Chichester Hockey Club's men’s firsts will look back at last weekend with a mixture of pride, relief and regret.
Having kept the pace in the league with a narrow 1-0 win against London Edwardians, they followed this with a 1-3 reverse at Wapping in the championship.
In the week leading up to the Edwardians game the team had lost Josh Brown, Richard Blakesley and Connor McLaughlan to a variety of muscular injuries, while already being without Dan Brook (injury) and Joe Budgen. Alex Messenger made a welcome return to action, and the team travelled to London with optimism.
The game turned out to be a tepid affair. Hampered by a lack of squad depth Chichester were forced into a more defensive approach, and chances were far and few between. That said, they limited the London outfit to only sporadic sights of the defensive circle.
Early on, league top scorer Alex Pendle and Ollie Baxter might have done better with attempts at goal. The Edwardians goalkeeper was clearly the busier of the two.
The breakthrough did not come until the 46th minute when Alex Holton eliminated two players in midfield, and forced his way into the attacking circle to beat the goalkeeper with a ferocious shot.
After this, the game tilted Chichester’s way, but it soon became clear the team had left their goalscoring pedigree in Sussex.
Neil Pendle especially will feel he might have scored, but so will Cameron Ryall, Alex and Ollie Baxter and Pendle. In the end, the win was more than deserved and keeps the team in second place.
The Championship game against Wapping on Sunday proved a bridge too far. With Jack Lerwil out and Messenger physically unable to play twice in a weekend, the team were always up against it.
When Ollie Robinson suffered a broken jaw within three minutes of the start the writing was on the wall. The team suffered a frustrating loss to a side that - on another day - they will have fancied their chances against.
Burgess Hill Ladies II 0 Chichester Ladies II 3
Sussex Ladies Div 1
Chichester were on a high after beating Crowborough and carried that form into this game.
It was an early push back but Chi were not sleeping. They started positively and were in command from the first whistle.
The passing was intricate and direct, enabling the play to flow from defence through midfield to the forwards. A debut from Juste Balkyte gave Chichester more options in the forward line.
Chichester’s first goal came from a well-worked passage of play with Sarah Jessop finding Rachael Trent to score at the near post. The home side were struggling to stop the wave of attacks from Chichester.
In defence Vicky Oliver-Catt, Kate Woods and Tracy Austin were working the ball out with neat passes, stopping Hill getting anywhere near Abson in goal.
The second goal was from debutant Balkyte who, after a flurry in the opposition’s D, took control and scored.
In the second half Chi changed a few things and the home side went close to scoring.
Chichester’s midfield stayed strong and the third was scored through Jessop to cap a great start to the season for the ladies.
Chichester: Abson, Austin, Parrot, Woods, Oliver Catt, Mundy, Hurd, Trent, Jessop, Trueman, Rice, Balkyte.
Chi Men’s III 6 Isle of Wight 1
The thirds got back to winning ways following a difficult loss at Poole.
Despite the awful weather conditions, Chi got off to a great start, scoring within the first five minutes. Jason Lansdale outpaced his marker down the right before putting in a low cross that Elliott Scott finished at the back post.
Chi continued to pepper the IoW goal but a series of missed chances and good keeping kept the score at 1-0. Eventually Jack Strange scored from a short corner with a powerful flick into the bottom corner.
IoW pulled a goal back against the run of play when the referee deemed a back stick from a Chi defender to have been a professional foul and awarded a penalty stroke. Damian Ashton was unable to keep the shot out.
Following a rousing half-time team talk from player Simon Taylor and coach Andy Barnes, Chi picked up their performance in the second half.
Lansdale put away two short-corner goals, one a deflection from a Brixey hit and the other a rebound after LeLeu hit the crossbar with a flick.
Tom Garriock added a well-placed strike into the bottom corner and Scott scored his second, and fifth of the season, with another finish at the back post.
It wasn’t the finest performance from Chi threes but it was a welcome result. MoM was James Whittle.
Team: Ashton, Whittle, Trent, Donaldson, Carr, Strange, Taylor, Brixey, Scott, Lansdale, Garriock, LeLeu, Moore.
Romsey II 2 Chichester Friars 3
Hampshire Area Div 4
The Friars notched another win to remain unbeaten.
Romsey dominated the first 20 minutes, but the combination of squandered chances, good defending and good saves kept the score even. Bryan
Locke was unlucky not to score twice in quick succession, then on 25 minutes Tracy Boyce finished a move with a good reverse stick strike.
Five minutes later, Boyce picked up the loose ball at a short corner and lifted it over the grounded keeper to double the score. Romsey had a goal ruled out after a lengthy umpire discussion.
The second half was more even. The Friars again struggled to contain the pace of the Romsey midfield, but were still not able to capitalise on a number of good chances. Rob Torrance in goal was having another good match.
On 55 minutes a direct pass into the top of the D was hammered home by Locke, whose first-time shot gave the keeper no chance.
Romsey showed great determination and began to take advantage of the age and fitness difference and dominated the game. They scored two quick goals to set up a very nervous last five minutes for the Friars.
But the Friars held on to retain the 100 per cent record making it five wins out of five.
Friars: Rob Torrance, Dave Walters, Andy Osborne, Mark Richmond, Trevor Andrews, Martin Hughes, Andrew Savory, Steve Mercer, Adrian Strange, Luke Savory Bryan Locke, Tracy Boyce, Nick Laurence.