SALISBURY men’s hockey thirds travelled to Southampton for their opening Division 5 league match against Southampton thirds on Saturday.

With three solid pre-season performances for the side, there was a good feel to the warm up with players itching to get on the pitch.

Play was fluid from pushback and the passing was quick.

However, play got a bit sluggish and, in a lapse in concentration, a particularly quick play from Southampton got them 1-0 up in the first half.

Not even a penalty corner could help, as Colin Perkins needed a few in-match practice runs before he was hitting for goal.

Half time was called, which allowed Salisbury to regroup and gain a few pointers from Andy Grandfield and captain Tim Green.

From this point on, Salisbury we back on form and in control of the game.

After this Colin Perkins redeemed himself from an earlier aerial over the fence and calibrated his penalty corners to score two goals, with another by Matt Bowry, taking the scoreline to 1-3.

Dave Hillier winning these penalty corners throughout the game earned him man of the match.

The youthfulness of the team really showed through as a more experienced Southampton team, who beat Salisbury last season 4-2, did not have enough energy to secure the win.

Some had a bit too much vigour as James Wade found his way to a yellow card.

Along with two green cards for Salisbury in the half, this tested the team’s composure.

Southampton seized the opportunity and Nick Hillier was forced to make some goalline saves and a strong defence held them out.

This is an excellent start to the league for the team, and they look forward to hosting Haslemere 4s on Saturday, October 7.