This week’s hockey round-up includes a surprise defeat for already-promoted Chichester and a charity day staged by Middleton and Bognor ladies.
Oxford Hawks v Chichester
South Open Premier division one
CHAMPIONS Chichester lost their final league game away to Oxford Hawks - but after a superb campaign, that can probably be excused.
They were keen to end the season on a high - but the Hawks had different ideas.
Oxford started with real intensity and enthusiasm, Chichester were lacklustre and were not in it after 15 minutes.
Against the run of play, though, Chichester took the lead as an aerial pass from player-coach Jason Collins found Andrew Sparshott in space and he finished in the bottom corner.
Once in front, Chichester got a hold on the game and started playing some of the hockey which has seen them become champions - however they failed to increase their lead before half-time.
After the break, the Hawks came out of the blocks quickest and soon got their reward through some sloppy defending from Chichester.
It was soon 2-1 to the home side through a well-worked team goal.
Chichester struggled to gain any momentum but won a penalty corner which Sparshott converted for 2-2.
With five minutes to go, Oxford Hawks won a penalty corner. Up stepped their skipper to send a drag flick into the top corner and wrap up a 3-2 win.
This was a sloppy performance from Chichester and narrowed the gap at the top of the table to just one point.
However ,with the high level of effort put in over the season to win the title and gain promotion into the National League, one relaxed performance could be understood.
Chichester will now concentrate on retaining the Sussex Cup - they go to Eastbourne for the semi-final on Saturday, April 12.
Chichester Centurions Ladies 3 Brighton Ladies III 6
Sussex Ladies’ League division one
Chichester Centurions couldn’t match their performance against leaders Chichester, when they put in a magnificent effort but lost 6-2.
Brighton scored an early goal but Centurions levelled when Claire Mealing wove round the opposition and cleanly struck the ball home.
Ten minutes later, Anna Bevan hurtled down the pitch and slotted the ball to Louise Thew, who put Centurions ahead.
For the remainder of the first half, Centurions did not find their fluency and Brighton capitalised with a short corner and another goal that gave them a 3-2 lead.
In the second half, Brighton applied pressure from the start. Centurions successfully defended three short corners while Pat Simmonds made numerous interceptions - but Brighton scored twice in fast breaks.
Thew pulled a goal back with a blistering strike from a tight angle to reduce the margin but a deflection off the Centurions keeper meant it finished 6-3.
Centurions have worked tremendously hard this season and fully deserve to have retained their place in division one.
CENTURIONS: Lucy Sarson, Louise Thew, Vicki Wake, Anna Pordage, Nicki Edge, Debbie Brown, Louise Hurford, Megan Rutty, Pat Simmonds, Anna Bevan, Nicki Williams, Dawn Brooker, Claire Mealing.
Middleton & Bognor HC’s charity day was a huge success with past and present club ladies’ teams challenging each other in honour of Stacey Bond, a player who has spent the past few years battling leukaemia.
It was an exciting game with the teams closely matched, with overall victory going to the present team 3-1. Many of the past team showed that they really should still be playing.
After the game, Middleton Sports Club was packed with friends and family for a lovely evening. Stacey and her family were overwhelmed by everyone’s support and generosity - it meant a great deal to them that so many people turned up.
Special thanks go to Charlotte Woolvern, present team captain, who instigated and organised the whole event - she did a wonderful job, raising more than £4,000.