A LEWIS Birch hat-trick which set up a 4-2 win at Bemerton has eased Romsey’s relegation worries, but left Salisbury one place off the bottom of Hampshire/Surrey Regional Division 2.

His treble increased Romsey’s recent points haul to 13 from the last six matches and lifted the Abbeymen five clear of bottom club Haslemere, whose visit to Salisbury on Saturday week (2.30pm) is likely to be decisive.

Both clubs have tasted promotion successes in recent seasons – Romsey repeatedly so – but with influential skipper Tom Morton departed overseas, there appears to be a worrying sniff of lethargy in the Salisbury ranks.

Romsey certainly had their winning desire at Wilton Road, where Salisbury’s main – and only – threat came from penalty corner situations.

Rory MacTaggart gave Salisbury the lead from one such position, but Joe Welch quickly cancelled the advantage out with an identical drag flick equaliser.

Lewis Birch ruled the roost after that, scoring twice either side of half-time to give Romsey a 3-1 lead.

Salisbury’s stick tackles incurred umpiring wrath and the absence of sin-binned players didn’t help their cause.

Once restored to full strength, they clawed a goal back through another MacTaggart drag flick, but 17- goal Birch wasn’t to have his day spoiled and his late hattrick goal settled it for Romsey.

  • SALISBURY Ladies’ fifths collected a double with no reply against Poole in the glorious sunshine. Jill Thorne and Henrietta Kenny netted the hosts’ goals.
  • HAT-trick hero Will Garston helped Salisbury under 18s boys to an emphatic 7-0 win over Fleet and Ewshott. Charlie Cox Martin’s double and Bede Rauh and Jacomb Hansford added to the demolition.