Hockey: Chichester in at deep end at Bath

Kieren Henn is the new captain of Chichester / Picture by Chris Hatton
Kieren Henn is the new captain of Chichester / Picture by Chris Hatton

Chichester began the new National League hockey season with a draw in Bath.

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Team Bath Buccaneers 2 Chichester 2

National League Men’s Conference West

Chichester have been moved from east to west in the National League set-up and, in their first game, earned a creditable draw away to Bath - who only missed out on promotion to the premier division in a play-off.

After an encouraging pre-season Chichester were keen to get the season started and with long-standing club man Kieran Henn taking over as captain there was renewed optimism in the camp.

Blakesley entered the D with pace and expertly sent a reverse shot into the bottom corner for 2-2.

The opening exchanges were dominated by Bath, with Chichester appearing in awe of their well-established opposition and allowing them to play it around with ease.

But the Chichester back-line of Henn, Dan Brook, Ben Palmer and Matt Sewell defended well and kept out attempts to penetrate the D.

Chichester finally came to life ten minutes before the break with the midfield of Matt Cox, Jack Lerwill and Richard Blakesley attacking with pace, though the final pass and link-up with the front line was missing.

After the break Bath took the lead through a well-worked penalty corner, flicking low into the bottom corner.

Chichester got themselves back on level terms and a quick counter-attack led to a penalty corner which was brilliantly flicked low and hard into the corner by Palmer.

Chichester forwards Martin Gough, Luke Emmett, Andrew Sparshott, Tom McCarthy, Ollie Baxter and Sam Broadhurst worked tirelessly, putting the Bath defence under pressure – but Bath regained the lead as Chichester again conceded a weak penalty corner which Bath converted.

Soon, Henn brilliantly intercepted a pass into the Chichester D and fed the ball to Lerwill, who found Blakesley in space. Blakesley entered the D with pace and expertly sent a reverse shot into the bottom corner for 2-2.

Chichester came away knowing they can play a lot better, but Bath are extremely strong at home so will take heart from taking a point. Chichester travel to the University of Birmingham this Sunday (Sep 19) looking to put in a better performance.

A big thank you goes to the travelling supporters who easily outnumbered Bath’s home support.

CHICHESTER: Pacanowskiego, Henn, Brook, Palmer, Sewell, Lerwill, Cox, Thakore, Blakesley, Emmett, Sparshott, Broadhurst, Gough, McCarthy, Baxter, Gibbons.

Chichester Ladies 3rds 6 Horsham Ladies 2

Chichester’s third-string ladies’ team had an excellent win in their first game of the season.

There were some new faces in the team with youngsters Jess Gleeson, Charlotte Stemp and Katie Rose coming up from the development squad.

Things got off to a good start with Chichester working the ball around the Horsham players. Chichester’s team dynamic was of a high standard and they were 3-1 up by half-time.

After a team talk and encouragement from the Chichester supporters, the ladies pressed on to score a further three goals by the final whistle which brought the score to 6-2.

Woman of the match was Charlotte Stemp for her strong defence tackles and support of the right wing.

CHICHESTER: K Carter, E Cruttenden, C O’Callaghan, C Stemp, C Binning, S Jessop, G Flowers, T Kurtland, K Rose, C Parrot, M Maddison, J Gleeson.

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