Lewes put in the work to earn an Epsom win

LEWES Hockey Club men’s 1st XI returned to winning ways with a workmanlike performance at the Southdown Club.

The early exchanges saw Lewes’ confidence still suffering from their previous defeat the week before as they could not get into any rhythm with their play. Disjointed passages of play with passes going astray from both sides did not make for compulsive viewing – but a piece of individual skill from an unlikely source broke the deadlock after 20 minutes.

Full back Matt Rickson found himself on the left edge of the Epsom circle unmarked and, with everyone including the goalkeeper expecting a cross, he powerfully hit the ball inside the near post, resulting in noisy but deserved celebrations. This settled Lewes down and an unselfish pass from Dave Roberts just before half time put in Jon Petch for the second.

Epsom needed to get back quickly into the game in the second half and they did so in comical fashion as a bobbling ball found its way to the far post, where both a Lewes defender and Epsom forward were on the ground, only for the ball to find its way to the Epsom man who slotted in.

Lewes needed to dig deep and not concede again and they did so with Andrew Birch solid in the middle and youngster Harvey Waller and keeper David Harmes in defence having solid games. With 15 minutes remaining Roberts again dribbled through, after a five man passing move from defence, and Petch was perfectly positioned to push his well timed pass into the empty net to make it 3-1.

Epsom were frustrated and this showed with two players yellow-carded and then from a penalty corner Rory Jervis struck home from close range with 10 minutes remaining. Lewes then lost their discipline and were quickly down to nine players as well with poorly timed tackles but ran out in the end comfortable winners.

This weekend Lewes travel to Woking on Saturday before hosting second-placed Oxford Hawks on Sunday at 3pm at the Southdown Club. They are four points behind the top two sides and know two victories are vital to keep alive their hopes of promotion.

Kent/Sussex Men’s Regional 2

Blackheath Men’s 1st XI 2

Lewes Men’s 2nd XI 4

TWO goals each from Steve Newton and midfield enforcer Ole Callf kept Lewes’ promotion push going at Blackheath on Saturday.

Overcoming a slow pitch and less than ideal preparation Lewes dug deep to get the three points against a determined and dogged home side.

Despite having the better of the opening exchanges, Lewes found themselves a goal down after 10 minutes, goalkeeper George Collison was wrong-footed as he saw the ball late through a crowd of players.

The breakthrough for Lewes came when Callf burst forward from midfield, driving right through the heart of the Blackheath defence, before sending a bullet strike into the net, giving the goalkeeper no chance.

Lewes extended their lead when Steve Newton, reacting the quickest in a goalmouth scramble to guide a reverse stick shot inside the near post.

Shortly after half time, another defensive lapse cost Lewes the equaliser. Newton then settled the nerves with his second and Lewes’ third. The midfielder sending another reverse stick shot out of the goalkeeper’s reach and over the line before Mark Best could steal the goal. With time running out, Callf settled the game with his second. With a run reminiscent of George Best’s 1971 goal against Sheffield Wednesday, a string of opponents pursued Callf from the left side of the area to the right before he sent his shot past the goalkeeper for 4-2.

n ON Sunday the Lewes A U10 girls displayed incredibly high spirits and absolute determination to win the Mid Sussex U10 and U12 Inaugural Tournament, despite the horrendous weather conditions and waterlogged pitch.

Their persistence paid off and, to their delight they won four and drew two to finally bag their first tournament win. Special mention goes to the plucky goalkeepers who took it in turns to wear the soaking wet kit: Antonia Beauchamp, Emily Leeson and Libby Youngman.

Hannah Williams also deserves credit for being the team’s top goalscorer.