by Mike Vimpany

SOUTHAMPTON and Trojans are through to the semi-finals of prestigious England Hockey cup competitions.

Rob O’Brien scored four times as Southampton recovered after leaking two early goals to beat Chalfont & Amersham 5-2 to secure a Vase semi-final pairing against Trinity Mid-Whitgiftians at Sanderstead, near Croydon, on March 19.

Trojans boosted their prospects of repeating their Trophy triumph of ten years ago by beating Gore Court 4-2 – a victory which brings top Lancashire club Didsbury Northern to Stoneham Lane in two weeks time.

Chalfont rocked Southampton by scoring twice in the opening five minutes at the Sports Centre, but O’Brien got the city side back in the contest with a reverse stick brace which squared it up at 2-2.

O’Brien then fluffed a penalty stroke, but by half-time had redeemed himself with his hat-trick goal, created by Jack Holloway’s break on the left.

With their noses in front, Southampton controlled the game after that with another Holloway run setting up George Watling to make it 4-2 and O’Brien scoring his fourth with a late drag flick.

Trojans, reduced to eight men at one stage, also had to come from behind to beat Gore Court 4-2 and earn a demanding home tie in the Trophy semi-finals.

Trojans went ahead after three minutes when Dan Ferrier sent a drag flick low to the keeper’s right from a penalty corner.

Having dominated the early exchanges, Trojans were reduced to eight players with three players sent to the sin bin – Gore Court taking full advantage scoring twice to take a 2-1 lead.

Ian Bassett levelled the scores before half time with a thunderous reverse stick shot from the top of the circle.

Trojans took full control of the game in the second half with South African Sinoxolo Mbekeni, playing in his final game for the club, setting up Calum Crichton from a well-worked penalty corner before Tim Broadhurst made it 4-2 deflecting the ball into the goal following a flowing attacking move down the left..

Semi-final opponents Didsbury Northern are unbeaten and top of the North West League.