Lewes avoid relegation to remain in top flight

Mike Newman dribbling
Mike Newman dribbling

Lewes survived and avoided relegation to remain in the top flight of South Regional hockey for another season.

However their survival was thanks to Teddington who won their play-off matches to remain in the National League and a nail biting finale to the season could have been avoided by beating Havant.

Lewes 1 produce an attacking penalty corner

Lewes 1 produce an attacking penalty corner

Havant finished the season in third place but Lewes looked capable of beating them and could certainly have scored a number of times in the first half if only they had a player who could convert opportunity in front of goal into balls in the net. Ironically it was a Lewes attack, when two shots in a row had to be saved by the Havant keeper, which led to the first goal but at the other end.

Havant counter attacked very quickly and some deft passing into the circle left keeper Josh Pewter with no hope of making a save. Lewes reapplied pressure and were rewarded with four penalty corners in a ten minute spell at the end of the half.

One of these saw the ball slipped to skipper Matt Needle for him to thread the ball past the keeper to make the scores equal at the break.

Lewes seemed to lose direction in the second half and whilst they had a few chances it was Havant who secured the game mid-way through the half with two goals in the space of three minutes.

A final penalty corner goal with ten minutes remaining put the seal on their victory but by this time the crowd were aware of the Teddington victory and that Lewes had avoided relegation.

Men’s Sussex Senior Cup Semi-final

Lewes 1s 1 (Wood), 
Brighton1s 3

Brighton started as favourites being in the National League, one league above Lewes, but Cup games are prone to upsets and after surviving relegation from Division One of the South Premier League the previous day, Lewes approached the game with enthusiasm.

The first half went to Brighton as they demonstrated greater levels of skill although Lewes were not overshadowed to any great extent. Both sides had chances but Brighton capitalised on their opportunities and scored twice to take them in to a comfortable half time lead.

Lewes had the better of the opening exchanges of the second half and interplay between Mike Newman and Michael Wood saw the latter push the ball home to take Lewes back into contention. A short while later Brighton were reduced to ten men when an incident involving Matt Clark saw the Brighton player receive a red card and a short while later another Brighton player was sent off with a yellow card. However, try as they might, Lewes could not take advantage and despite several near misses the score line was unchanged. The final minutes saw Lewes commit to all-out attack but a poor pass out of defence gave Brighton the chance to secure the win with a one on one challenge on the Lewes keeper.

It was a good game of hockey played in an excellent spirit in front of an enthusiastic crowd. The finals will be at the Southdown Sports Club on the weekend of 25th/26th April.

Sussex 3rd XI County Cup

Lewes 3s 2 (Marchant, Wenzel)

East Grinstead 3s 1

Wenzel winner puts men’s 3s through to finals

The Men’s 3rd XI overcame local rivals East Grinstead on Sunday to book their place in the County Cup finals at the Southdown Club on 25th April. A nervy start from the hosts allowed EG to pounce, however, this seemed to galvanise Lewes into life and the final twenty minutes of the period were mostly played in the visitors’ half albeit without an equaliser. Yet the home crowd need not have worried as, after some wise words from Will Champness at the break, Chris Marchant coolly converted a well deserved penalty stroke before captain Josh Wenzel crashed in the winner with just a few minutes left on the clock to send Lewes into raptures.