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Hockey ace aims to go out with a bang
8:00am Wednesday 6th March 2013 in Sport
GOAL machine Stuart Tognarelli plans to go out in a blaze of glory when Winchester face Trojans at Kings’ School on Saturday (1.30pm).
It is a match which will have a significant bearing on the outcome of the South League Hampshire/Surrey Regional Division 2 championship.
It’s Tognarelli’s last match of the season – and possibly his last in Winchester’s colours, even though – like Trojans – the city club are already certain of promotion.
Tognarelli, right, is set to undergo surgery on a shoulder injury next week and will be sidelined for the remainder of what has been a wonderful winter season for the club.
The Army marksman has scored over 70 goals in all hockey this season – nine of them at the weekend, when Winchester thrashed Trinity MidWhitgiftians 9-1 and then buried Camberley & Farnborough 5-1 to reach England Hockey’s Vase semi-finals.
Scoring feats He scored all five goals in that Vase win – a result which sees Winchester travel north to Yorkshire to play Richmond at the semi-final stage.
Tognarelli’s goalscoring feats haven’t gone unnoticed elsewhere and Western Conference duo Guildford and Havant are rumoured to be among the clubs keen to lure him away to a higher standard next season.
The second Winchester-Trojans showdown of the season – the first at Stoneham Lane ended 2-2 – sees the division’s 88-goal leading scorers face the side with the meanest defence.
The pair are locked on 47 points at the top, with Trojans having a match in hand – at Basingstoke.
Winchester could be without front man Eric Woodward (hamstring) and the experienced Chris Jackson, but are still capable of packing a punch – as the weekend’s 14-goal fest underlines.
They invariably win their matches amid a flood of goals, whereas Trojans get through by the odd goal most of the time.
The championship won’t be decided on Saturday, irrespective of who wins.
If it’s Winchester, then the odds will be stacked heavily on the city club being crowned kings as their goal difference is massive compared with Trojans.
But, should Trojans win or draw, they will be favourites – assuming they don’t slip up during the run-in.
Winchester were at their ruthless and efficient best, converting seven of the eight scoring opportunities they created against relegated Trinity MidWhitgiftians at Kings’.
Predictably, Tognarelli bagged three of those goals, with Jon Saltmarsh (2), Stuart Swift and Robbie Craddock joining him on the scoresheet.
Stunning strikes Craddock and Tognarelli completed the rout in the second half.
With Hamble losing 4-3 to the Bank of England, the victory clinched a long expected promotion for Winchester – just 12 months after they had suffered the disappointment of relegation from Regional Division 1.
With a Vase quarter-final tie against an in-form Camberley & Farnborough 24 hours later, there was little time for Winchester to celebrate their promotion triumph.
It was just as well they didn’t because, for 45 minutes, Camberley gave Winchester a real run for their money – before Tognarelli blew them away with a series of stunning strikes.