Hampshire Open League Division Six – 4th place
The Retros finished bottom of their division last year and were relegated to Hampshire Open League Division 6. Things could only get better!
We did indeed get off to a good start. Two solids wins at home took us to dizzying nose bleed heights in the table (2nd) before our first of 4 away trips to Dorset took us back down a peg or two. We were to remain strong at home for the rest of the season, only losing 2 games and winning all the rest.
The table eventually split into 3 mini leagues. The top 2 teams pulled away, and the bottom 3 teams (all hit by penalties for conceding games) never got going leaving the 6 teams in the middle to scrap it out for 3rd with only 6 points between 3rd and 7th for most of the season.
Retros had a poor run of 4 losses after Christmas which dragged us down to the bottom of this pack but picked up again as the ski season tailed off and managed to put together a couple of wins and a draw to be back in the hunt for 4th.
Lack of availability hit all the teams this year, but we managed to field 11 men for all the games except for a very creditable 2-1 loss at Trojans with only 9 men.
The last game of the season was against Hamble. They had been relegated with us in second last position after leap-frogging us by beating us in a rearranged game at the end of last season. So we were out for revenge. I’m glad to report that revenge was achieved with the retiring captain scoring his 2nd league goal for the club in 12 years to take the game 2-1. 4th place gave me a very happy end to my tenure as captain!
Honourable mentions go to perennial top scorer Tim Smaldon, ever reliable rookie goalie Ollie Ringrow and super ump Turbo. I’d also like to thank Laz (who managed to get replacement goalies for the 2 games where Ollie wasn’t available), everyone (and there were quite a few) who umpired for us during the season and Mags, Duncan and Steve Howells who managed to not steal too many players from me too frequently in trying circumstances and did manage to help out on occasion when I was short as well, Johnny who provided ever cheerful leadership and all the Retros for putting up with my abysmal pre-match and half time talks!
11 go mad in Dorset!
The Retros had the first of their monthly trips to Dorset and did very well to come away with a narrow 3-1 defeat against the league leaders Swanage & Wareham. The half term traffic on the M3, M27 and A31 gave additional delight on the journey and caused half the team to arrive late! The game kicked off in fantastically bright and sunny weather with a really beautiful back drop of the Purbeck Hills. Unfortunately, Swanage & Wareham were a well organised team and took advantage of Reading’s unsettled back four to quickly take a two goal lead. The first stemmed from a poor hit out and the second from a good ball in from the goal line. Not receiving a shout from his defence Ollie ‘Paul Robinson’ Ringrow managed to parry the cross nicely on to the stick on the approaching forward. 2-0! Reading started to find their feet and managed to put together some nice passing hockey but with no reward. Some more good play from Swanage saw them take a three goal lead and left the Reading defence nervously remembering when they visited the Isle of Purbeck Sports Centre a few years back. Half time couldn’t have come soon enough! A few tactical changes at half time saw a more solid Reading defence and despite constant pressure Swanage found it difficult to break through. When they did, the superb Ollie Ringrow was an equal match. With tens minutes remaining the Retros on fire striker Tim Smaldon scored his fourth of the season and made the score line look more respectable.Overall it was a good team performance on what was a difficult fixture!