HAILSHAM proved their worthiness for promotion to the next division with their second successive victory over a team in the league above. Having defeated Saxons in the semi-final of the County Plate competition, Hailsham then dominated the final to beat Middleton 6-2.
With early chances falling to Hailsham, Lee Humber, Rob Lee and Jamie Hayes all had efforts saved, but Middleton caught them on the break and won a penalty corner which was expertly flicked past Mark Lambert for the opening goal with 15 minutes played. Within a minute another break saw a Middleton forward in on a one-on-one with keeper Richard Burraston, who tripped the forward and conceded a penalty. Burraston, who was superb thoughout, then superbly saved the stroke, diving low to his left to keep the score at 0-1.
This seemed to spur Hailsham into action and within a minute Sam Rham won a penalty corner and Jamie Hayes scored for the equaliser. Then, on 25 minutes, Rham and Alex Smith played some great passes for Smith to cross for Hayes to score his second. But within a minute Middleton again won a penalty corner and managed to scramble the ball home to equalise. Two minutes later and Smith won another penalty corner which Hayes dispatched for his hat-trick, Hailsham taking the lead just before half time.
The second half continued with the same pace as the first, and Hailsham’s superior fitness soon started to tell. A Middleton player was drawn into a poor challenge on Ant Hathaway and was duly sin-binned for five minutes. Hailsham continued to dominate and Scott Collier won another penalty corner. Hayes struck for his and his team’s fourth.
Dan Ivemy’s great stop and pass then found Rob Lee free for the fifth goal before the scoring was rounded off when skipper Hayes again hit the target when he reverse-sticked a pass from Lee Humber into the back boards.