An extensive round-up of local hockey action this week includes news of Chichester’s men’s first XI moving to the top of their league - plus mixed fortunes for a variety of other teams.
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Spencer 1 Chichester 2
South Open Premier division one
Chichester leapfrogged their hosts to go top of the table with a fantastic come-from-behind victory.
They travelled to south-west London knowing the game would determine who’d top the pile with two months of the season left.
Spencer were the only team to take three points at Kingsham in 2013, something Chichester wanted to avenge.
Chichester took the game to Spencer and the initial stages were very much like a cup match, the ball travelling end to end at a very high tempo.
Spencer settled first and began to create good chances. Their pressure came mainly in the form of penalty corners and eventually the deadlock was broken.
Spencer continued their dominance, showing why they were top of the table. However Chichester stayed resilient and weathered the storm.
Against the run of play an equaliser wcame through Matt Cox. Kieran Henn, from central defence, penetrated the middle of the pitch to find Bejay Ranger, who neatly turned before unlocking the defence to find Cox, who calmly beat the keeper.
Wise words from Jason Collins at half-time helped Chichester alter the balance of play and build some momentum.
The strikers began to stretch the pitch, opening up space for the midfield to dictate the play.
The hard work was rewarded when Ranger struck a first-time reverse shot into the bottom corner of the Spencer goal. It came from some patient build-up play that saw the ball quickly switching from side to side before reaching Collins at the baseline. He tucked it back into the D, where Ranger had manipulated some space.
The final quarter of the game saw Chichester create and miss good opportunities. Many spectators thought this would come back to haunt them but with the high work-rate from the whole team, Spencer were unable to make headway.
This was a very important three points that sees Chichester regain top spot - but there is a long way to go before they can dream of entering the national league.
Next up this Saturday, Chichester host Milton Keynes at Kingsham (1.30pm).
CHICHESTER: Dan Godsmark, Luke Matthews, Kieran Henn, Jason Collins, Dan Brook, Jack Lerwill, Alex Thakore, Matthew Cox, Tom Phillips, Bejay Ranger, Ollie Baxter, Ollie Robinson, Andrew Sparshott.
Chichester PP Ladies 9 Centurions 0
Chichester - as expected - were comfortable winners over Centurions.
Debbie Robinson had an excellent game in defence for Centurions, while Louise Harris, despite carrying injuries, made numerous critical interceptions in midfield.
Sussex Open League division two
South Saxons II 6 University of Chichester 2
The university mustered a full team for the trip to Hastings.
UoC had two early chances to score in the first 15 minutes, but couldn’t convert them. Saxons hit back and scored two quick goals, breaking the UoC defence with quick passes and long runs.
UoC found their legs but at half-time they trailed 3-1.
In the second half, UoC were under a lot of pressure but the defence did some terrific work, particularly Sean MacEnri and Harry Finn - the latter diving in front of the goal to prevent a Saxon attack.
Saxons’ pace and accuracy got the better of UoC twice more bringing the score to 5-1. However a quick counter attack by UoC led to a back-stick flick from Todd Finn ending in a goal.
Saxons brought the game to a close scoring a final goal.
UoC: Harry Finn, Ross Williams, Alex Bolton, Andrew Kibblewhite, Sean MacEnri, Jamie Cashman, Todd Finn, Jacob Burch, Gus Ardley-Forder, Michael Riglar, Will Rossi.
Chichester Ladies PP II 3 Southwick 3
Chichester had a settled side which should have meant them starting in a positive manner. But Southwick attacked from the off and Chi were all over the place.
Southwick broke through the defence to take the lead. Chichester tried to strengthen their resolve but nothing seemed to go right.
There were a few attacks from the home side but nothing became of them. Passing needed to improve if Chi were going to get anything out of the game. Southwick scored a second and just when Chichester were finding their feet, they got a third.
The second half saw Chichester keep possession, think about their passing and put pressure on the opposition defence.
More effort was evident and Alice Shoebridge scored an excellent goal from the top of the circle.
Chichester were now more resilient and defended well.
There was more space as Chichester passed with purpose and this meant Hollie Gyles was free to take the ball on her reverse-stick side, get into the attacking D and strike the ball past the Southwick goalie.
In the final ten minutes, Chichester were in the ascendancy and Sarah Jessop went past two defenders and scored a lovely equaliser.
This was a well-deserved draw but Chi have to work on being awake from the start.
CHI: Ruth Duckers, Mel Howarth, Mel Reeves, Sarah Jessop, Tracy Austin, Tina Keartland, Hollie Gyles, Jenna Greenway,Alice Shoebridge, Tendo Manyarara, Lottie Greenlees, Emma Hunt.
Chichester Ladies III v Mid Sussex
Chichester had a very strong start with their passing and driving getting the ball into the D. A top-notch goal was scored by Demelza Peake.
A strong defence of Elaine Cruttenden, Emma Tyler, Christina Procter and Kayleigh Carter meant few opportunities for Mid Sussex to score.
Twenty minutes in, Heidi Dunster was on the post to convert the second.
In the second half Chichester added their third with Mandy Armstrong and Kim Howarth setting up Dunster.
After many attempts on target from Emma Bain and Abi Darke, the latter scored with a super hit from the top of the D.
Chi keeper Char O’Callaghan was getting cold feet and Chichester again got the ball into the D, where Darke got a stick on the ball to make it five.
Chichester played very well and remain top.
Woman of the match Howarth.
CHI: Kayleigh Carter, Demelza Peake, Emma Bain, Emma Tyler, Mandy Armstrong, Kim Howard, Abi Darke, Heidi Dunster, Elaine Cruttenden, Christina Proctor, Charlotte O’Callaghan.
Chichester Ladies IV 2 Brighton and Hove Ladies VI 1
Sussex League division four
Chichester wanted to win after a long string of defeats - and that’s what they did.
From push-back, Chichester gained possession over Brighton and Flowers and Smith worked together well and a shot was deflected by the goalkeeper.
Quick passing from Priddle to Whittington saw Lily Smith send a shot between the goalkeeper’s legs to make it 1-0.
For Brighton, a fast flick into the D followed by a deflection made it 1-1 at half-time.
After the break, a foul within the D gave Chichester’s Teresa Willway a penalty flick, but it hit the bar and was cleared.
Woman of the match Cliff and Flowers worked together to set up Willway, who, despite the best efforts of Rudash, scored.
CHICHESTER: Priddle, Whittington, Wilkins, Flowers, Willway, Sowden, Cliff, Smith, Rudash, Cleghorn, Callaghan, McDonald.
Andover Vets 0 Chichester Deacons 2
Wessex Masters League
A torrential hailstorm delayed the start but when play got under way Chichester settled the quicker.
A reshuffled midfield found Cox paired with Marley in the centre and they combined well to feed Clear and Pembery up front. Chichester forced a number of openings in the Andover D but were unable to convert despite hitting both posts.
At the other end Andover did not threaten Kemp’s goal.
Chichester came out of the traps quicker in the second half and showed more determination in all areas.
An early goal was followed by a second, with Cox and Pembery on the scoresheet. Andover tried to respond but found their attacks stifled by a defence well marshalled by Deans.
Chichester were good value for the three points.
CHICHESTER: Kemp, Gleeson, Deans, Wood, James, Smith, Cox, Marley, Stevens, Pembery, Clear.
Chichester U12 Girls 4 Lewes U12 Girls 5
Chichester fielded a full under-12 side for the first time this season.
They moved into an early lead with two goals from Trend, who led the line well with support from Hantrais and Briggs on the wings.
Lewes pegged them back with two goals against the run of play.
Player of the match Stockman came into play, allowing the balance of the midfield of Lock, Gleeson and Marley to push forward, creating a series of chances, which were well saved by the Lewes keeper before Briggs put them ahead again.
Lewes levelled before Chichester again took the lead.
Not to be outdone Lewes scored twice more to take the lead for the first time late in the game. Chichester pressed for a deserved equaliser but just could not find the net to leave Lewes the winners.
CHICHESTER: Sallaba, Green, Ayling, Munro, Lock, Stockman, Gleeson, Marley, Briggs, Trend, Hantrais.
Mid Sussex III 2 Chichester Canons 5
From the off, the Chichester girls settled well. Backed up by Lonsdale’s solid keeping, the Canons attacked and Chamberlain opened the scoring after a pass into the D.
Chichester attacked down the left through Soden-Bridger, Binning and Rose and Gleeson was in a great place to net the Canons’ second.
Mid Sussex retaliated but an immediate response by Horton took Chichester 3-1 up.
After the break, Mid Sussex got a second but that was a wake-up call.
Rose swapped to the right and linked well with Stockman, Horton and Gleeson resulting in Gleeson scoring her second followed by a strike by player-of-the-match Rose a few moments later.