A big local derby kicked off Haslemere first warm up game of the 2004/5 season on the club day against recently promoted local rivals Aldershot and Farnham who turned out with a well-drilled squad. The game proved a close contest and a difficult first test for the home side in front of a crowd of over 70.
Both sides played some delightful attacking hockey in patches with Haslemere taking the lead through Nick Gay with a disguised drag flick from the third of a series of Haslemere short corner. But Aldershot and Farnham dominated the rest of the first half scoring three goals in the next 18 minutes of play through quick breakaway hockey and a holes in the Haslemere midfield that looked like it was still on summer holiday.
A reshuffle at half time and good legwork from both Clarke and Allis turned the midfield around, with Travlos covering yards on the right hand side and showing some delightful stick work. Haslemere drew level within 13 minutes of the half time break with two well-worked goals from Allis and Gay. A&F dug in deep and came back later in the second half but could not penetrate the Haslemere back line. Particular mention should be made for the veteran pair of Stokes and Mason who made some crucial tackles at this point to keep the scores level. In to the last quarter and both sides were searching for the winner – it came up on Haslemere’s side with 5 minutes to go as a reaction finish from Stopher low past the keepers left hand post broke the deadlock.
With players returning over the next couple of weeks Haslemere enter the new season with confidence of pushing for promotion.