Fareham looking for home comforts to help with flying start to play-off campaign
Fareham have been presented with an ideal opportunity to get their England Hockey League division one play-off campaign off to a winning start.
Paired with Preston and City of Peterborough, Fareham get home advantage first off – with northern conference side Preston making the 260-mile trip down to Henry Cort on Sunday, 1.30pm.
On the face of it and if recent results are to count for anything, Fareham will start firm favourites, writes Mike Vimpany.
They clinched the seventh play-off spot by winning four of their final five conference west matches, Niall Stott’s brace securing a 2-0 win over Oxford Hawks last weekend.
Preston, in contrast, won only one of their closing seven games in the Northern League.
But Peterborough, whom Fareham visit on Saturday, April 13, are probably favourites to win the three-way play-offs.
They won five of their last six conference east matches, the other a 2-2 draw at zone champions Old Georgians, who Havant will face in the Premiership play-offs.
Fareham are without captain Alex Boxall against Preston, but otherwise are at full strength.
Fareham squad: T Mallon, J Rawlings, W Seebold, D Rawlings, R Mantell, W Penrose, M Gough, J Price, C Davey, N Stott, M Ramsay, G Davey, J Gilbert, A Bloomfield, K Paige, Z Way
Havant play their first promotion play-off match against Bowden on Sunday at the Nottingham Hockey Centre.
Meanwhile, Fareham Boys are in action in this weekend’s prestigious England Hockey Under-16 finals at Wakefield, near Leeds.
They are outsiders among some of the hockey elite, but travel to Yorkshire full of optimism after a seven-match winning run that has swept them into the national finals.
After beating Bournemouth (7-1), Haslemere (3-2), Trojans (6-1) and Winchester (5-4) to top the Wessex regional group, Fareham powered on to win all three matches in the south group at Charterhouse, where they defeated Bromley & Beckenham (3-0), Guildford (3-1) and Amersham & Chalfont (5-2).
Their quest for national glory begins against Repton School on Saturday morning and continues with an afternoon game with Canterbury.
Fareham’s third group match is against Clifton Robinsons on Sunday morning.
If they win or finish second, they will play the top sides in the group containing Bowdon, Isca, Old Loughtonians, and Surbiton.
Fareham under-16 squad: Phil Larcombe, Noah Murphy, Joe Caine, Adam Shergold, Alex Ellison, Finn Coleman, Matt Walton, Alex Beckett, Ollie Slingsby, Ed Smith, Rory Buckeridge, Soren Golding, Jay Green, Sam Ratliffe, Ollie Jameson, Fergus Jackson