They came, they saw, they conquered.
With an undefeated season in their belts already, the mens 1XI travelled to Basingstoke HC with one goal in their mind – win the 1XI trophy.
The game started, the island pressed hard and in no time at all, they won themselves a short corner. A fast ball to the top of the D allowed Aaron Hoare to launch his ever-powerful dragflick top right into the net.
Still pressing, a sideline ball from Samual Challis found Adam Payne who drove into the D. Scrappy tackles and desperate defending saw Payne hit a Romsey foot and the island win another short corner. This time Hoare slipped the ball left. Sadly, the resounding sound of ball hitting post kept the score 1-0.
Romsey succumbed to blow after blow from the island’s attack. Tom Turney narrowly missed a well-aimed aerial pass from Hoare, but his pace and intent, plus a reverse shot from Samual Challis made the Romsey defence sweat. Payne almost added to the scoreline after a straight ball to the top of the D from Stuart Allen. Romsey had their fair share of opportunities, breaking up the midfield, but were kept out by the stalwart defence of Ethan Edmunds-Lamb, Lewis Heaven-Gandy, Allen and Patrick Butt. End to end play led to a long corner awarded to the island, after a scrappy moment in the D between Hoare, Henry Edwards and the opposition defence. Taking the chance to drive the ball into the D, Payne tactically won a short corner. Stephen Woodford injected to Hoare, who expertly beat the keeper with a rocket drag-flick, putting the island up 2-0.
Island keeper Tom Speer dove into action, after a clear ball through the middle, led to a 1-on-1 with a Romsey forward. The ball was cleared, but moments later, a short corner ball bobbled into the goal. Romsey were fighting back. A green card for Hoare put the island numbers down to 10 for the next couple of minutes, meaning they sat deep and held their own against the Romsey press.
Halftime came and went and it was all the play for in the second half. Precision passing in a triangle formation between Challis, Edwards and Payne, saw the island tear up the oppositions half and the whistle signalled for a short corner. Sadly, the experienced Romsey keeper kept this, and two more in quick succession out. After fantastic 3-D skills and a tip over GK Speer, Romsey equalised and the game grew even more tense.
With a coach full of supporters on the sidelines, the island dug-deep, giving all they had and pushed the opposition back into their own half. Despite a quick succession of short corners, in which the Romsey defence read Hoare’s drag-flick attempts well, the island won another short corner. This time they changed tactics and a short slip right allowed Payne to put the island ahead. With minutes to go, Romsey hit back and won themselves a short corner, but couldn’t convert. Managing the clock, the island sealed the win with possessional play.
A fantastic display of hockey to finish the 21/22 season.
Commiserations to Romsey, as they certainly did not make it an easy win.
Final score: Romsey 2 – Isle of Wight men’s 1XI 3
Goals from: Aaron Hoare (2) and Adam Payne (1).
Wightlink Player of the Match: Aaron Hoare
IOWHC Men's 1st XI Trophy Winners
From left to right: Alex Breach, Ethan Edmunds-Lamb, Henry Edwards, Carl Joyce, Sam Challis, Adam Payne, Tom Turney, Aaron Hoare, Will Mew, Stuart Allen (kneeling), Steven Woodford, Lewis Heaven-Gandy, Patrick Butt, Tomas Turjanica, Tom Young, Tom Speer