Chichester Hockey Club's men's first team lost at Havant in the Conference West while there were mixed fortunes for a couple of the club's ladies' teams.
Havant 3 Chichester 1
When Chichester look back at the season, they will no doubt scratch their heads about ‘what might have been, had it not been for’…
At that point, the endless list of injuries the team endured over the season will no doubt be part of the review.
The team went down to 15 players on the morning of the Havant match, having lost Josh Brown to an ankle injury and Charlie Gibbons to a niggling knee issue. They lost Alex Holton after 20 minutes with a suspected broken finger whilsecaptain Alex Thakore tried to nurse his way through the game with a broken rib.
That said, Chichester had all the play in the opening ten minutes. Havant, playing for the championship, looked nervy and the Chichester high press did its job.
Chichester won two penalty corners and will have regretted the fact their main corner team of Jack Lerwil and Alex Pendle were both out with long-term injuries. Chichester created a further chance towards the end of this spell when Ollie Baxter just missed a pass from Alex Messenger in front of goal – before Havant started to create a foothold
Chichester were being pushed back deep into their own half, and man of the match Chris Bristow was forced to intervene decisively on a few occasions before Havant broke the deadlock after 25 minutes.
The game was testing the remaining Chichester players and they did well to limit the damage to one further goal. However, they showed real character when they re-entered the game in the second half and again pushed Havant back into defending deep.
When Alex Messenger scored his sixth goal of the league campaign, after good work from Ollie Baxter, to bring the score back to 2-1 it was deserved.
The game evened out with Havant bringing perhaps the greater attacking quality, but Chichester showing some real resolve in defending and in playing on the break.
They will feel they might have done better on a few occasions, especially when Andrew Sparshot broke the lines in the Havant midfield and might have released Ollie Baxter into a one-v-one with the Havant keeper, only to see his late pass intercepted.
In the end, the game was lost in a moment. With ten minutes to go, Chichester won another penalty corner from which Alex Baxter managed to beat the goalkeeper, only to see his shot saved on the line.
Havant responded quickest to the loose ball, managed to win their own corner at the other end and score the deciding goal.
Chichester showed all the characteristics against Havant they might have showed earlier in the season and could have ensured a more favourable league position. That said, ‘should’; might; and ‘could’ are not typically words chosen to describe winning teams.
Chi get job done against Isca
Chichester 2nds 0 Brighton and Hove 3rds 4
Sussex Ladies premier division
Chichester needed a better performance this week – and despite defeat, they delivered.
Brighton seemed to have some players that didn’t always play for their thirds but Chi had to get on with it.
The passing was high-quality and ball speed was good and there was a flow to Chi’s game. Still they found themselves under pressure but were more able to cope.
The visitors scored about five minutes from the end of the first half, which didn’t reflect the work Chichester had put in.
In the second period Chi were more attacking and pressed higher, which meant more space behind the Chi midfield that allowed Brighton in. Josephine Hallier was commanding at the back and it was only penalty corners that gave the opposition a controlling lead.
Chichester, although disappointed at the result, should be proud of themselves for giving it a good go. This was their last home game of the season and this week brings the last game, away to Crawley.
Chichester: Julie Abson, Tracy Austin, Cheryl Parrott, Jackie Baxter, Rachel Trent, Alex Hurd, Sarah Jessop, Josephine Hallier, Kate Woods, Cath Mundy, Vicky Oliver Catt, Lindsay Hauxwell.
Friars and ladies in action
Eastleigh 2s 1 Chi Ladies 4s 4
Chi took their time to get used to a slow, sandy pitch with Eastleigh passing the ball around to their advantage to take an early lead.
However, Chi soon came into their own and clear calling from Sarah Whittington and Elaine Cruttenden meant Kim Howarth was able to switch the play from left to right.
This proved a useful move with Mandy Clark and Heidi Johnson working well together for Johnson to convert the equaliser.
Strong hit outs from Debs Cox and Hayley Johnson found Rachel Austin and Caroline Homer to run at the Eastleigh defence, who were outpaced by all the Chi attack. Homer used the momentum to break the deadlock and Chi took the lead. This was further extended by HI Johnson before half-time.
After the break great passes from the midfield found Homer one on one with the keeper and Chi secured the win with a cheeky little dummy and then reverse stick from her.
This was a great team effort and a positive result to bring Chi back to winning ways.
Player of the match was Homer
Chi 4s: O’Callaghan, Cox, Cruttenden, HY Johnson, Litchfield, Ashton, Whittington, Austin, Howarth, Homer, HI Johnson, Clark.