We've only been going for 9 days but a lot has been going on this week with all 6 teams tasting action (U16s and U18s still waiting for their first competitive action still). Time for a re-cap:
The season opened for the club with Calne Town the visitors to the County Ground for the Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Cup...dreams of Wembley! .The match report can be found a few news reports down or in the Information Section you can now find copies of the Matchday programmes for other bits and pieces. The Lilywhites, after putting up a good fight were despatched back to Wiltshire (3-0) with their own dream shattered for another year which meant the 1st team now travel to Hartley Wintney for the Preliminary Round on Saturday 12th. Many thanks for all the support with a crowd of 139 recorded on a Tuesday evening!
With the FA Cup put to the back of the mind for 11 days, the Wessex League Premier season kicked off on Saturday 5th with a local derby against Christchurch. As was expected against a team lying 4th when the previous season was curtailed, a tough match was fought out with the breeze helping to ensure a puntastic game of 2 halves and a fair result of a 1-1 draw. A solid opening to the league season and again, amazing support with an attendance of 181. Thank you!
The games are going to come thick and fast this year and only 3 days later, the Hammers had the short trip to Bashley to contend with. The Bash had opened their season with a 2-1 victory down on Portland so must have been confident of getting something from the game. After a frenetic opening 10 minutes, the Hammers nosed ahead after a defensive error lead Dan Cann to go through 1 on 1 with the keeper and made no mistake. Soon after, the Hammers made it 2 after a good interchange near the box between Cann and Buckley fed young Cam Munn who finished well into the corner. Hamworthy were in control and went into the break 2 to the good. Just like the Saturday game, the opponents came out quick and although mounted pressure there weren't too many moments where they looked like scoring. A good save from Shane Murphy and some help from the post were Bashley's best hopes. With time running out, Cann pounced on another error and finished assuredly to confirm the 3 points were returning to Dorset. 4 points from the opening 2 games and the Hammers are sat 4th at time of writing. Manager Tim Sills pleased with the first week's work, though the amount of games already playing it's part with a few niggly injuries around.
With the 1st team at home, the Development side took to the road and travelled to Fareham Town to open their own league campaign. In pre-season friendlies, the Reserves have sometimes been slow to get going and reading the match report from the home side, it seems the same happened again with Fareham notching up 6 goals in the first half. The 2nd half was played out as a 1-1 draw with Jamie Kemp scoring the solitary Hammers goal on 75 minutes with an assist from Joe Wearden. Sadly the club's first red card of the season was picked up too with Joss Holford receiving 2 yellow cards.
Next up and hoping for a better performance is a fixture at the County Ground on Saturday 12th against Bemerton Heath Harlequins Reserves who themselves opened their season with a win. If you can't make the 1st team FA Cup game, pop on down to the ground to support the Reserves (£4 adults and £3 concessions, children U16 free with an adult), it will be much appreciated and the bar will be open.
On Wednesday evening, it was the turn of the new Under 23 side to take their bow. Like the 1st team, they opened up their campaign against local rivals Christchurch this time away and it tuned out to be a good game for Hammers fans and neutrals alike with Hamworthy edging the Church by the odd goal in 5. After being 2-1 down, the team performed very well to score 2 unanswered goals and take the 3 points. Hammers goalscorers on the night were, Tom Green, Joseph Robinson and Alex Rose. Hamworthy's goalkeeper also saved a penalty earlier in the game so some positives to be taken for sure.
The Under 18s were due to play their opening Bankes Cup match last Saturday but the match was unfortunately cancelled. This meant no game before the lads take on Gosport Borough in the FA Youth Cup this Sunday (13th) down at the County Ground. £3 for Adults and £2 for Concessions and usual rule for U16s, so come on down and support the Hammers future. Kick off is at 12:15pm and the Club will be open though not sure Roasts are on the menu! Good luck!!
The following Sunday, they start their league campaign away to Dorchester Town in a 2pm kick off.
Being the odd team out in the league on the opening day is never fun and with a Bye in the League Cup 1st round, the Under 16s are having to wait until Sunday 20th for their first league match away at Weymouth Cougars.
In the meantime, they continued their warm up with a friendly against Poole Town U16s at Ferndown Sports Centre last Sunday. Manager Shaun Clarke writes:
"Poole town kicked off and the first 10 minutes was quiet with no one really taking control of the game. Our 1st chance fell to Remus Nixon sticking a free kick just over the bar and we tested their goalkeeper a few more times with our best chance of the 1st half falling to Adam Tiller. Unmarked in the box he put his header straight at the keeper. The 2nd half was like the 1st, slow to get going and Poole Town had a few chances to open the scoring with runs in behind. Jack Clarke went close with a great turn on the edge of the box and again his shot was saved by the Poole Town goalkeeper. On 70 mins the breakthrough came from an Adam Tiller corner. The Hammers went 1-0 up, with it going in off of a Poole Town defender. Within minutes Poole Town drew level. From the kick off, a long hopeful ball was not cleared by us and but was chased down by a Poole Town striker who squared for them to tap in to an empty net. A couple more chances came and went in the last few minutes, but the game ended all square"
Last but not least, the Under 14s. This team are new to the club this season and had an end of 2019/20 presentation night at the Clubhouse which was attended by former Premier League striker Kevin Davies (also an England International)! They didn't have to sit out the opening weekend and instead travelled to Bournemouth Poppies in search of 3 points. The returned with all 3 too with a comprehensive 5-1 victory. Brandon Williams led the scoring with an opening day hat-trick ably assisted by a goal from Declan Musendo and an own goal.
This weekend, they make up part of the Hammers Sunday Double Header with a League Cup match against Shaftesbury Town. So if you can't go without your Sunday lunch roast and miss the Under 18s, why not pop down for the 4:30ko and support the youngest of the Hamworthy Family (free entry and bar WILL be open)!
That about wraps up a very busy first 9 days of the season.
Take care and stay safe everyone.
When visiting the County Ground, please follow all the COVID rules and guidance and respect the staff when asked to move or be seated and remember, inside the ground is NON SMOKING.