IT’S crunch time for Salisbury in the South Hockey League Hampshire/Surrey Regional Division 2 survival stakes, with Romsey's visit to Bemerton on Saturday (2.30pm) a critical fixture.
It's a match Salisbury Men’s first team have to win to avoid being sucked into a potentially frenetic finale to the season.
Fresh from a James Hayward inspired 4-3 win at City of Portsmouth, Salisbury lie third from bottom of the log - four points clear of last-placed Haslemere, who head across Pepperbox Hill in two weeks time.
Salisbury will be without their talismanic captain, Tom Morton for the last four games of the season as he’s gone overseas on business.
Morton left on a winning note - Hayward's no frills treble giving them a vital victory.
T h e f or me r S o u t h W i l t s c r i c k e t c a p t a i n b a r e l y broke a sweat, but picked off the P o r t s m o u t h defence by converting two first half chances.
Salisbury's two-goal cushion was trimmed when Dan Clayton deflected a shot from City's Ben Hodges into his own goal.
Po r t s m o u t h upped their game after the break but, having put Salisbury u n d e r s i g n i f i - c a n t pressure, w e r e i n s p i red by a magical Ollie Budniak, pictured, goal.
He picked the ball up outside the attacking 23 and ran past a couple of defenders, rounded the keeper and then placed the ball in the goal with a neat reverse stick flick.
Alas, Salisbury's 3-1 lead didn't last long.
Adam Payne's penalty corner conversion got City back into the contest but Hayward's hat-trick goal ten minutes from time put Salisbury 4-2 in front.
Salisbury were reduced to ten men when Rob Selbie saw yellow and, when Hodges scrambled home a penalty corner, the hosts had some hectic defending to do before the win points were assured.
In junior hockey, the under 18 boys enjoyed an unanswered six-goal rout over Yately in The Easterbrook Cup quarter final.
Hugo Lyons’ brace, Johnny Bishop, Will Garston, Nick Easterbrook, Jacomb Hansford and a penalty flick from Henry Emmett set-up a semi-final clash with Trojans.
Under 14 girls are also having a good run in the cup following a 9-1 win against Fareham in the Hampshire Cup quarter final. Hat-tricks from Emily Tucker and skipper Amelia Fortesque captured the victory.
Meanwhile, the under 12 boys beat Trojans 2-0, under 12 girls drew 2-2 with Bournemouth and the under 12 boys Hawks fell to a heavy 1-7 defeat at the hands of Bournemouth.