Another win for Chichester headlines our latest hockey round-up.
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Sutton Valence 3 Chichester 5
South Open Premier division one
Chichester travelled to Sutton Valence to solidify their position at the summit - and ended the day with a seven-point lead at the top.
In the reverse fixture, the opposition had tried to disrupt the free-flowing hockey Chichester like to play, so they knew nothing but 100 per cent commitment was needed to come home with three points.
The game started with both sides unable to use time on the ball and possession was needlessly given away. However Chichester did look more threatening and piled on some early pressure.
With their first short corner of the game, the keeper made a good save - but the ball was palmed out to Ollie Robinson, who found the net.
Not long after, the second short corner was awarded and scored. This time it was finished off by Dan Brook, tapping in at the back post.
At 2-0, the league leaders would have liked to see more dominance and better decision-making in the final third. In contrast, they let Sutton Valence back into the match.
With a clinical drag-flicker in their armoury, it was important to limit the number of short corners Chichester gave away. Just before half-time, a harsh decision gave the home side their first opportunity, which they took to make it 2-1 at half-time.
Despite Chichester having won the previous six games, they looked bereft of confidence and energy. Sutton Valence drew strength from this and began to play some good hockey, eventually working in an equaliser from a deflection.
This sparked Chichester into life and they began to exploit the space more effectively. Bejay Ranger broke free and struck a sweet shot from the edge of the D past the outstretched keeper. Matt Cox was to thank for unlocking the defence to give the forward line a number of chances.
Robinson got his second and regained Chichester’s two-goal advantage when Andrew Sparshott dribbled to the baseline before finding the goalscorer at the back-post. Sparshott was rewarded for his assist when he got the fifth and final Chichester goal.
Sutton Valence made it 5-3 just before the final whistle was blown.
With results going Chichester’s way, they’ve opened up a seven-point gap at the top of the table with five tough games to go.
Reaching the second tier of English hockey is now a real possibility. This week brings another away game, this time at Staines.
CHICHESTER: Dan Godsmark, Luke Matthews, Kieran Henn, Jason Collins, Dan Brook, Jack Lerwill, Matthew Cox, Tom Phillips, Bejay Ranger, Ollie Baxter, Ollie Robinson, Andrew Sparshott, Jim Ellis.
UoC 3 Eastbourne III 4
Favourable weather put all in good spirits for the university side’s latest game and the conditions spurred on Chichester in the first half.
They played well as a team, showing plenty of development in skill and teamwork. Chichester put pressure on Eastbourne early with some great long passes, resulting in a goal.
Eastbourne woke up to the Chichester goal and retaliated with a strong push of their own, bringing the score to 1-1. However Chichester didn’t allow Eastbourne to rest for long, scoring another goal after excellent passes by Max Rivers and Kostantinos Tsiamis set up Todd Finn.
Eastbourne once again managed to break through Chichester’s defence and drew level at 2-2, but just before half-time, another set of great passes saw Chichester pull ahead 3-2.
Confidence was high following the break and Chichester continued to string together passes. Unfortunately some near misses were the best Chichester could attain.
Eastbourne again took their time and managed to break Chichester’s midfield and defence to score another to make it 3-3. Chichester’s morale fell and Eastbourne capitalised with another goal to win it 4-3 at the death.
Despite the loss, this was a good game for Chichester. Teamwork was solid and passes were accurate and strong.
UoC: Harry Finn, Ross Williams, Andrew Kibblewhite, Todd Finn, Gus Ardley-Forder, Freddie Ashton-Colbert, Kostantinos Tsiamis, Max Rivers, Aris Tsiamis, Tom Fagg, Sean MacEnri.
New Milton 4 Chichester III 5
Hampshire division two
Following the 8-0 trashing of Basingstoke, Chichester completed back-to-back wins thanks to victory against New Milton.
Chichester started brightly and did well on the counter-attack - with great play from the midfield of Woodruff and Sowden setting up O’Boyle to neatly finish.
The lead was extended thanks to a carefully-placed goal from Richardson and a Sturdey pass that was backheeled by a New Milton player past the keeper and into the open net.
Both teams traded blows with New Milton scoring from a well-taken short corner and O’Boyle getting a second before Chichester conceded an unfortunate penalty flick after the ball was judged to have hit the back of defender Farr’s stick.
New Milton slotted the penalty, giving keeper Torrance no chance. He was to have the last laugh later, though.
Going into half-time 4-2 up, Chichester were pleased with their performance but aggrieved at the scoreline.
Chichester sat back slightly in the second half and the defence of Farr, Clark, Gleeson and Hagell thwarted New Milton. They did finally break through the defence and pulled level through two dubious goals.
Chichester failed to respond to the New Milton goals and instead allowed them to attack further with keeper Torrance saving a one on one and Farr clearing off the line.
Ill discipline caused New Milton to go down to ten men following a string of rash tackles. Chichester started to dominate, with Clark, Richardson and Kathegsu combining in midfield.
With five minutes to go, the dominance paid off when Sowden drove towards the goal and fired a low shot between the keeper’s legs to bring the score to 5-4.
Hero Sowden turned villain when he got himself needlessly sent off. But Chichester held on for the final few minutes to claim a well-earned victory.
CHICHESTER: R Torrance, A Hagell, T Farr, H Clark, J Gleeson, A Simmonds, B Richardson, P Sowden, R Woodruff, O’Boyle, E Sturdey, A Kathegsu.