Winchester 1st XI 3-1 Southampton University 1st XI

Winchester hosted Southampton Uni knowing that three points would separate the top two teams by six points with just five games to go, writes Nick Clarke. 

The undefeated uni team came to King’s full of confidence and so it was vital Winchester started strong.

The game started fast with the university setting the tempo with some quick counter attacks and some sharp wing play. Some new additions added some vital experience to get Winchester to settle into game. Both teams creating only a handful of chances in the first half. 

Half time came and the scorers were yet to be troubled, meaning that an important message was needed from the fully kitted coach Ben Hibberd. 

From the off Winchester continued to be positive and that finally paid off - an inception at back fed the energetic Rob Craddock who linked up nicely with Molloy for a simple tap in to make the score 1-0. University were pushing for the reply and this brought the best out of Ally Birch in goal, making a string of top quality saves keeping the score in favour of Winchester.

University did make a breakthrough from rare Mark Maunsell mistake, led to an easy back post tap in, making it 1-1. This seemed to spur on and it wasn’t long until they were back in front. Another great team goal leading to a fantastic finish from Colin French on his reverse to slot home in the bottom corner. 

With the confidence flowing Winchester continued to push for more. Some standout performances from Kieran Molloy and Rory Jack helped Winch unlock the University back line time and time again, giving the home side a series of Penalty corners. After some confusion and short term memory loss from skipper Maunsell, our final flick was left to Adam Major, he slotted home in the bottom right corner (aiming at the left side) fooling everyone on the pitch including himself. 

This rounded out a massive win for the club to firm up first place in the league and to end the unbeaten run of the university. The team travel to Trojans next week to continue the momentum for the final five games of the season.