Chichester can't make their mark on Spencer

Chichester were left to ponder what might have been after having three separate leads cancelled out then fluffing a late penalty stroke in a 3-3 Eastern Conference thriller against Spencer at Chichester College.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 5:00 pm
Chichester HC under-eights had a fabulous time at Havant

Had they won, Chichester would have leapfrogged their Surrey visitors and gone into the winter break in third place in the table; instead they put their feet up one slot lower, nine points adrift of unbeaten leaders Wapping.

Talented teen Alex Pendle twice gave Chichester the lead, but when he limped out of the action with a hamstring injury soon after half-time, Chi’s prospects of victory possibly went to the sick bay with him.

Pendle fired Chichester into a 17th minute lead from a penalty corner but saw his effort cancelled out soon after when Alex Thakore was caught napping and James Turton equalised for Spencer.

Seven minutes before the break, Pendle began and finished a right-side move to restore Chichester’s lead – the youngster robbing a Spencer defender and playing a neat one-two with Alex Baxter before making it 2-1 at the break.

When he limped off, Chichester’s attacking threat diminished and midway through the second period Steve Dowds squared it up again at 2-2 for the visitors.

But Chichester, who had played arguably some of their best possession hockey of the season in the first half, responded again – Ollie Baxter making it 3-2 with eight minutes left after Thakore and Jack Lerwill had done the spadework. It was his 11th goal of the season.

Back came Spencer with a superb individual goal by Kyle Good, who barnstormed his way through a host of Chichester challenges before rifling his equalising shot past Chris Bristow.

Minutes from the end, Chichester were awarded a stroke when a Spencer defender stopped a shot on the line. But Alex Holton sent his penalty flick straight at the Spencer goalkeeper – and Chichester’s late chance of victory disappeared.

- MIKE VIMPANY

Chichester Ladies II 1 Brighton & Hove IV 1

Sussex Ladies div one

This rearranged match was the last game before Christmas and a long break.

B&H are just above Chi in the top four. It was a scrappy affair and neither team was able to get any flow.

Slightly against the run of play, Chi took the lead, Kath Mundy running into the opposition D and striking the ball cleanly, with a slight deflection helping beat the Brighton keeper.

Despite all their hard work Chi were undone and Brighton scored.

Chichester worked hard for each other, with Vicky Oliver-Catt defending purposefully keeping them in the game at times.

The team spirit is easy to see and Chi certainly deserved their point.

Chichester: Julie Abson, Tracy Austin, Jackie Baxter, Vicky Oliver-Catt, Cheryl Parrott, Sarah Jessop, Kath Mundy, Alex Hurd, Juste Balkyte, Lindsay Hauxwell, Gabby Crisp.

Chi Ladies IV 2 Portsmouth IV 0

Chi started strong and the first 15 minutes showed players maintaining their positions and making clean passes.

Chi dominated the play and threatened the Portsmouth defence on a number of occasions. This enabled the midfield to push up and strong defence from Elaine Cruttenden and Debs Cox proved invaluable in keeping the Portsmouth attack at bay.

Chi became frustrated at the lack of goal conversion which seemed to affect their shape and positioning. This resulted in some scrappy play until the ball found Heidi Johnson up high and unmarked. A great first touch allowed her to strike the ball cleanly and whip it past the Portsmouth goalie.

This gave Chi the lift they needed and some excellent running by Rachel Austin, Hayley Johnson and Mandy Clark saw Chi dominating.

Portsmouth used the breaks they had but some good calling from the defence thwarted any real attack on goal or any short corners awarded.

At the other, the short corner awarded to Chi saw Hayley Johnson push up from defence and in place to receive the injection. It fell just right for her and an absolutely beautiful strike saw it whistle past the keeper at speed to give Chi the deserved win and Johnson and Johnson Chi’s last goals of 2019.

Thanks go from the Chi players to all the supporters who have watched from the sidelines and encouraged them in the first half of the season.

Players of the match were Cruttenden and Cox.

Chi Ladies: Batchelor; N Johnson; Willway; Whittington; Cox; Cruttenden; HY Johnson; Howarth; Austin; Homer; HI Johnson; Clark.

* Last week, Chi’s ladies fourths lost 1-0 away to Trojans fifths.

For the second year in a row in the same fixture, Chris Priddle took a ball to the face. She suffered a head injury.

A controversial goal condemned Chi to defeat.

JUNIORS

Chichester HC juniors played in a festival at Havant and had an amazing time.

The under-tens won three out of their five games – not bad for only having six players.

Their under-eights were undefeated with four wins and two draws.