Cheltenham chop Chichester's hopes of national hockey cup glory

Chichester go close against Cheltenham / Picture by YASPS
Chichester go close against Cheltenham / Picture by YASPS

Chichester's defeat in the quarter-finals of the national England Hockey Championship heads this week's hockey round-up - but there's news from a number of the city club's other teams and of youngsters having a happy day at Hamble.

Chichester 1 Cheltenham 3
EH Championship quarter-final
Chichester were left to rue missed second-half chances as they bowed out of England Hockey’s tier one championships with a 3-1 home defeat by Cheltenham.
Trailing 2-0 at the break to a fourth-minute penalty corner conversion by Tom Cole and a second from Craig Graham, Chichester took a grip of the game after the break.
Luke Emmett, back with the city club after a spell in Holland, marked his return with a goal but despite forcing several penalty corners and putting the visitors under pressure they were unable to force an equaliser. Nick Lampkin settled it with a third goal for Cheltenham late on.
Chichester will now have a job on their hands to work their way through the double disappointment of the weekend.
Having all but signed away any hope of a successful league campaign with a spiritless performance against the University of Bristol on Saturday, they were much improved in the cup on Sunday only to find themselves on the wrong end of the scoreline.
The performance on Saturday left much to be desired, but the story of the weekend was one of missed chances when time was getting tight.
At 1-0 down against Bristol, the team created three good chances to equalise and with Kieran Henn and goalkeeper Chris Bristow in fine form at the back, this might have been enough to share the spoils. However, with frustration and desperation settling in, the key people lacked the ability to apply the right quality of finish.
The cup game against Cheltenham was different. While the first half saw a similar nervy performance, with many of Chichester’s leading players seemingly looking at each other to get something going, the team were fortunate to go into half-time 1-0 down, Chris Bristow in goal again making the difference.
With the season on the line, however, the team started to come together.
Emmett started to drive the midfield forward, Alex Pendle seemed to have regained a lot of confidence and Ollie Baxter started to drift into the kinds of attacking positions that established him among the league’s top scorers.
As is so often the case with teams on a poor run, Chichester perhaps needed a little luck to lift confidence and spur them on to greater things, and Sunday did not seem the day when that would happen.
As chance after chance went begging, at times through magnificent goalkeeping and at other times through poor choices and lack of a quality finishing touch, the game slipped further away.
In the end, the 3-1 scoreline flattered Cheltenham, who on another day might have conceded six or seven. It was, however, a perfect illustration of the key difference between the teams: Chichester, rich in quality but low in confidence failing to find the edge to win the game, and Cheltenham brimming with confidence and finding a way to continue winning.
The team should be heartened by their second-half performance against Cheltenham, but will need to work hard to punch their way out of their current slump. Emmett’s return will help them, as will Matt Sewell and Josh Brown’s return to fitness, and the quality some of their key players undoubtedly have. But it will require an all-team effort.
* Chichester’s Nathan Palmer has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after sustaining a serious thumb injury.

Birmingham draw is perfect warm-up

Chi move into national cup last eight

Chichester 2nds 2 Wanderers 2
With Chichester looking to move away from the relegation zone, Josh Brown – back after four weeks out with a hamstring pull – and Joe Nelmes, back at the club after a nine-year absence, fitted in well.
Neil Pendle started to make dangerous runs and with Oscar Pacey linking well Chichester won their first short corner. Up stepped Brown to fire a low, fast drag flick into the bottom corner.
Wanderers settled and when they won their first corner it was well executed to level the scores.
Chichester edged into the lead with their second corner of the half, Brown scoring his second.
Wanderers regained composure and after ten minutes of the second half they equalised with a goal Chichester will be disappointed with.

Hailsham Ladies 1s 10 Chichester Ladies 2s 0
Sussex Ladies Premier Div
Chichester went, they saw and were conquered by Hailsham.
They travelled in truth with no expectations of winning against their lofty opponents, who are sitting pretty at the top of the league and look destined for promotion.
They scored six well-worked goals in the first half and four in the second. Chi were very good at shutting out penalty corners, of which there were many, and they had two themselves.
Chichester never gave up and at least enjoyed the post-match sausages in buns.
Chichester: Abson, Austin, Parrott, Stemp, Gilmour, Baxter, Trent, Hurd, Jessop, Oliver-Catt, Crisp.

Chichester Friars 3 Trojans 6
Wessex Masters League Div 1
For the third time this season, the Friars were beaten by a very strong Trojans team, who are now six points clear at the top of the table.
Friars welcomed Trevor Andrews back after an extended lay-off. From the start, it was evident Trojans would enjoy the bulk of possession. The pressure paid off after 15 minutes when Trojans took the lead with a good sweeping passage of play.
The Friars drew level within two minutes when Gareth Wharton tapped the ball past the keeper after a scramble in the circle.
Trojans regained the lead on 22 minutes after another spell of sustained pressure. Andy Osbourne made an incredible goal-line clearance.
Steve Mercer pulled a muscle and had to come off.
Just before the break a speculative ball was smashed into the Friars circle from midfield. The Trojans striker swung out his stick and the ball looped high and dropped into the goal.
The Friars started the second half the stronger team but Trojans increased their lead after 40 minutes.
Andrew Savory smashed the ball in from the top of the circle, but it was mysteriously disallowed after a lengthy discussion between the umpires.
On 52 minutes Tracey Boyce was taken out by the keeper and Savory dispatched the penalty flick. At 4-2 it was finely balanced but the Friars conceded a fifth after 60 minutes from a short corner.
The deficit was again cut 5 minutes later when Wharton scored his second. Rob Torrance made a number of good saves and the Friars went close to scoring several times.
At the death Trojans scored their sixth on a break.
Mark Green and Dave Walters both put in fantastic performances in midfield.
The Friars remain eight points ahead in second place.
Friars: R Torrance, D Walters, M Hughes, D Jaeger, T Boyce, G Wharton, A Osbourne, A Savory, S Mercer, A Strange, M Green, T Andrews, C Smith.

Chichester Men’s 3rds 5 Bournemouth Men’s 3rds 1
Chi thirds got back to winning ways with an excellent comeback win against Bournemouth.
The first half started very evenly with Chichester edging possession and chances, captain Bryan Lock and Nathan Frost just missing the target, with Frost unlucky to hit the bar from a short corner.
Bournemouth grew into the game and went ahead through a scrappy goal from the edge of the D ten minutes before half-time.
After the break Chichester responded emphatically. After a good spell of possession, Frost equalised with a perfect drag flick into the top corner. Shortly after, Chichester were in front through Dan Moon, a deflected hit from the top of the D following a through ball from Pat Sowden.
Chichester had momentum and used it effectively by getting a third through Lock with a half-volley into the bottom corner following a determined run and pull back from Tom O’Doherty.
Chi added two more towards the end to conclude a fantastic performance. First Andy McCartain scored from a rebound from Lock’s shot at Bournemouth’s keeper. Then O’Doherty scored his first of the season in style.
Another shot from Lock went to the back post where O’Doherty flew in to deflect the ball into the top corner. It rounded off a great MoM performance.

Alton 2s 3 Chi Ladies 4s 4
This was a very important win, with Alton one point below Chi in the table.
Chi dug deep and Alton man-marked closely but Rachel Austin drove the ball into the Alton D for Caroline Homer to score an unforgettable goal.
Alton equalised through a break from their half. A short-corner strike gave Alton the lead but a great passage of play from Mandy Clark and Heidi Johnson led to Clark scoring the equaliser.
Strong defensive play, especially from Debs Cox, kept Alton out.
Chi came out with winning on their minds – but so did Alton and they went 3-2 up.
Nice play between Teresa Willway, Johnson and Clark resulted in Clark scoring an equaliser.
Hayley Johnson pushed up from defence and found star player Heidi Johnson, who drove to the baseline and deflected it past the Alton goalkeeper.
The win was much deserved by Chi and moves them four points clear of Alton.
Chi: O’Callaghan, Cox, Priddle, Cruttenden, Hayley Johnson, Ashton, Whittington, Heidi Johnson, Austin, Howarth, Homer, Willway, Clark.

* Chichester Hockey Club under-eights travelled to Hamble for the club’s junior hockey festival.
On a cold, wet and windy day the team had great success winning all five of their matches. Some fantastic defensive tackling from Orla Williams and Grace Wallis set the platform for the rest of the team to push forward and score the goals to win the matches.
Elliot Goode top-scored with seven goals, with further goals coming from Joseph Butler, Aimee Butler, Matthew Green and Freddy Richmond. Thanks went to Hamble HC for organising a great festival and to the team’s coaches and parents for helping throughout the day.
Chichester’s under-tens also took part. Their team comprised Anna Dudman, Jones Homer, Zara Chinwala, Caitlin Wilmot, Ludo Kameen, Keagan Ashton, Fleur Baker, Josh Bolton, Toby Wells.