CHICHESTER overcame a resilient Milton Keynes 5-1 to continue their bid for glory at the top of hockey’s south open premier division one.
The game started in a scrappy fashion with both sides picking up green cards in the first ten minutes.
Chi created the first opportunity when Connor Mclaughlin broke down the right and won a penalty corner. Martin Gough was on hand to tuck away a rebound after Steve Spear’s effort was saved.
Moments later Andrew Sparshott’s defence-splitting pass found an unmarked Bejay Ranger, who calmly finished to make it 2-0.
Milton Keynes started to gain possession but struggled to create opportunities, with Jason Collins and Spear denying their forwards any space.
From a Milton Keynes attack that broke down, Chichester scored a third. Quick passing play from Richard Blakesley and Kieren Henn found Sparshott, who again teed up Ranger for a far-post finish.
Milton Keynes came out fighting in the second half and after just a few minutes converted to make it 3-1.
The pressure continued on Chi but Dan Godsmark was in fine form to keep the score at 3-1.
Chichester started to grab hold of the game again, and in the final ten minutes scored twice more.
First a penalty corner was converted by Dan Brook, who found the ball flying back at him at waist height before volleying in.
Then a well-worked routine saw Henn deflect in a Gough shot.
Results elsewhere went in Chichester’s favour and they found themselves top overnight. Chichester now face two season-deciding games as they play away to two of the top four - Old Georgians followed by Oxford University.
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Lewes III 2 Chichester PP Ladies 7
The wet weather held off and Chichester were well-prepared for this latest test.
Because of the unavailability of their regular goalkeeper, Tracy Austin stepped in.
Lewes started the better of the two sides, Chichester finding it hard to break them down in the first ten minutes. Lewes broke and despite the efforts of the Chi defence, they scored.
This gave Chichester a wake-up call and started to play like they know they can. Chi pushed forward and Tess Zandstra was waiting at the far post to tap in Chichester’s first.
Chichester had to keep concentration and Tendo Manyanara, making her debut, played with great conviction - linking up with Beth Marks on the right.
Sally Thew, playing on the left, linked up with Verena Sambel and this led to Thew adding to her goal tally.
In the second half Chichester carried on where they had left off and it wasn’t long before Sambel bamboozled the Lewes defence and put Chichester 3-1 up.
Lewes had another break and scored through Austin’s legs but Chichester didn’t let that get to them and pressed Lewes back, and their fourth goal was scored by Thew.
As Lewes were being forced back into their own half Chichester took advantage and were awarded a number of penalty corners.
Lewes’s heads were down and Marks came in from the right and put away Chichester’s fifth. From a penalty corners Sambel made the Lewes defence look like they were standing still and scored her second and Chichester’s sixth.
Chichester had the upper hand and were camped in the opposition’s half and with the urgency from Chichester to narrow the goal difference between themselves and leaders Hailsham, they scored once more through Tess Zandstra.
CHICHESTER: Mel Banks, Tracy Austin, Emma Bennison, Kate Helme, Amy Chaplin, Sally Thew, Verena Sambel, Tendo Manyanara, Beth Marks, Floor van der Stap, Tess Zandstra.
Chichester Centurions 3 Worthing II 3
Ladies’ Sussex League
Centurions used the same formation that proved successful a week earlier - and found joy once more.
They settled into the game quickly, distributing the ball well. Claire Mealing opened the scoring after only eight minutes when she struck the ball decisively in the D.
Centurions had the majority of the possession but, despite numerous attacking runs, were unable to increase their lead.
Worthing were denied any success from several short corners but equalised during a goalmouth scramble.
Centurions responded by converting a short corner which Mealing slotted past the goalkeeper to put Centurions ahead.
Shortly before half-time, Worthing penetrated the Centurions defence to make it 2–2.
Centurions continued their pressure in the second half and had a string of good chances that they failed to convert.
Kerry Eames and Dawn Brooker worked well together on the left to keep the ball in midfield, enabling the forwards to push towards the goal.
A quick break by Worthing resulted in them taking the lead but Centurions continued battling.
Centurions won a short corner that looked like their final chance but could not convert it.
As the final two minutes were signalled, Centurions drove towards the Worthing goal and Louise Thew struck the ball cleanly past the goalkeeper to give Centurions the equaliser.
Centurions played some very good hockey and should be very proud of their performance.
CENTURIONS: M Harbord, N Edge, C Mealing, C Strudwick, D Brown, L Sarson, L Hurford, V Wake, K Eames, D Brooker, L Thew, A Pordage.
University of Chichesrer Ladies 3 Brunel Ladies 3
Chichester began full of determination but the first goal was scored by Brunel after a penalty stroke. A valiant attempt was made by Chi keeper Lucy Kirkby to save the shot but Brunel’s player placed a lot of power behind the ball and it flew in.
Chi picked up the pace with some great skill from captain Emma Evans in the middle.
Julianne Doherty positioned herself well on the right of the attack.
Brunel made a few breaks to the Chi D, but Abbie Wahlen was on hand to defend the area.
Vice-captain Anna Bevan pulled Chi into the lead scoring two amazing goals.
The second half saw Chi passing the ball and holding possession well. But Brunel managed to score the first goal of the half.
Bevan was able to complete a hat-trick to make it 3-2. Again, Brunel came back and managed to equalise once more
Evans’ epic reverse-hit to the top corner of Brunel’s goal brought an unbelievable save out of the Brunel keeper.
Bevan was named player of the match.
Chichester Ladies II 3 Brighton & Hove IV 0
Sussex Ladies’ League division two
Having defeated Lewes the previous week, Chichester were still on a high and from pushback, Chichester took the game to Brighton - resulting in an early goal as Sarah Jessop converted a short corner.
Chichester had a strong forward line, with Greenlees having a solid game and Holly Gyles making a confident debut.
Opportunities came thick and fast and Chichester should have killed the game off but had to wait until just before half-time for Jessop to claim her second.
The second half saw a strong Chichester defence keep the Brighton attack at bay. Strong running from Pack kept the pressure on and Chichester soon won a short corner which Beaker coolly put away to make it 3-0.
The win gave Chichester a six-point advantage at the top of the league.
CHICHESTER: R Duckers, T Keartland, M Howarth, J Greenway, E Mertal, T Beaker, S Pack, L Greenlees, H Gyles, K Howarth, S Jessop, M Goring.
East Grinstead IV 5 Chichester Bad Habits 0
Sussex Ladies’ League division four
Chichester travelled to East Grinstead without a recognised goalkeeper and ended up well-beaten.
Braving the sleet, Chichester put in a promising performance - the team keeping possession for the first ten minutes as East Grinstead awoke from a tentative start.
The EG forwards started to drive the ball into the gaps and scored their first goal within 20 minutes.
Chichester defended strongly but East Grinstead pushed in another goal.
Chris Priddle, Megan Cliff and Kirsty Grove worked hard to drive the ball to Rachel Austin and Lily Smith.
Half-time brought tactical changes by captain Christina Procter and Chichester came out with a much-needed spring in their step.
Rachael Trent and Jenny Horton worked to drive the ball up-field.
Chichester’s woman of the match Gillian Flowers held EG at bay but the hosts won many short corners and slotted in another two goals.
In the final few minutes, East Grinstead scored the final goal of the game.
Despite the final score, Chichester had put in a performance to be proud of, showing improved teamwork.
CHICHESTER: Christina Procter, Chris Priddle, Megan Cliff, Kirsty Grove, Tracy Upfold, Gillian Flowers, Rachael Trent, Jenny Horton, Lily Smith, Rachel Austin and Lauren Soden-Bridger.
Chichester Friars 17 Oxford Bulls 0
Against the bottom side, the strength of performance ensured an emphatic result.
From the start the Friars piled on the pressure and scored regularly to go in at half-time with a 9-0 lead.
It is often difficult to keep playing quality hockey in such one-sided games, but the Friars maintained the
pace and clinical finishing into the second half running out 17-0 winners.
Oxford kept going and a fine performance by the goalkeeper prevented an even higher score.
Scorers were Dave Walters, Andrew Savory (2), Neil Pacey, Chris Pacey, Tracey Boyce (5), Bryan Lock (6) and Ivan Boswell.
FRIARS: Ball, Jaeger, Andrews, Osborne, Smith, Alexander, Walters, Savory, N Pacey, C Pacey, Boyce, Lock, Boswell.
Salisbury Striders 0 Friars 6
This game could have been difficult away to a team in good form. The Friars began strongly, determined to play the game as high as possible and give the opposition no space and time to play.
After several chances, Tracey Boyce opened the scoring. Salisbury found it very difficult to get out of their own half amd Boyce scored his second, followed by goals from Chris Pacey and Bryan Lock.
On the rare occasions Salisbury were able to break through, Colin Ball made good blocks in goal and Dave Walters was very strong at short corners, preventing any real threats on goal.
In ever-worsening weather, Andrew Savory helped the Friars’ cause with two great short corner finishes in the first five minutes.
Despite enjoying most of the possession the Friars were unable to add to the score but restricted Salisbury to very few chances.
Friars have now scored 69 league goals and 100 in 15 games played this season.
FRIARS: Ball, Jaeger, Andrews, Osborne, Alexander, Walters, Savory, N Pacey, C Pacey, Smith, Lock, Boyce.
n Havant have two games in hand and can still overtake Friars at the top. The teams meet in a few weeks time and,
having lost to Havant earlier in the season, the Friars expect a tough match which may well decide who will win the league.
Chichester Chipmunks 2 Southwick II 0
Sussex open division three
Lowly Southwick travelled to Chichester to meet a full strength Chipmunks side in cold conditions.
Buoyed by an away win a week earlier, Chichester started confidently, retaining possession and probing the Southwick defence down the flanks.
In midfield Chichester regularly found space with crisp passing between Max Lowther, Elliot Sturdey and Jo Dannatt marshalled by the expreienced Craig Hindmarch. Despite repeated pressure, Chichester just could not find the net.
The half-time team talk focused on Chichester doing the basics well. It took a clumsy tackle in the Southwick area to earn a penalty flick for the home side. Hindmarch stepped up and buried the stroke in the bottom corner.
Chichester pushed forward and doubled their advantage. However Southwick stayed in the game until the end, and while not creating a clear chance of their own, they restricted the home side to a two-goal win.
Andrew Creswick was caught by a stck just above the eye and needed hospital treatment. Hopefully he will be available to lead the line this week.
CHICHESTER: Hetherington, Creswick R, Gleeson, Woodruff, Stemp, Dannatt, Lowther, Sturdey, Hindmarch C, Troy, Kathegesu, Creswick A, Hindmarch T.
Chichester Cherubs 2 Crawley Colts 1
The top two in the league started with attacking intent. Crawley were physically strong and after a sustained period of attack, Crawley got a ball through the Cherubs defence and scored.
The Cherubs responded immediately and some marvellous passing and skill led to several chances but Alfie Shaw and Alex Pendle couldn’t find a quality finish against the Crawley keeper.
Chichester started to dominate possession with James Palmer and Fred Thomas finding inside forwards George Stremes and the exceptional Will Hutchins, who started to find gaps in the Crawley defence. Hutchins found the perfect pass for Pendle to score the equaliser.
The battle for a winner was intense and there were just 47 seconds left when Gabriel Robson brilliantly found Alex Pendle, who blasted the ball into the net.
Man of the match was Will Hutchings for his uncontainable energy, skill and passing.