Chichester ladies are following in the men’s footsteps by booking an appearance at London’s olympic Park for a national final.
They created history by beating Sonning 7-3 in the England Hockey Vase semi-final, making this the farthest a women’s side has ever gone in club history.
It is a year since the men’s first team reached their final, also at Lee Valley, where they lost to Beeston.
Chichester were the underdogs but their big following helped them on their way.
They were first on the scoreboard when an outstanding interception from Lottie Greenlees led to Verena Sambel breaking with Cita Haines supporting. The ball was transferred around the keeper and Sambel got the final touch to put Chichester 1-0 up in the 14th minute.
Sonning came back to win a penalty corner and a nice deflection put them level.
Sambel struck again at the top of the D after a fantastic ball by Sally ‘The Bullet’ Bradley to make it 2-1 in the 24th minute.
Two minutes into the second half, international Patti Hyla caused chaos down the Sonning middle line supported by Meg Goring as they made their way to the top of the D.
Mirriam Sparshott produced some excellent play on the right wing to find Goring, who slotted the ball back to Hyla to put Chichester 3-1 up.
Anna Healey was supported by Amy Chaplin and Meg Hattemore but Sonning bought it back to a nail-biting 3-3 before Goring and Chaplin stole the ball in midfield and made it 4-3.
Chichester were now on a roll and their fans could feel Lee Valley was in touching distance. Sambel scored another, then Goring struck and Haines finished off a lovely move in the D.
The final whistle went and champagne was sprayed. Chichester are off to Lee Valley – again, worth the blood, sweat and tears – what an achievement.
The girls face Amersham and Chalfont on April 30 at the Olympic Park. Buy your tickets today to come and support the girls online via @SeeTickets or find out more at hwww.chichester-hockey.co.uk
There will be a fans’ coach leaving from Chichester.
Chichester: Claire Goodger-Greenway, Verena Sambel, Cita Haines, Meg Goring, Amy Chaplin, Patti Hyla, Demelza Peake, Lottie Greenlees, Sally Bradley, Meg Hattemore, Anna Healey, Mirriam Sparshott, Tracy Austin.
Cardiff 2 Chichester 2
Men’s Conference West
Chichester have avoided automatic relegation – but face an anxious final day to see if they can also steer clear of the relegation play-offs.
Last Sunday they headed to South Wales to face leaders and promotion contenders Cardiff for what was a very important game for both teams. A win for Cardiff could have secured the league for them while a win for Chichester would boost their survival hopes no end.
In the event both sides had to settle for a draw.
Chichester started well, catching Cardiff by surprise with strong pressure and quality attacks.
Cardiff couldn’t contain the threat and a Chichester shot was blocked by a Cardiff defender’s body, leaving Chi a chance to convert from the penalty spot. Martin Gough stepped up a calmly slot home.
Cardiff levelled when they caught Chichester’s defence off-guard with an expertly-converted deflection.
Chichester responded with more chances and Ollie Baxter burst through in a one-on-one with the Cardiff keeper, only to be fouled, giving Chichester another chance to convert from the spot.
Up stepped Gough, facing a player with a helmet on instead of the sin-binned goalkeeper. He converted to restore the Chichester lead.
The second half saw Cardiff a different team, creating much more. Chichester absorbed plenty of chances but a well-converted short corner made it 2-2.
Chicheste had thebest late chances and had a goal disallowed.
The point meant Chichester had avoided automatic relegation but other results went against them to leave them in the relegation play-off zone.
This Sunday Chichester host Old Georgians at Kingsham (2pm), knowing a win will give them a good chance to avoid those play-offs. Get along and support them if you can.
Chichester Ladies 2nds 5 Bognor Town Ladies 2
Chichester needed to show great character after last week’s draw when they were so close to victory.
Both sides seemed to struggle but Chichester had the greater possession and scored through Maddie Wright after she was set up by Sarah Jessop.
The second half saw Chichester add to their tally with young Rachel Trent scoring.
Bognor fought hard and managed to get a goal back. Chi’s passing was at times intricate but not constant and this led to the defence having to work harder than they needed to, and Bognor equalised.
Chi regained their composure and pressed higher up the pitch. Dribbling skills and passing improved and this put the visitors under more pressure.
The dynamic duo of Jessop and Wright combined to put Chichester 3-2 up as Wright scored again.
When Trent got her second it eased the nerves and Chi relaxed and played some impressive hockey. Wright sealed the victory with her third.
Chichester this week play their last game of the season away to Crowborough.
Chichester: Claire Young, Tracy Austin, Charlotte Stemp, Alex Hurd, Sarah Jessop, Rachel Trent, Maddie Wright , Nat Spencer, Harriet Gray, Sarah Pack, Jenna Greenway, Xenia Trueman, Charlotte Binning.
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