ON a steaming Kentish afternoon, Lewes’ first team journeyed to Gore Court in a key away clash in their promotion battle.
On an unforgiving and sticky pitch, Lewes started slowly and were left reeling early in the first half by some ferocious corner goals from the notorious opposition specialist.
The first half was a scrappy encounter and neither side maintained a level of dominance.
Lewes won a string of penalty corners but thanks to some inspired post-man work, failed to convert their opportunities. But inevitably the pressure grew too much and Lewes were awarded a penalty stroke, which Rory Jervis swiftly dispatched.
Lewes entered the half time talk disheartened and unhappy with their performance. With the score-line at 4-1 it would take some hard work from the new coach Mark Robinson, and some inspired captaincy to reverse this deficit.
The second half saw Lewes immediately come out fighting. With great intensity and interchanging forward play, they carved open the opposition defence and Jervis fired a shot from a tight angle past the near post. Lewes worked relentlessly and a string of corners gave Jervis the opportunity to again find the net with a trademark drag.
However, Gore Court refused to roll over and, with some questionable umpiring decisions, provided a hard opposition to overcome.
Lewes continued to apply pressure but as with the majority of the game could not find their free-flowing style of hockey and loose passes were a recurrent theme from both sides.
A frenetic last 10 minutes provided a dramatic ending, with both sides trading goals in end-to-end hockey.
With the scores level at 5-5 the game seemed destined for a tie – but again a much disputed decision awarded the opposition a penalty stoke and the win with minutes remaining. Despair for the Lewes boys but an incredibly gutsy and hard-working performance was shown. Outstanding performances from Nicoli Parrington-Berski and Sam Brooks were a highlight.
Kent/Sussex Men’s Regional 2
Lewes Men’s 2nd XI 3
Mid Sussex Men’s 1st XI 1
LEWES opened the game at a frantic pace and Angus Donaldson and Oli Baxter were causing the Mid Sussex defence all sorts of problems with their relentless movement and electric pace.
Mid Sussex had set up to catch Lewes on the counter attack and spent much of the first half soaking up Lewes pressure. Resolute defending at the Lewes end kept Mid Sussex at bay well in the first 35 minutes. Baxter, Donaldson and Alex Lickorish all went close in the first half but could not break the deadlock. Lewes soon got their reward eight minutes in to the second half from a penalty corner.
Alex Lloyd converted with a superb drag flick in to the top right-hand corner, leaving the keeper no chance.
Lewes extended their lead with some fine pattern play, the two forwards combined well with Donaldson finding Baxter at the far post for a simple finish, making it 2-0.
Lewes sensed a third goal would kill the game off and, with 11 minutes remaining, some fine play from Mark Best down the left found Matt Bevan unmarked in the D – and the in-form striker skipped passed two before slipping the ball past the onrushing Mid Sussex keeper at the near post. With four minutes remaining, there was still enough time for MS to grab a consolation goal on the break.
This was a fine all-round team display with stand-out performances from Best, Donaldson, and Lickorish has set up an exciting run-in for Ross Bone’s mighty 2nd XI as they seek back to back promotions this season.
OTHER RESULTS: Sussex Men’s Open League Division 1: Southwick Men’s 1st XI 3 Lewes Men’s 3rd XI 6; Sussex Men’s Open League Division 2: Lewes Men’s 4th XI 1 Crowborough Men’s 2nd XI 2; Sussex Men’s Open League Division 3: Middleton & Bognor Men’s 2nd XI 3 Lewes Men’s 5th XI 3; Sussex Men’s Open League Division 3: Lewes Men’s 6th XI 5 Penguin Men’s 3rd XI 1. Friendly: St Francis Leprechauns 2 Lewes Lions 1 (Will Wycherley). Ladies: South Ladies League Division 3B: Winchester Ladies 1st XI 3 Lewes Ladies’ 1st XI 3; South Ladies League Division 3B: Lewes Ladies 2nd XI 0 Wanderers Ladies 1st XI 6; Sussex Ladies League Division 1: Honeybees Ladies 1st XI 0 Lewes Ladies 3rd XI 1; Sussex Ladies League Division 3: Lewes Ladies’ 4th XI 4 Crowborough Ladies 2nd XI 1; Sussex Ladies League Division 4: Burgess Hill Ladies 4th XI 3 Lewes Ladies 5th XI 2.