Hockey: Chichester march on at the top

The Chichester Canons at Worthing
The Chichester Canons at Worthing

Another win for Chichester’s league-leading men’s first XI tops this week’s local hockey round-up.

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Chichester 6 Milton Keynes 1

South Open Premier div one

After being propelled to the top of the league last week, it was crucial Chichester consolidated their position and didn’t undo their hard work. And they did exactly what was required.

Buoyed by recent performances, they started strongly - however, Milton Keynes had the early chance to go ahead, only for Dan Godsmark in goal to rush out to smother the attack.

Alex Thakore began to control the middle of the park and it was a matter of time before the deadlock was broken. The goal came after 15 minutes of almost constant pressure as Ollie Baxter ended his goal drought with a first-time shot in a congested area in the D.

Another minute passed before Baxter doubled his tally and gave Chichester breathing space. Before half-time Matt Cox made it 3-0 as ghe reacted fastest in a goalmouth scramble.

Chichester knew they had at least another gear and were determined to show this. However, as has happened often this season, they allowed the away team to start the second period more strongly.

Chichester were caught napping and MK pulled one back and were on the front foot. For the next ten minutes, the ball was being given away too cheaply for a team challenging for the title. However, Andrew Sparshott calmed any nerves by reinstating Chichester’s three-goal advantage.

The fifth was arguably the goal of the match. A string of first-time passes from Kieran Henn, Luke Matthews, Tom Phillips and Ollie Robinson allowed Baxter to complete his well-deserved hat-trick. The sixth and final goal was a sliding deflection from Thakore.

Chichester go to third-placed Sevenoaks this week for another huge game.

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.

See a gallery of David Edmund-Jones’ pictures from the Chichester-MK match here

Lewes Ladies III 1 Centurions 2

Sussex Ladies’ League division one

Despite an early goal by Lewes, Centurions applied pressure from the outset. Louise Harris seized every opportunity to keep the ball in midfield and push forward.

Through excellent passing, marking and tenacious tackling, Centurions dominated the majority of the possession. Lewes were unable to convert three short corners and Lucy Sarson made it very difficult for Lewes forwards to get near the goal with some solid defending.

Some fine goalkeeping by Lewes blocked Centurions’ numerous shots on goal and three short corners, so the half ended with Lewes in the lead.

Centurions began the second half with the same commitment and focus and were rewarded when Louise Thew slotted the equaliser. A pounding by strong winds and hailstones did not deter Centurions, who created attacking runs with precision but were not able to produce goals.

Claire Mealing finally put Centurions ahead when she converted a short corner with a blistering strike at the top of the D. Lewes responded with several fast breaks but couldn’t find an equaliser.

This was a superb team effort from Centurions, who thoroughly deserved this win.

CENTURIONS: Lucy Sarson, Vicki Wake, Louise Thew, Claire Mealing, Nicki Edge, Debbie Brown, Dawn Brooker, Louise Hurford, Louise Harris, Pat Simmonds, Anna Bevan, Nicki Williams.

University of Chichester 1 Littlehampton 5

A home game found UoC in good spirits - but they ended up well beaten.

With a full team, Chichester were confident and put pressure on Littlehampton from the start. Attempt after attempt was made to convert long and short corners to goals, but Chichester could not find the goal.

Littlehampton found a gap in the UoC midfield, charging down the pitch for an unexpected goal. UoC couldn’t regain their feet and for the rest of the first half, Littlehampton held on and in fact added two more goals.

The second half continued in the same vein.

UoC, while working well on the counter-attack, could not convert from short corners or quick passes. Littlehampton’s defence and midfield proved efficient and blocked all but one attempt on their goal by UoC.

It ended 5-1 but credit goes to Andrew Kibblewhite for his performance - he is showing great improvement since the start of the season.

UoC: Harry Finn, Ross Williams, Andrew Kibblewhite, Jamie Cashman, Todd Finn, Jacob Burch, Gus Ardley-Forder, Michael Riglar, Will Rossi, Tom Fagg, Sam Bentley, David King, Daniel Elliot, Freddie Ashton-Colbert.

Crawley 0 Chichester Ladies III 3

Chichester travelled to wet and windy Crawley to defend their top spot.

Relentless pressure from Chichester wore down Crawley’s defence and allowed Emma Bain to swoop a goal past the keeper within the first 15 minutes.

Chichester had plenty of advances into the D, which frustrated the opposition. A quick slip under the goalkeeper’s kicker meant Chichester were 2-0 up.

Crawley fought back hard and Chichester keeper Charlotte O’Callaghan made a crucial full-length dive to prevent a nervy last 15 minutes.

Once captain Carter had cleared, Elaine Cruttenden was able to slip it up the wing, assisting Bain to get her second of the game.

Demelza Peake and Emma Tyler both had excellent games, resulting in them both being named player of the match for their suave and positive passing.

CHI: Carter, Howarth, Willway, Whittington, Peake, Cruttenden, O’Callaghan, Tyler, Bain, Hurd, Proctor.

Chichester Chipmunks 3 Worthing IV 1

Player-coach Henry Stremes rested himself to give his development side a chance to play for the first time this season without an adult.

It was a brave decision that brought a great response from his young team, who produced an outstanding performance. Every member of the group listened to the game plan and put in 100 per cent effort.

Captain Charlie Gibbons led the team, supported by a strong midfield and a defence organised by Ollie Troy, plus the superb Ben Hetherington in goal.

A tight first half saw Chichester with the bulk of possession and they went into half-time with a one-goal advantage after breaks into the opposition D led to a chance for Alfie Shaw, who took his goal on the reverse with great skill.

In the second half, the boys were under pressure from a more physical, older Worthing side who tried to step up their game, but fire was met by fire.

A second was scored by George Stremes with a deft flick into the roof of the net from a sharp pass by his captain.

Worthing pulled one back with a super finish giving the goalie no chance and this led to sustained pressure which the Chipmunks defence withstood.

The third goal sealed the win after good skill through the heart of the Worthing defence by man of the match Charlie Gibbons which gave Matt Bennison the chance to finish.

Chichester Chipmunks 2 Worthing III 1

This was not Chichester’s best performance but it ended with a hard-earned three points to put them third in the league - pretty good for a youth team playing in an adult league.

The first half was close-fought with Chichester creating a number of goalscoring opportunities. Worthing were leaving two players well forward and played a very direct game, which caused the Chichester defence some difficulties.

But through strong tackling by Richard Cresswick, they kept the opposition out. Louis Gibbons made his debut, having been promoted from the Chichester Cherubs, and made a great start - fitting straight in and being very composed on the ball.

Late in the second half, a great Chichester move orchestrated by James Palmer led to Jamie Woolnough scoring the opening goal.

The second half was similar with Worthing very direct and the Chipmunks struggling to string together more than three passes. However, through great determination and team spirit, the Chipmunks kept Worthing out and added a second goal with a fine shot from Matt Benison.

Worthing kept up the pressure and earned a late goal but were not able to find the equaliser.

Worthing Llamas 1 Chichester Canons 0

Back from injury, Hariet Fowler slotted back into goal and took control of the D with some outstanding saves.

The Canons are growing in confidence and winning those 50/50 challenges.

Milly Burley (captain) and Jenny Horton were strong in midfield, with Jess Gleeson and Emily Rose keeping the Worthing defence on their


Charlotte Binning - player of the match - didn’t stop running while Merryn Young was playing her first match for the under-16s.

Charlotte Stemp and Lauren Soden-Bridger played their socks off at the back.

Gleeson was unlucky to have a goal disallowed by the umpire - her brother!

The last ten minutes saw Chichester camped in the Worthing goal but they just could not get the ball in the net.

Worthing scored in the last few minutes.

CANONS: C Burley, R stemp, C Stemp, M Young, C Binning, Lauren Soden-Bridger, Jess Glesson, Emily Rose, Hariet Fowler, M Burley, Jenny Horton.