Hockey: Pre-break win is Chichester’s perfect present
Wins for Chichester’s men and Bognor and Middleton’s ladies – plus draws for two Chichester ladies’ teams – all feature in this week’s hockey round-up.
Chichester 6 Cambridge 3
Now Pensions Conference East
CHICHESTER found a timely return to winning form ahead of their winter break.
It was a fourth-versus-third clash at Kingsham and both teams knew the prize was third place for Christmas.
Having beaten Cambridge 3-2 earlier in the campaign, Chichester expected a tough battle.
Despite a run of three straight losses, Chichester dominated from the outset and the ball was passed with a purpose and conviction which had been missing of late.
Chichester should have taken the lead when Martin Gough dispossessed a Cambridge defender and slipped the ball to Connor Mclaughlin, who was unable to convert.
Against the run of play Cambridge took the lead after 15 minutes with a fantastic first-time strike.
Chichester continued to press and Mclaughlin, Gough and Richard Blakesley were causing Cambridge problems – and they soon won their first penalty corner. Up stepped Gerald Cox to drag-flick the ball into the top corner.
Chichester made it 2-1 shortly before the break when Mclaughlin went on a run beating three players only to be fouled for a second penalty corner. A neat training-ground move led to Alex Thakore firing the ball into the bottom corner.
Chichester came out for the second half determined to score the next goal and Jack Lerwill played in Gough, whose first-time pass found Blakesley to slot the ball home for 3-1.
Another free-flowing move started through Matt Cox. He passed to Ollie Robinson, who slipped the ball across the D to Blakesley to score his second of the game.
Cambridge got one back from a penalty corner, making it 4-2. Unlike in previous encounters Chichester did not step off the gas and they made it 5-2 when Cox found Lerwill in space at the top of the D and he fired into the bottom corner.
The defence of Kieran Henn, Gerald Cox, Dan Brook and Matt Sewell were dominant, enabling Chichester to press for a sixth.
This came when McLaughlin and Cox linked up well, with the latter slipping the ball to Gough who calmly fired the ball into the goal. Cambridge got a late consultation to make it 6-3 and this was a throughly-entertaining and deserved Chichester victory.
Chichester now have a two-month break before the league recommences in February. They visit star-studded Holcombe in the first league game back on Saturday, February 7, and host Brooklands a day later in the quarter-final of the national cup.
CHICHESTER: Godsmark, Brook, Henn, G Cox, Spear, Sewell, Lerwill, Thakore, M Cox, Gough, Blakesley, Symons, Baxter, Robinson, Mclaughlin, Sparshott.
Bognor Town Ladies 5 Crawley Ladies 2
THIS was Bognor’s hardest game so far this season – but they came out on top
It started with Crawley pressing hard, with physical challenges flying in from all sides. An early attempt on goal saw Bognor’s keeper unsighted and the ball was slipped in over the line.
Bognor restarted positively with Charlotte Cox switching up a gear and distributing the ball to a mobile Clare McKnight, forcing Crawley’s defence to make crucial tackles.
Lily Morris, playing in midfield, proved a real asset in the role as well as being an outstanding goalkeeping prospect. She engineered Bognor’s equaliser with a shot stopped on the line with a foot. Cox stepped up and converted the penalty flick with panache.
Great passing between June Rogers and McKnight ended in a goal for Rogers from open play.
Crawley managed another goal with a deflection off a leg which went unobserved by the umpire.
The first half finished with a third from Bognor when McKnight turned a fast-moving ball into the net from a rocket pass by Cox.
The second half started with more physical challenges, but Bognor reacted positively. A Crawley shot saw defender Sue Perry with a flying goal-line stick stop at waist height.
The home side unleashed ‘the Charlotte Cox show’ to press the D, with McKnight ably supporting her and chasing back tirelessly.
Nadia Muncey and Lily Morris gained in confidence and shrugged off any challenges, helping the ball forward at every opportunty.
Cox and McKnight capped a superb performance, each with another goal.
The Fox Inn payer of the match was Cox.
BOGNOR: Theresa Cooper, Charlotte Cox, Nadia Muncey, Lily Morris, Debbie Cox, Kim Agate, Clare McKnight, June Rogers, Sue Perry, Christine Decamps, Sue Woodall and Danielle Hannam.
Burgess Hill 4 Chichester Ladies 4
The pressure is on Chichester ladies this season to consolidate their position in the Sussex Premier – but it’s been an uphill struggle and they’re second from bottom.
There is improvement, though, and it will need only a couple of wins to send them up the league table.
Chichester started well, passing the ball around with confidence. Burgess Hill applied pressure that ruined Chi’s rhythm and the home side scored first.
Chi equalised through Holly Gyles but Burgess Hill went ahead once more. Chi fought back again and Gyles scored her second.
Chichester were slightly fortunate to take the lead at half-time as confusion arose in the Burgess Hill defence and a great strike from Verena Sambel made it 3-2.
After the break, Chi doubled their advantage through Sambel. But a concentration lapse allowed Burgess Hill to pull it back to 4-4.
CHICHESTER: April Cowley, Rachael Mealyer, Tracy Austin, Meg Goring, Ellie Buckley, Lottie Greenlees,Verena Sambel, Emily Nixon, Livie Knight, Tendo Manyarara ,Holly Gyles, Karen Versteegh.
Chi Priory Park Ladies II 2 Southwick 2
This was always going to be tight game with only three points between the two sides.
Chichester had a poor start when the opposition scored first. It didn’t take Chi long to equalise, the goal scored by the hard-working Demelza Peake, who battled up and down the right.
Chichester allowed Southwick to make it 2-1 before the break.
It was quite a physical match with both sides asked by the umpire to calm things down.
Chichester were on top throughout the second half and Sarah Jessop netted the equaliser.
The home side defended well and Theresa Wilway led the way, thwarting most of Southwick’s attacks.
CHICHESTER: Claire Young, Isobel Dodds, Rachael Trent, Jenny Horton, Damelza Peak, Lindsay Hudson, Sarah Jessop, Emma Bennison, Theresa Wilway, Emily Ursell, Merryn Young.
Middleton Ladies 4 East Grinstead 0
Middleton remain unbeaten adrer goals by Charlotte Woolvern, Eloise Sole, Jen Langmead and Anna Davies saw off East Grinstead.
Their defence was solid with Annie Oakley voted player of the match.
Middleton knew EG would come out in the second half wanting a goal early to eat into Middleton’s three-goal lead. For a short time Middleton lost their structure but they quickly sorted ourselves out and used width well, driving hard and fast down the right.
A fantastic fourth goal rounded off a hard but enjoyable game.