Chichester hockey stars head for Olympic Park cup final

Chichester celebrate their recent great escape - will there be more cause for joy at Lee Valley? Picture by Derek Martin

Chichester celebrate their recent great escape - will there be more cause for joy at Lee Valley? Picture by Derek Martin

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Chichester’s hockey stars aim to put the gloss on a dramatic season when they run out at the Lee Valley Olympic Park in the national cup final on Sunday.

They take on Beeston in the England Hockey Association Cup final – just three weeks after pulling off a great escape from relegation from the National League with two play-off wins.

Chichester are set to be supported by a large number of supporters in the capital in what is one of their biggest games in their history.

At the end of a difficult league season, Chichester successfully avoided relegation from the National League’s Conference West, very convincingly beating Wakefield (North Conference) 4-1 and Bromley and Beckenham (East Conference) 7-3 to keep their place in the league at the expense of the other two sides.

Sunday is the first time in the club’s long history that the first XI have made it through to the final of the HA Cup.

It is the hockey equivalent to the FA Cup, the leading knockout competition in domestic hockey, which is open to all first XIs from affiliated clubs. Their route to the final has seen them beat five teams, overcoming some tough hurdles along the way.

Lots of members will be making their way to Lee Valley to support the team for what will be a momentous occasion for players and supporters alike.

Sarah Whittington

They beat Fareham 3-2, Bath Buccaneers 3-0, Hampstead and Westminster of the Premier League 4-3, near neighbours Havant 3-1 in the quarter-final and Surbiton, another team from the top division, 1-0 in the semi final.

Hockey vice-chairman Sarah Whittington said: “After quite a rollercoaster season the whole club are really excited about this final match on Sunday.

“Lots of members will be making their way to Lee Valley to support the team for what will be a momentous occasion for players and supporters alike.”

The venue has hockey finals being played across all three days of the bank holiday weekend. Pushback for Chichester’s match is at 5.30pm on Sunday.

Tickets are available from the England HA website, www.englandhockey.co.uk – go to news and events, look for ‘finals weekend’, then ‘buy tickets’.

See next week’s Observer for full coverage of the final.

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