Hockey: Friars find recipe for repeat success

Chichester's Friars, who have retained their league title
Chichester's Friars, who have retained their league title

Another strong season saw Chichester’s Friars hockey team retain the INVESTEC Wessex Masters division-one title - with a relatively-small squad of players.

The league season did not start well as they were not able to field a side at Salisbury, but the remainder the first half of season saw 100 per cent success, with every game won.

They were top of the table by November, with a run of five games and 45 goals scored.

December saw a dip in performance but brought vital wins against Salisbury and Haslemere, their nearest rivals.

In the new year, the Friars had to work very hard to get victories. The league remained very close, with only a few points separating first and third.

They suffered two rare defeats in a row but with two games to go, three points were needed for the title. They wanted to get it over with at home to local rivals Havant.

The Friars were 2-0 down inside ten minutes, but they woke up and ran away with the game to win it 10-2 and retain the title.

Team performance is the key for the Friars and credit goes to all the players. Tony Guess was probably the most improved player with some excellent performances. Dave Walters in midfield put in yet another season of hard graft.

FRIARS: Colin Ball, Danny Jaeger, Trevor Andrews, Andy Osborne, Colin Smith, Martin Hughes, Dave Walters, Andrew Savory, Neil Pacey, Tony Guess, Adrian Strange, Ivan Boswell, Bryan Lock, Tracey Boyce. Special thanks go to Steve Gray and Steve Paxton for helping out.

As last year’s winners, Chichester were given the opportunity to host the INVESTEC League Cup finals.

The day was a great success and Kev White and Colin Ball were grateful of help from Tom Proctor, the club chairman, and Ash White, as well as other helpers.

In the division-one finals, Chichester Friars were pitched against Salisbury in the semi-final. The Friars edged into a 1-0 lead by half-time, but the second half was dominated by Salisbury, who levelled.

A penalty shoot-out was needed, with Salisbury edging it 3-2. Salisbury went on to win the competition while the Friars ran out 8-2 winners against West Wilts in the third-fourth place play-off.

In division two, the league winners involved in the finals were Chichester Deacons and Newbury and Thatcham; the runners-up were United Services and Bournemouth.

The Deacons played Bournemouth in their semi-final at Chichester College and took the upper hand, with Marley, Clear, Pembery and Lerwill combining effectively in attack and Procter and Jason Cox orchestrating matters from midfield. 

Chichester booked their place in the final with a 4-0 win, but were indebted to Colin Kemp, who made two fine saves when the game was still finely poised.

In the final, Chichester were beaten 3-1 by a very good Newbury side. Despite losing, a good time was had by all.