Clifton Robinsons were on the road for their 3rd fixture in the England Hockey National West league and faced Fareham HC who are yet to beat Robinsons at their home ground this decade.

Clifton were unbeaten and looking to continue their run of fine form to show their dominance of the league. The Blues started the game with intensity and grit showing promise as Nick Robiliard broke through the defence, his eyes lighting up for the potential to score his first goal of the season. It seemed to be a clear opportunity of a 1V1 with the Fareham keeper only to be held up by a backtracking defender.

The game was end to end and unfortunately for Robbies, Fareham finished the quarter 1 goal to the good with a neat breakaway goal.

Coach David Hacker Identified the lack of speed in the Fareham defence and devised a plan to capitalise on this. Clifton then dominated Q2 and Q3 with a smart baseline run from Bill Springett, wobbling through the Fareham defence and feeding newcomer and top goalscorer Isaac Hocking who scored from 1 yard out; a vital touch to level the game.

The game remained close until the 61st minute when last season’s Player of the Season, Top Goalscorer and author of this report Micah Smithard showed his class with a delicate touch to deflect the ball over the Fareham keeper’s pads. 2-1 Clifton Robinsons with 9 minutes to go. A defensive masterclass from Scott Davidson, Quin Turner and Sam Stevens helped Clifton seal the game and take 3 more points off the South Coast team. The Robbies are now joint top of the league and host Chichester in their next fixture at Clifton College.

Micah Smithard

Alex Kirkpatrick

Probably on the physio table