘The facilities here are second to none, they’ve got their own turf.
‘The boys, especially, are amazing and have made me feel very welcome, but everyone at the club has been great.
‘Everyone stays around and watches each other’s matches. It’s just a great club environment – you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.’
Fareham were struggling to stay in the division last year but turned it round this season to accrue their biggest-ever points haul in the National League – and much of that is down to the coach Ben Barnes, according to Sampey.
‘From where they were last year, I understand they were fighting relegation up until the last game. And now to be safe in fourth, it’s a big testament to Ben,’ he said.
‘You can see how much his game plan and his training have helped the boys get to where they are.
‘From my first game to now I can see an improvement as well.
‘Ben’s one of the best coaches I’ve had.’
Although Sampey has learnt a lot from playing in England, he is looking forward to returning to warmer climes Down Under.
The forward said: ‘I’ve learnt a lot more patience and to keep my temper in check on the pitch.
‘I’ve learnt to hold the ball a bit more and play around with it instead of going gung-ho like we do back home all the time.
‘Learning a different style of hockey is good but I can’t wait to actually go home, I’m sick of the cold.
‘The worst thing by far is the cold, I’ve struggled quite a bit.
‘In our game against Bath a few weeks ago, I physically couldn’t feel my hands, it was ridiculous.’
Clearly, the weather hasn’t been bad enough to rule out a return for Sampey in a few months, though.
‘I’m planning to come back next season, barring any injury back home,’ he added.
‘I can’t speak highly enough of the club and everything they’ve done for me.
‘Fareham should be the first port of call for anyone wanting to come over from Australia.’
The young forward scored for the second string last Saturday before flying to Perth the following morning.
He will be straight back into the action for Western Australia side YMCC, as they begin their new season this weekend against Guildford.
Coach Barnes said: ‘Daniel came with the right attitude and he enjoyed the club and the team.
‘His direct nature, desire to score goals and being one of the boys was so important.
‘I’d like to think the cold weather toughened him up a bit.
‘I would love him to come back to the club next season.’